tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC May 29, 2020 9:00am-10:01am PDT
the city of minneapolis. among that, it's a clear line of demarcation that we were operating under. because it is fundamental to the department of public safety and fundamental to the state patrol that we take an oath to support the constitution and that we believe that our work is absolutely essential to allow everyone's first amendment right to have their voices heard. we were not deployed and we have not been deployed and we will not be deployed to stifle free speech. but we will not and cannot allow unlawful, dangerous, behavior to continue. i am particularly proud of our relationship with both the minnesota national guard, commissioner stroman, and colonel langer as the colonel for the minnesota state patrol.
we called and they came. and literally, it was that it doesn't make it much more complicated than that. i said i'm going to need you and i'm going to need you here in the city. i'm going to feneed you for twor three days and i can't tell you what i'm going to need you to do yet but i know i need you. and they came. they began preparing readiness to be able to move folks from all over the state of minnesota literally from miles and miles away to be prepared to help us keep the peace. over the course of the day, i met with my counterparts in minneapolis and st. paul to talk about what missions they needed the state to help them fulfill. calling to say we are here to
support you. we are your partners. tell us what you need and we will back fill and fill in the gaps. tell us what you need for resources and we will help you get it. we did get some specific missions. we got no real mission at all. and in the absence of a real mission, we began to identify where the critical needs were. we tasked the state patrol. we tasked dnr. we tasked the minnesota national guard to meet specific missions that we were requested to do. but we also tasked them with being flexible because we knew that if things continue to devolve, that we magt need to pivot and we might need to shift from a static post of guarding critical infrastructure to a fast-moving operational approach of restoring order.
about midnight last night, i was party to a call where that pivot had to be made. where the mayor of minneapolis called and said they had no more resources and they were not able to meet the public safety needs and control the behaviors that were occurring on lake street. they had lost the third precinct. there were concerns about a gas main and concerns about continued looting and fires burning throughout the city of minneapolis. and different from our first night, we had concerns of fires being set to -- meet the needs of both the cities. the task the governor gave me was pretty simple, actually. it was to pull together a team that could go in, keep the
peace, protect people, protect their safety, protect their lives, protect their liberty. and to protect property that was being burned up literally every minute that we delayed. the hennepin county sheriff was one of this first calls. and sheriff hutchinson moved in to give us support. we already had dnr, already had the national guard. we had them available but didn't have a task yet and needed a plan. the u of m police chief offered support. the chief of police from metro transit offered support. and with that team together, we put together a 250 ballpark team to go in and restore order on
lake street. we created a mission. it was very specific. i am a mission-driven person. we talked about the fact that we were going to be respectful of people's rights. that we were going to keep the peace and make people safe. and that we were going to follow our training and protocols by making a public announcement that they needed to clear the streets. and if they didn't clear the streets, arrests were imminent. we made those announcements. we made those announcements repeatedly so no one could be confused about what our intent was or what we were there to do. then having made our announcements, we moved to clear those streets. i will tell you the vast majority of the great people of minnesota and minneapolis who are still having their guts
ripped out about the lloyd murder. i will call it a murder. that's what it looked like to me. i don't want to prejudice this from a criminal perspective. i'm just calling it what i see at that point. they weren't the people that were out there on the streets at 3:00 in the morning when we arrived on lake street. the people that were out there on lake street at 3:00 in the morning weren't the good people of minnesota, people of minneapolis, the people that wanted to mourn the loss of a friend and a relative. and a neighbor. and when they saw the national guard and the patrol, this team moving down the street, the vast majority of them did what we thought they would do. they left. there were a few that decided not to leave that was a choice they get to make. but we had advised them what
that choice would result in. and we took action to respectfully and carefully take folks into custody as was necessary. and it was a very limited and very structured and extremely disciplined approach to making those arrests. i'm proud of the fact that despite what i've seen over the last few days and canisters and foggers, almost no chemical agent was necessary to be used last night. we did it the old fashioned way. command presence, a uniformed presence, and a clear intent to keep the peace, restore order, and keep people safe. my task today is a little different. having accomplished that mission and i think we secured those streets. i appreciate the fact right now
i've got national guard folks still holding that ground that we took last night. we need to keep that ground and we need to prepare for what may come today. other law enforcement jurisdiction and other public safety entities into the multiagency command center. where we will create a plan that will keep the peace, maintain the peace, and prevent further lawless behavior in the city of minneapolis, the city of st. paul, and in the surrounding suburbs. we're going to do this the right way. we're going to do it with full knowledge that our oath is to serve the state of minnesota, to serve the communities, and to protect them. we are fully confident that we can do that mission and that we
can do it while still ensuring that the constitutional rights of those who need to have their voices heard and need to freely assemble can be protected. i can tell you no one could have heard the chaos in the screaming a enthe shotting and the fires at 1:00 in the morning on lake street. my job is to make sure that tonight the community is safe. that our team is ready and prepared to keep it safe. with that, i am very pleased to introduce the colonel of the minnesota state patrol. colonel matt langer. >> my name is matt langer. i have the honor of serving as
the chief of the minnesota state patrol. i don't need to rehash what the commissioner went through in terms of the detail he provided on the role of the minnesota state patrol as it pertains to the city of minneapolis this week. i was thinking about what to say about this week and difficult is the first word that comes to mind. that doesn't seem to represent everything that has occurred everything this week well enough. but it certainly represents the challenges that the minnesota state patrol has faced the last couple of nights as we have worked hard to combat the lawlessness and criminal activity that has occurred both in the city of minneapolis and other places. i'll speak specifically to last night. governor walz asked the state patrol to lead an event in the city of minneapolis to cull the unrest that was happening around the third precinct. there were fires set and they were unable to get them
extinguished because of the demonstrating. so as the commissioner explained, we assembled both with the state patrol, the dnr, the university of minnesota, county sheriff's office, and the national guard. we assembled that team very swiftly, strategically, and returned to the city of minneapolis with the one goal of as safely as possible. so that we can move into the future and beyond with a much different picture of what it means -- the desire to
demonstrate and the first responders that are there trying to do good work. we had a few that had minor jurs. i'm thankful they're only minor. they stayed on the line and continued their good work because we needed every single one of them to do this job. we remain ready. we're doing our best to hold that ground well. and to make sure that we restore order, clean that spot up to better than it was before. and then work together to restore order across the entire city of minneapolis. just as a side note, we had a couple missions a couple places last night. of course our responsibility at the state capitol. and we also assisted the city of st. paul with some lawless behavior occurring on university
avenue with some of our mobile response team assets. one thing i'll note is we have troopers from all across the state of minnesota. there was an opportunity to we afforded the governor to make a staffing boost that is within the purview of the kmektive branch and within the ability of the state patrol on short notice. hat's off to the troopers that responded. the dnr officers that responded from all across the state of minnesota. they've come for an unknown period of time and make minnesota what we believe it should be. a safe place for everybody. >> we'll try to make sure we answer every question or as many as you need to ask. i would note to the reporters here in minnesota, it was three weeks i passed in front of you and said that on about the 29th of may we would pass a thousand. that will happen today. so in the midst of this pandemic, we are still working that we believe again numbers are down. icu bed capacity is stable.
and we are doing everything we can. as you heard from the folks speaking, the vast majority of people out there who were expressing their first amendment rights and the rage over what happened to george floyd were wearing masks and were trying their best to social distance and not touch things. i would before i go to questions note that the desire to get back to normal is so overwhelming for everyone when it was said what else could happen, we witness this. it's an important time to pause. the problem is for so many of us thinking that normal is where we want to go. normal was not working for many communities. normal was not working for minnesota pre-covid-19. it's certainly not working now. i think as you heard the attorney general talk about, that work that we're trying to look at to use this as a point and not just rhetorically but a point to make those changes. with that, mary will start. [ inaudible question ]
well, i certainly don't think it's important to be on tv. i think what you expected me to do is we were in a support role as the state law shows. and once it became apparent to me that the city of minneapolis would not be able to complete that, i was directing the state to take that over. this is my responsibility. [ inaudible question ] well, i think obviously if you think i didn't, that's probably the case as a reporter. but i think in the moment of making sure as those decisions were being made and that we were staying in the lane that we were asked to support this and as it deteriorated it was at 12:05. there was a decision last night we made to come in front of you at that time because that was the transition point. because what you're seeing now is the state is the lead element now starting at 12:05 last night and the first missions that were carried out. i think for many of you who know, i like to make myself as
available as possible. i was watching what you were seeing and to be quite candid, when the third precinct was abandoned, it seemed at that point in time that that was the time to move. [ inaudible question ] no, i stayed in the residence where i work from. i have all the electronic tools. and we were on all night. as i said, we were taking calls and adjusting and i was able to track as the situation evolved on going down. there was a dangerous task that i tasked the state patrol and the national guard to go down and take that. those of you who were watching that as i was as the lawlessness was burning down the third precinct or whatever, that can't be allowed to happen. it took a little while to plan this to get going. but that's where i was at to make sure it was executed. tom? [ inaudible question ]
>> -- people watch buildings burn public and private. how could there not have been a clear mission for the in order when this -- when they were called in and you knew things were going to happen last night? >> yeah. i will let my leadership come back up there. you're absolutely right. i think that speaks to itself that by shortly after 10:00, it had became apparent that that structure would go. the mayors ask and they take charge and lead on the missions. i'll let the folks come up here. i see that too. i think the decision to not engage -- i just want to be clear. there's philosophically an argument to be made that an armed presence on the ground in the midst of where we just had a police killing is seen as a catalyst. my point to that was is we don't need a catalyst. it's already burning. and so this is trying to strike that balance. and so i am in total agreement with that. you will not see that tonight. there will be no lack of leadership. and there will be no lack of response on the table. >> as a follow-up, should there
have been a national guard presence on every corner in those areas last night as a deterrent as opposed to having them come in -- >> i'll answer this one. potentially, but the decision on that as it's made from the city and on this one i think i would agree with them. we saw the first night decisions were made. up until 8:30 last evening, it seemed things were relatively peacefully on that. there was a conversation on whether you shut it down after those hours, and in retrospect i assume we would say that. would it have simply started those -- that movement faster and would we have seen it moved out of the third precinct? certainly it's a valid critique and point. yes. >> governor, you know, there was uncontrolled looting in st. paul yesterday afternoon and you're talking about making decisions at 10:00. why are you making the decisions then and not when these things
are happening just up the street -- >> the leadership of communities is led by local leadership, their police force. they were at that time -- had sources in reserve. they were not being requested. they were not being requested. and i'm on with them. the reason we're standing here today is if this would have been executed correctly, the state would not lead on this. the state would have supported those and moved forward. that did not happen. so now today we're taking that. we're making the decision to go and do it moving forward. i would go back to tom's question. had i known we were not going to see that or the capability to do it, should the state have come in? potentially, but i want to be very clear. this with the exception of the state troopers who have a very specific statutory requirement on the highways, order is to the local police and sheriffs. we do not have a built-in police force. general jensen is not a police force. dps has experts in there but these are not the police force that are on their streets with their people. and so that's a decision that
was made. it was in reserve and, yes, keeping in mind as this unfolded, the requests came to be activated at 5:00. i had moved on a warning order earlier than that to be prepared. you're really supposed to wait until you get that and start moving them in. that wasn't going to be possible. so by 5:00 yesterday, our guard troops were coming from all over. they were getting activated because of the events that happened the night before and we were prepared to carry out those missions. and we were -- they were there. and as you heard some of these folks, those missions never came. >> -- is that supposed to come from the mayor frey or from the police department? >> yeah. again, as it relates to emergency management in
minnesota, county emergency management coordinators do exactly what you just asked. they defined what they need and what they want. and then that's negotiated with the state eoc and the department of public safety along with the agency they're asking for. it's not always the national guard in this case. it is the national guard. the reason it's associated with national guard is to make sure we have the capability to do the mission that's being asked. so yes, we are always in support of the local leadership. the local civilian leadership. i have no authority to self-deploy the minnesota national guard anywhere in the state. i have no authority whatsoever. and so i follow exactly what you laid out. civilian leadership, civilian elected officials make the request and then we work with them. because if i'm not accomplishing their task and their mission, i risk failure of mission. i also risk the chance that i might break the law.
right? i can't just march my soldiers down into minneapolis and say, hey, this is what john jensen believes we need to do. that's not how our government works and that's not how our military responds and reports to legitimate civilian leadership. and so what you asked is exactly right. that's exactly how it's supposed to work. >> we were told in the morning by mayor frey for the protesters to take over the presixty. if that's true, why did it take until 10:30 for that to happen? and why were you not called until after midnight to take over? >> i think that's a question you'll have to ask mayor frey. i think it's one we discussed earlier in the day. that the potential that the third precinct would not be held. that's correct. >> following up on that, we were told the same thing from sources that police in the third precinct were told before noon they would be evacuating at some
point. essentially the directive that they felt they were hearing they were allowed to be taken over. what is your response to that tactic given what we saw last night? >> well, obviously that was the turning point we were prepared. that rar was taken back executed about 3:40 a.m. i'm like all of you watching it. you can't have civil order deteriorate and then you have to make a calculated decision about does force going in there escalate it. does it endanger civilians and the force going in there. it is local police departments is how this works. we have the ability there with the police force. it's the state patrol. but that's not their normal. [ inaudible question ]
it took time to build the force to be able to go. again, we're seeing it. and i'm seeing what you were seeing. there were still officers in the third precinct. at least i believe until maybe you can correct me on this, maybe 9:00 or 10:00. >> have you considered additional tools, additional powers, curfew, any sort of marshal law? >> all the rules are there. that's what's being done over the last 24 hours as we prepare for this. the order structure of this. i'm very familiar how this works. they get a warning order.
they know what they're going to need to do. be ready to go through what we needed to do. those never came in many cases. >> we weren't asked to help and then at some point you were. why in this situation wait for the ask for help? why not take a proactive approach? >> well, we are. yeah, maybe yesterday. i'll be the first to tell you that i think in any of these things, if you're not second guessing and if you're not looking at the decisions made, potentially so. we've got to count on our partners. if you think about this to prevent this from happening like at the super bowl or the rnc, 18 months of planning went into that. 18 months of planning and presogss. 18 months of lining up the
materials that were there to make sure all those situations could be there. once you lose control like that, i'm deeply concerned about the bad actors. i want to be very clear. we own this. we own this in minnesota. but there certainly people that saw this unfold. the concern was how many people would make their way here who are simply in that business. yeah, i think it's a valid question. i think for me as i look at that, the point is i have to operate in real space and in realtime. and by last evening wu the second day we saw it. and from 8:30 or during the day until 8:30 we did see this. we continue to ask what is happening in st. paul. the state patrol did stop a lot of that on the target and some of those. but it happened from about 8:30 at night when the sun went down when i saw the person breaching the barrier at the third and then the decision to go out. who hasn't asked? i got to get to everybody. to the back. >> thank you.
governor, so it sounds like you are going to allow demonstrations tonight, protests and stuff? these would be in violation of standing orders of more than ten people? >> we're not allowing any of those. again, the absurdity in the middle of covid-19 when we have worked so dang hard to keep people from congregating. it goes back to the conversations in minnesota. this takes a social compact of people agreeing to do this. i want to just say this. watching what happened to george floyd had people say to hell with staying home on that. i'm going out because this can't happen again. the idea that we would go in there and break up those people's expressions of grief and rage was ridiculous. the problem was of not having in place with an expectation that a crowd that big over such a volatile issue, we have seen this happen in city after city whether it was ferguson, l.a. we've seen these things. that was the thing we started
planning, started asking. but again, you're seeing holes in planning. that's for darn sure as states and cities and counties start to happen. >> what's the rules for the rest of the day and tonight then? >> that's what's being worked on right now. and with certainly -- this is the plan that will be permitted to me. we want to present that to minnesotans by 2:00 or so. what i can tell you is a lot of it is going to be the operational things you would expect to happen. they will be there. there will be a presence out on the corners. we will start to do that. but i'm going to ask again. i need to ask minnesotans, those in pain and those who feel like justice has not been served yet, you need to help us create this space so that that justice will be served. and it's my expectation that it will be swift and we're able to maintain that order. and so that plan will start to happen today and it will include -- we will think of all the tools that are there. i want to come back to that
again. the more of those things you use, the more those are viewed as the oppressive things. what we're trying to separate is the lawful first amendment aggrieved citizens who need to express that from the folks who are clearly -- i'm telling you what. the farthest thing from people on their minds as they're burning down a family owned store at 3:00 a.m. on lake street was george floyd. that's what we've got to get at. >> question for you and the general. first of all, are you concerned with the civilian leadership in minneapolis after the loss of control by the police department? and for the general -- >> candidly, i don't think this is a secret to anybody that the tension between the minneapolis police department and many of their communities is a pretty well known thing. i don't know any way to express
it other than they had lost faith in them and felt they were part of the problem. certainly seeing a uniformed police officer's knee on george floyd's neck on monday pretty much tells you what the public is thinking towards that. i don't think you could think it was a mistake of who was leading that down there and that it changed the tone that was there. i am concerned. i think it would be disingenuous. i know this is painful, this is hard. there is going to be recriminations. there is going to be going back and looking at this as there should be. my top priority now is the immediate security from last night does not happen tonight. i don't think it's going to be easy. because this whole whack-a-mole thing and the way we're able to stop it is deploy these tools with the support of the public to make sure we isolate these folks. and again as commissioner harrington said, the idea that
you think you can fire bomb a building and not be arrested and spend serious time in jail, i understand that. but the idea that we don't want to make people who are out there still asking what about george floyd? what happened to those people? what happened to the people who did this? that got lost in 48 hours of anarchy. >> we saw three television journalists get arrested early this morning on live television. can you or anyone up there tell me how many looters and arsonists have been arrested over the past two days in the twin cities? zb i'm going to use this as an opportunity again as i said, tom. i am deeply apologetic that this happened. i understand that the community would believe if this were targeted. i as i told jeff zucker the president of cnn, i don't care at the point what the circumstance was why they got arrested. it is wrong, unacceptable and we needed to correct it. as far as others, who can
answer? >> has anybody been charged or arrested? >> yes. well, st. paul and others have made arrests on burglary, arson charges. i know burglary for sure. they have been arrested. there has been stops. there has been folks incarcerated. i don't know if they've been charged yet or not. i think most of them were done in the last 24 hours. [ inaudible question ] >> good day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. we're continuing our breaking news coverage of the latest developments from minneapolis. the minnesota governor tim walz addressing his constituents. a night of looting and rioting including setting fire to the precinct headquarters where the officers involved with george floyd worked. protests were spreading to other major cities around the country. a big show of force today, but many local and federal prosecutors giving no information at a news conference
important importantly. a county da may have triggered outrage saying he has evidence for not a criminal charge. based on an unusual amount of video of the incident. >> we've been failed by our politicians on every level. our county attorney had arrested them four cops, this might not have happened. >> do you think that they handled it correctly yesterday by pulling the officers out of here? >> they couldn't even protect themselves. >> i just want to say something though. this city knew it was coming. they knew it was coming. we've had so many complaints about the minneapolis police department. >> i tried to say it to them. what are you doing? i got people, i'm standing in front of the o'reilly people take tools they don't even know how to use. what does this got to do with george? >> minnesota senator and former democratic presidential candidate amy klobuchar joins me
now from minnesota. senator klobuchar is also the former attorney for hennepin county in her home state, was a prosecutor for the county before she became a senator. thank you very much for joining us. first of all, the governor has just said that there'll be time for recriminations as to what was not done. he acknowledged they did not predeploy the state police, the national guard were not in place. they didn't have the equipment before things turned violent in the middle of the night. as well as saying that there had been conversations with local officials. clearly that indicates the mayor, mayor frey. he has apologized profusely for the erroneous arrests by the police of a cnn crew today. a crew including a reporter of color. so there's been a lot that's happened already. let me ask you your reaction and what do you think has to happen first and next? >> first of all, there is pain,
enormous pain in our community, andrea. for such a good reason. anyone that watched that video of george floyd's life literally evaporating in front of our eyes as he's trying to breathe while that police officer has his knee on his neck is something that is etched on the minds of everyone in our state and everyone in our country. and i think what you saw today in the news conference was our community grappling with this admitting forthrightly as the governor did that there were mistakes made in how they approached looters and the vandalism. at the same time, being here, being out yesterday meeting with reverend jackson, talking to reverend sharpton, being out in our community, there were peaceful protesters all day that had every right to voice their anger and demand charges. there should be charges. you heard the law enforcement officer, the chief law
enforcement officer of the state john harrington, a friend of mine, former police chief of st. paul respected african-american leader say it today. that what he saw on that tape was murder. that has to happen. that's the number one thing as we look forward. the second is rebuilding our city, having adequate security to protect us from the vandalism while still allowing the peaceful protesters. and the third is a -- what we call a large scale investigation of what's been going on at the minneapolis police department. pattern and practice, it's called. and i have called for that from the justice department so that there can be fundamental systematic changes so we do not see this kind of racism in the future. and i think we know as the governor has pointed out, states across the country are dealing with this now. but what you see is pain. and what we need is action. >> why should the people of
minnesota, of minneapolis especially people of color trust the justice department and the attorney general when the u.s. attorney was one of those prosecutors at the news conference at 6:00 last night saying they need time and not announcing anything and including the fact that the county da said that there was no -- there was at least evidence that no crime had been committed. and that they had to wait for the medical examiner. that could be two or three weeks. how is that sustainable? that is according to a lot of people on the ground, our correspondents and others, that is what helped trigger this thing turning violent. >> first of all, i happen to know the prosecutors that have been actually assigned to the case on the state level. it's a prosecutor named amy sweezey who prosecuted an officer and sent him to prison in the last year.
another guy is jeff paulson who was assigned to help out with the prosecution of the officer who killed philando castillo. in that case, the jury came back not guilty. i thought that was unfortunate. but there are two veteran people who are actually on the ground working on these cases. and i believe to me, this case is right there in front of you. i talked to attorney -- former attorney general holder about this yesterday. the video is there. oftentimes in these cases, there's many crime scenes. they range over a period of different buildings and blocks and places. that's not this one. this one has multiple video recordings. there's the body cams. there's the one we saw initially. there's the one revealed last night. that is right there in front of our eyes. so i hope that we will see swift justice in these cases -- in this case. and you can't just rely on, well, this case before was handled in this way because it
was so complex. this is right in front of our eye. and that's what i hope will happen in this case and what i have been urging. >> let's talk about some difficult questions for you. because there is new scrutiny now over your time as the hennepin county attorney. and derek chauvin who is one of the officers involved, he's the officer who had his knee on the neck for eight or nine minutes of george floyd was also involved in the shooting of wayne reyes in 2006. no charges were filed. you were elected and it didn't go to the grand jury, i understand, until you were already in the senate. so it was not your decision. the grand jury handling of this. but there were also more than two dozen other cases of police-involved pru brutality t was not charged under your tenure. it is raising a lot of questions with all due respect. >> i appreciate you asking this, andrea.
honestly, yesterday when these reports came out about this officer, i was with our community. and my number one focus was the city that was burning. and now i have this opportunity to address this. let me start with the specific case. this idea that i somehow declined a case which has been reported on some news blogs and then sent out on the internet against this officer is absolutely false. it is a lie. i don't know what else to say about it than it is a lie. the case went -- was investigated. that investigation continued into a time where i was already sworn into the u.s. senate. i never declined the case. it was handled and sent to the grand jury. my successor's office said it was not my place to make decisions because the decision was made when i was in the u.s.
senate. in fact, nine months after i was in the senate is when it went to the grand jury. now let me address the bigger issue. i have said repeatedly back when i was the county attorney, the cases we had involved with officer-involved shootings went to grand jury. that was true across our state and many jurisdictions across the country. i think that was wrong now. i think it would have been much better if i took the responsibility and looked at the cases and made the decision myself. but let me make this clear. we did not blow off these cases. we brought them to a grand jury, presented the evidence for a potential criminal prosecution, and the grand jury would come back with the decision. that is how we handled the cases. that aside, i want to move forward. and i think the best way we move forward is, one, prosecutors taking responsibility themselves. two, police changes in terms of who is hired, the training, and
of course this major investigation i am calling for with the minneapolis police. there must be change. there is systematic racism. you saw the pain on the faces of my constituents in my state. i want that to change. and the way you do that is by calling for that change and making sure it happens. if george floyd's death has any legacy because he will never be brought back, it should be systematic change to our criminal justice system in minnesota and across the country. and as a member of the judiciary committee, i pledge to get that done. >> but some people could -- and certainly the people of color in minnesota who feel that this has been systematic including a period when you had a role in it have to feel that this should be disqualifying for you to be on the ticket as vice president. do you feel now that you should take yourself out of consideration given that we are now involved in yet another
national conversation about racism and about the way white officials have overlooked needed change for decades? >> first of all, this is joe biden's decision. and he was an excellent vice president. and he's going to make the best decision for him, for our country, for the pandemic and the crisis we're facing to take over leadership of who's the best partner with him to come in there with the competence that he is going to show, with the compassion he's going to show, with his strong support and understanding of the african-american community. he will make that decision. he'll decide who he's considering. the second thing as far as my record and i think i made this case in the presidential campaign -- andrea you asked a big question to me eni want to be able to respond. when i was county attorney, african-american incarceration rate went down 12%. i was heralded by the innocence project for the work i did in making sure that we had a dna
review of all of our cases, in working to have a new form of witness id that i implemented. to make sure we videotaped interrogations and that would happen nationally. there is institutional racism. and since i've got into the senate, i've been one of the leaders in terms of pushing for sentencing reform, to reduce sentencing. that's my record. and joe biden will decide who he wants in this job. my focus right now has been on my city. i have not been able to defend myself against attacks about cases that i think were unfair because my focus has been on fairness for george floyd's memory and for his family and for our community to heal. that will continue to be my focus. but i do appreciate this time to be able to set the record straight. >> and we very much appreciate your coming on and giving us this opportunity. thank you, senator. >> okay. thank you, andrea.
>> and joining us now, nbc's shaq brewster in minneapolis, nbc correspondent kristen welker, bill bratton, michael steele, claire mccaskill, and cheriln eiffel. kristen, i want to come to you first because the president's role in this has been controversial. his tweet overnight mirroring a racist phrase that was used back in the '60s by a white supremacist mayor of miami talking about when the looting starts the chashooting starts. the looting and shooting tweet was blocked by twitter which gets into the second day of twitter jumping in and saying it was glorifying violence. then the white house doubling down and putting it on the white
house website. what about the president's role here? >> reporter: well, andrea, this is a real leadership test for president trump coming against the backdrop against another leadership test, his handling of the global pandemic. we have put that question to the white house. was president trump intentionally quoting from that police chief who you mentioned? no response there. no reaction about where that tweet about when the looting starts, the shooting starts actually comes from. but we know that the white house is doubling down, andrea, posting it on the white house website. it was just announced the president will be hosting a press conference in the rose garden about an hour and a half from now. those will be among the top questions that president trump will have to answer. but look, it has opened him up to a range of criticism from democrats, his rival in the campaign, former vice president
joe biden already pouncing essentially saying he is fomenting more violence. and former president obama who has of course come out and endorsed biden has come out and said this shouldn't be normal in 2020. this can't be normal. obama goes on to cite some of the conversations that he has had with his friends about what we have seen unfold in minneapolis. we know that president trump for his part has said that he's been in touch with his attorney general. he has called for an expedited investigation into what exactly happened, but the question becomes what, if anything, will president trump say about this today? does he not need to address this? we know former president obama, for example, in the wake of the ferguson riots, it did take him several days to address it. once he did, he delivered a speech about it. will we see anything similar from president trump either today or in the coming days? i can't underscore this enough, the president is dealing with
dual crises. how will he handle it? that will be one of the questions people have during this campaign. >> and shaq brewster, overnight you've been there. you've been there several days. what are you seeing in the dmunt and is the community reacting? these are small shops and people in the community in the third precinct who are the victims here as well. >> reporter: you're right, andrea. i'll tell you, the biggest difference we see is what you see directly behind me with the presence of officers, of police. i'll tell you, the target that we first saw being looted on wednesday night, i was there. that's about two blocks behind me. immediately you saw that wednesday night. that looting continued through thursday and didn't stop until about 3:00 a.m. this morning. that entire parking lot was full and run by protesters. by the presence of police, that
has calmed things down. things have gotten less tense. one thing that stuck out to me and we were listening to the press conference from the governor. something that stuck out to me is he said we needed to restore order so we can focus back on the original issue of the killing of george floyd. if you talk to people on the ground, you listen to what the minneapolis naacp has to say, if you listen to people who are here asesing the damage of businesses they use, they say the one thing that will do that is the arrest of the officer involved in that killing. so that's what they're saying. they want to see immediate action and they're listening that can happen simply with an arrest. andrea? >> cheralin, what about the swift justice of the prosecutors yesterday? i was so struck by the county prosecutor saying he had other evidence. everyone has seen so many camera angles on this. he was handcuffed, unarmed. if there was a forgery
committed, it was not a violent crime. putting the neck -- putting his knee on the neck was not a permitted practice, so police training gets into this. tell me lawyer and as an esteemed lawyer why there can't be a charge? >> well, obviously, there can be a charge. i was struck by his attempt to refer to the freddie gray prosecution and to suggest he needed to take time so there would be a guilty severe. we know in minnesota, a man was found guilty. we have a racism problem in this country. you and i have had so many conversations and my head is reeling we're here again four, fire years later hearing the build up and hearing kristen welker talking about the
president having a press conference. here we go again with charlottesville. this is not a test for the president. he had a tweet that he put out this morning that's bizarre, abidication. i don't like to see the looting. i feel for the businesses. as you pointed out i'm a lawyer. i believe in the rule of law and i said years ago that if the rule of law is to prevail then the people have to see some justice. i'm losing credibility when i talk with my own community about the importance of letting the legal system run its course. it always produces a result that is unjust. how can we tell people to have faith in the justice system and what you are seeing out on streets of minneapolis is that lack of faith in the justice system and the lack of faith is justified, i'm not justifying
looting but the lack of faith is absolutely justified by what they have seen in the justice system in this country. so i don't want to talk about looters at this point. i want to talk about an officer of the state of licensed, paid for with taxpayer money given a gun, a badge and the right to take human life. i want to see accountability for what we saw on that video and i don't want to hear about delays and i don't want to hear about other pieces of evidence. if he has it he should release it. i still want to see the police incident report. i want to know what did the officers say when they returned to the precinct. i want to see more transparency from the state's attorney, more transparency from the mayor and i want to see a focus on this reality that's killing us in this country. it is not what happened last night that's killing us in this country but the toxic poison of racism, our democracy cannot survive and exploitation of it by this president is a shame but the truth is it was there even
before he took office. >> claire, you've been in a situation politically. this is an enormous challenge, of course not just for the president but for the democrats, for joe biden. he may have a statement, something to say. what do democrats do in the midst of this and in the midst of a pandemic, no less? >> well, i think it's really important that we stay focused on the systemic racism in our system and, obviously, the tremendous pressure that is there right now and one that's hard for me to your honor, frankly, as i was the county district attorney in kansas city. before i became a statewide official. and i know with an educated guess that the only thing that could be waiting on is blood work. because, clearly the autopsy has to have been done by now and why in the world the blood work wouldn't go to the top of the pile. i guess they are trying to make sure they can eliminate
something in his blood that might have caused his death. the point is there's clear evidence of unreasonable force that was used. police officer had his hand in his pocket. i mean talk about a closing argument for a prosecutor. going after the these police officers. his hand in his pocket. like he was waiting for a take out delivery. so there's unreasonable force here. these guys could be arrested. and clearly this county attorney has to understand lives are at the stake. justice is not justice if it doesn't move swiftly and in this instance they need to get on this and get this done. the democrats have to continue to tanned for, as they have, improvement in the systemic racism in our system. whether it is more body cams, whether it is more data on driving while black, whether it is, in fact, taking more seriously other people's videos
that are taken in helps instance. it's time for the system to change and democrats need to stand for that. >> bill bratton as a former police commissioner and you've had to deal with these kinds of issues, what do you say about the lack of a show of force that permitted the kind of rioting and arson last night. why weren't they pre-positioned, it was after two days of protests. >> having listened to the press conference by state officials quite apparent there was a clear lack of communication in collaboration among the state, county and city going into this event. and throughout it. and to the extent that the governor is now saying that he's in charge, that press conference was very unusual and it's the governor not the mayor and the police chief. so hopefully they will get their collective acts together. it's the only way they will resolve this issue. you can have the city taking
directions from the state. as for the decision to abandon that police station, you can argue both sides of that decision. one was the idea of potentially, i imagine, to save lives. the idea that those individuals demonstrating outside attempted to storm a station that was apparently understaffed. those officers inside might have resorted to what would have been deadly force to protect themselves and that station. so on the one hand, save lives. on the other hand, the symbolism of giving up american police station in the middle of a civil disturbance, the message that sends. so this event, this ongoing event because it is not over. these things deja vu all over again, participated in many of these, watched many over the last 50 years. they run a course. in time everything is quiet. as soon as the sun goes down all hell breaks loose. and takes a few days for these
things to peel out if you will. hopefully they got their act together in that city w-the city coordinating now with state, with the national guard and, maybe, they will have the ability tonight because these characters will try it again tonight. guaranteed. a lot what you're seeing is not necessarily residents of that city but characters who come in, drawn like mosquitos to a human body. the anarchist, the troublemakers can act up under the color of the demonstration. i agree with everybody that's talking about. the focus shouldn't be on what happened here, the focus should be on the victim and these incidents are taking away from that focus. >> michael steele, how would you heal a city that had racist practices for so many decades by everyone's account including the governor. >> just acknowledge that upfront.
that those practices are real and impactful and that lives have been lost because of them. i think, you know, at this point, just to put it out there on the treat as broadly and as su succinctally, what does a black man have to do to get home from work, to walk through central park. what does a black woman have to do when she's in her home and ply come to her door and killed. these are the systemic issues african-americans are confronting every day. yet our action act surprised when black folks say look i'm mad about this, because the system and all that composes the system is just giving lip service to it. it's not addressing the very systemic and very, very painful racist attitudes and practices that are infused in our police force, in our institutions.
so, yes, at a point, you know, folks get angry. they get upset. it struck me, andrea, that you had white men in particular storming the capital, armed to the teeth with semiautomatic rifle, grenades and other kinds of weapons and the president tweets out liberate minnesota. yet when black folks are upset about an african-american, yet another african-american, four, three since february being killed by the hands of the police and they are upset about that they are called thugs. and then the president, you know, tweets what he tweets this morning. so, yeah, there's frustration right now that has to be addressed for the very reason that it hasn't been up to this point. >> frustration, anger, and grieving, a nation in mourning today. that does it for this edition of
"andrea mitchell reports". chuck todd picks up our coverage right now. >> thank you. and good afternoon to your friends in taste and still a good morning out west. i'm chuck todd joined by katy. the president will host a news conference in the next hour. news conference will be largely supposed to be focused on hong kong but no doubt we might hear from the president on what's been happening in minnesota. national guard members alongside local and state police forces are on patrol today after a long night that did turn violent. protests across the twin cities began peacefully as thousands expressed their anger over the death of george floyd. demonstrators set fire to buildings including a minneapolis police station that's become symbolic to protesters. >> i'm asking you to help us, help us use humane way to