tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC May 29, 2020 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
pandemic already gripping our country. 40 million people out of work that we know of. 40 million who have raised their hands for benefits. this is the definition of a tough time in america, and it is behind so many of the pictures we see playing out. we are very fortunate to have joy reid taking over at the top of the hour for our live coverage. i will see you tomorrow afternoon, 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. eastern starting at noon on the west coast as the attempted launch goes off in california, attempt number two for the nasa mission. our breaking news coverage continues now with my colleague joy reid. brian, thank you so much. really appreciate it and i really thank you as well for joining us this hour. as we come on the air tonight, we are following protests that are taking place all across this nation after the death of george
floyd. and this nation continues to react to that death, an unarmed black man who died after pleading for his life while in the custody of police. and tonight the twin cities of minneapolis and saint paul are under mandatory curfew. that order comes just hours after murder and manslaughter charges were announced against the police officer who was seen kneeling on mr. floyd's neck as he repeatedly said "i can't breathe." that mandatory curfew began more than three hours ago, yet some protesters are still in the streets as of this hour. earlier this evening, we saw minneapolis authorities trying to push back demonstrators using tear gas and flash bangs. and although minneapolis and st. paul are still reeling tonight, they are not the only cities that are facing unrest. peaceful protests in atlanta turned violent earlier with buildings damaged and police vehicles set on fire. thousands have gathered in new york with clashes breaking out
between demonstrators and police. more than 700 miles away from the twin cities in louisville, kentucky, protesters have taken to the streets for the second night of demonstrations as that city reels not only from the death of george floyd but also from the death of breonna taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was shot by police inside her home earlier this year. now, we're watching all of those protests and many more that are ongoing at this hour. but we begin in minneapolis with my colleague ali velshi. he's the host of "velshi" on saturdays and sundays here on msnbc. i know you've been moving from location to location over the course of the night. tell us where you are and what you're seeing around you. >> reporter: all right. i'm going to step out of the shot so that miguel can give you a clear shot in front of us down lake street. and what you've got is a number of protesters in the hundreds that have come from the right side of your screen, and they've moved forward. what you're looking at is a shot in front of the fifth precinct.
that has still got police in it. the protesters were there. they have moved beyond it and off to the right. you can't really see them now, but there are well over 1,000. then you can see the stop n shop there. there's some smoke in the air, but you can see the stop n shop. there's some smoke to the left of it, and they've broken -- the protesters have broken a hole through the scaffolding there and have gone inside and they're looting that. if you look over, miguel is going to pan the camera over to the right. what you can see between us and the office depot sign is more smoke. something is on fire there, and there's something burning on that side. above us is a blackhawk helicopter that has just been circling at relatively low altitude, probably well under 1,000 feet the whole time, keeping an eye on what's going on. but that fire -- that smoke is growing and billowing. it's moving over to where we are in front of us. the fifth precinct still appears to have police in it, and there does not seem to be any direct
confrontation between protesters and the police. the protesters have moved off and to the right. they're moving their way around the city. what's important as you see this shot, joy, is to understand that the curfew went into effect at 9:00 p.m. eastern. at no point has there been anything that looks like a curfew in this city. there's no national guard presence that we can see. there is no minneapolis police presence, and there is no state police presence. this is again a night in which the protesters are controlling the streets, at least in some parts of minneapolis and its suburbs, joy. >> thank you very much, ali. appreciate it. ali velshi, thank you so much. i want to go over to retired nypd detective and director of public relations for the black law enforcement alliance, marq claxton. mr. claxton, thanks for being here tonight. give us the perspective of police tonight. there is a sense of, i will say, siege that the black community feels at the hands of police. police are now out here in
cities across the country, attempting to protect cities and businesses and properties, et cetera. but, you know, how are average police officers thinking about what happened to mr. floyd? >> i can't hear you. i think joy's asking me questions. >> oh, i don't think that he can hear me. i don't think marq claxton can hear me. can you hear me, marq? >> i can hear you now, joy. i'm sorry. >> okay. great. listen, it's live television in the midst of a pandemic on top of this that we're seeing now. so i'm going to ask again. there is a sense of siege that the black community feels, a sense of exhaustion, a sense of fear of police, a sense of helplessness in a lot of ways that's producing the anger that you're seeing on your screen and you're seeing all over the country. i wonder if you can give us the perspective of how law enforcement officers feel, particularly black law enforcement, you know, as african-americans but also as law enforcement people. how do they feel about what
happened to mr. george? >> in general, law enforcement of course feels increased pressure, increased scrutiny. of course they're placed additionally in the line of fire, figuratively speaking hopefully. so there is increased pressure. as far as black and brown law enforcement is concerned, i think they've made their feelings quite evident and quite obvious on social media. there are facebook posts indicating their support for the arrest of these police officers. that's something that's never really happened before regardless of the cases. the most egregious cases, you've never had a lot of police officers, black and brown police officers primarily, but of all colors, of all different ranks, of all different departments universally condemning the actions of a colleague and demanding for justice and an arrest of a police officer. so there are some mixed emotions going on now, but that's all part and parcel of what you do
as a police officer, as a professional law enforcement officer. >> and, you know, the four officers who confronted mr. george were not all white. one of them was asian-american, yet no one related enough to the man on the ground to say to the lead -- the main detective who had his, you know, his body, his physical weight, his forearm resting on his neck and pressing down on him, no one said stop. why do you suppose that is, and is this a case for making sure that in communities where black people are being policed, that there need to be black officers present? and do you think had there been somebody, a black police officer there, that there's a chance that somebody would have said stop? >> well, first off, why they didn't stop their colleague, their partner from slowly and gradually increasing pressure on
mr. floyd's neck and leading to his death is because they were cowards. and quite frankly speaking, that's really, you know, the sentiment across the country as far as professional law enforcement is concerned because they were cowards. they had an obligation to do something and to stop that, and they failed to do so. that's why they share in the responsibility, and many of us have been calling for their arrest as well in regards to this. now, the question about whether or not if you increase brown and black representation in police departments and law enforcement across the board it will make any significant difference, i think without changing the very culture of policing, it won't make that much of a difference. i quite frankly believe -- and i've discussed this before -- that oftentimes black and brown individuals who come from these communities that feel under siege get into police departments and become subsumed by the police culture and
disregard and reject their own culture and experiences and even the experiences of their own family. so the idea, the challenge is to shift and change and attack and reform the police culture, and then you'll see some significant movement inas far as recognizing the humanity of people. >> you know, i think the thing that is one of the most chilling things about that video, you know, other than the fact that you essentially are watching the end of this man's life, is watching the lead police officer just stare right at the witnesses. they knew they were being watched, and that didn't impact them at all. is that about the power of police unions and the confidence that police officers have that even in a case where someone dies, as george floyd did, that nothing's going to happen to them, that they feel perfectly confident in continuing to do what they were doing even though they knew they were being watched and recorded? >> it's part -- it's part of the dynamic of the police unions as
you indicated earlier. i was watching earlier some of the comments you made about the power of the unions. police unions do wield a lot of power. but it's deeper than that. it is part of the culture of policing and the arrogance. i was speaking to some people earlier on today because i was wondering what makes people react to this particular incident so viscerally and so angrily and so outraged? i mean a reaction like i said from law enforcement professionals across the nation. and a friend of mine explained to me in a way i should have understood from the very beginning. that is because what he saw was an individual who was, in his smugness, you know, stared directly and defiantly in the face of all civilians and black people in general, and really was determined to execute, to conduct an extra judicial execution on the street. and it was his smugness, the
posturing that really connects the people's emotions and has outraged people across the nation. so it's a larger police culture. culture issue in the police departments, unless there is a shift and a change, we will continue to have these examples of tragic incidences. and unless there is complete and total revolutionary police reform, we'll be back here time and time again discussing these very issues. >> and, you know, in the case of walter scott and, you know, a couple of years ago, the officer in that case, because of another brave person who taped the killing of mr. scott, that officer did actually go to jail. do you think that the real answer here is that prosecutors have to be brave enough to separate themselves enough from law enforcement, who are their partners, and prosecute them or that outside groups -- senator kamala harris suggested earlier that it may need to be someone
else other than the prosecutors who partner with police to do prosecutions, that maybe if more officers went to prison for killing suspects and subjects who are in their custody, that that is the only thing that will actually change that culture you talk about. >> yes, that is absolutely what will change the culture, if police officers understand and actually see their colleague who went off the farm so to speak go to prison, go to jail. there has to be a punishment associated with everything. we can increase rules and regulations and add laws and committees and task force. until police officers who go rogue and go renegade are put in jail or in prison, there will not be a significant and substantive change. and quite frankly what we'll are looking at now are saying to themselves, this is a matter of the integrity of the justice system for black and brown people. if you can allow for extrajudicial executions on the
street under the color of law, then black and brown people will claim -- will defiantly state there is no integrity in this justice system, and the system is broken or perhaps working like it's always been planned to work, but there is no justice for black people. >> well stated. marq claxton, retired nypd detective, thank you so much. really appreciate you taking the time this early, early in the morning or late, late at night to speak with us about this issue. thank you. >> thank you, joy. >> we have also seen large demonstrations tonight in new york city, protests which began outside the barclays center in brookl brooklyn soon turned violent. hundreds of demonstrators marched through the fort green section of brooklyn where a police van was set on fire. dozens of people have been arrested tonight. new york city mayor bill de blasio tweeting, we have a long night ahead of us in
brooklyn. joining us now is new york city public advocate jumaane williams. thank you so much for being here tonight. jumaane, this is my old neighborhood i'm watching. i lived in fort green for quite a long time. to see this neighborhood in this state is difficult. what should people know about the emotions of people in new york city tonight? >> well, thank you so much for having me and, you know, always being a space for this kind of discussion. the emotions are like what we've seen across the country. people are tired. people are fed up, and they're not okay. i'm not okay. we're not okay. of course, you know, the impetus is yorgeorge floyd, but when yo think about the covid response and who has been disproportionately affected, when you think about breonna taylor, when you think about black women who are dying at mortality rates hire because people don't believe their pain,
that's a lot for a community. this is the pain and the rage that is actually justified that we see happening across the country. >> and, you know, do you think that the amy cooper versus -- you know, the bird-watcher also named cooper, michael cooper in new york city -- do you think that has added to the anger, the potential of what could have happened to him, what did happen in minneapolis, is this a compound reaction that we're seeing in the screen outside you? >> of course it is. christian cooper could have been the next hashtag. so if we miss the interconnectivity between what amy cooper did and what we're seeing in these other cases, then we're missing the forest for the trees. so we can expect that people are going to express their anger.
what we're seeing in new york city, i do want to make plain, is something that we're seeing across the nation on a whole host of issues, and we knew that this was going to happen. there is only but so much that people can take. i do want to make a few things clear how i think we can move forward in new york city. one, of course, address the pain that we're feeling. but also there's something when i was there at barclays, the amount of police presence before even any protesters came was problematic and intimidating. we can't start off the tone of the conversation like that. i also saw some instances of overpolicing, where people were harmed in indiscriminate spraying that we have to address. but there's something else i want to address. i saw decisions being made by non-black allies. and i'm so happy to see non-black allies there. but i want to make it clear that the voice of this protest and the decisions of how to protest should be made by the leaders who are most affected by the
things that are going on. i just want to make sure i get that message out there as well. >> thank you for doing that. new york city public advocate jumaane williams, thank you very much. really appreciate you being here and staying up with us tonight as we wade through all of this. >> thank you. >> now let's go to louisville, kentucky, where nbc news correspondent cal perry is standing by. cal, tell us what's going on in louisville. >> reporter: hey, joy. so the police have managed to keep everybody split up. that's the current police line right there. you can see the store's damage. the park across the street has been pretty well trashed. if you can spin around, mark -- i'm sorry -- you can see this whole street is kind of gone. there's been a news crew truck that's been destroyed. i want to talk quickly about breonna taylor. she was 26 years old. she was killed on march 13th when three police officers came
into her apartment. they did not announce themes. they came into the apartment. there was a firefight. the 911 recording released today showed i thought there was a break-in. now there's -- the person they were looking for had already been detained. she was a medical worker. she was a 26-year-old nurse. she was the people that we count on in this pandemic. and it's what has brought people onto the streets in the last two nights. the other very important thing about louisville to know is that people are armed here. there are people with bats here. there are people with guns here on the streets. and last night there were seven people shot. so in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of a riot that was brought on by what seems to be a white police officer murdering an unarmed black man, there was also a mass shooting. so louisville like the rest of the country is scarred and is going through something deeply emotional, and people are still sort of out here in sporadic numbers. and police are letting folks
have the run of these streets. they're letting people damage stores. they're letting people damage the cars. they're trying to keep people away from that downtown area. there's a local jail there, the city jail. there's also a courthouse and the sheriff's office. they seem to have cordoned that area off, and these side streets, joy, they sort of let people have the run of it. we'll see if that lasts. i don't expect it will last much past about 1:00 in the morning, and then we'll have to see what tomorrow night brings. but again we seem to have avoided what happened last night, which was a mass shooting and the protests, and that seems to be what police were most worried about, joy. >> before i let you go, cal, i just want to clarify is there reporting that says a mass shooting in what relation to the protests? do we know if. >> reporter: we don't know. >> okay. we want to make sure we clarify for the audience. we don't know this was directly related to the protest. we just know it happened also last night.
>> reporter: we know the gunfire went into the crowd. it didn't come from the crowd. gunfire went into the crowd of protesters. police say they're investigating. they haven't made any arrests. they made three arrests last night in relation to damage and protests, but no arrest made as to who the shooter was. again, that gunfire went into the crowd of >> thank you very much. really appreciate clarifying that. so gunfire into those protesters. cal perry in louisville, kentucky, thank you so much. be safe out there, cal. i want to now show you some footage from the city of atlanta today. this is the atlanta police chief, erica shields. she's out listening to and talking with protesters in her city earlier today, including pretty instens one-on-one conversations like this. you can see her listening to a distraught, angry protester, and then putting her hands on the woman's shoulders, trying to reassure her. there was another exchange that she also had today. >> i'm nervous because there's guns everywhere, and i have no idea when they're going to put their hands on me.
it does not matter what i do because they see my skin, okay? i need you to understand that. i need you to do something. if you do something, you need to let us know. you need to let the public now because anything that you do, we don't know. >> let me tell you something. i'm standing here because what i saw was my people face to face with this crowd, and everybody's thinking, how can we use force and defuse it? and i'm not having that. i'm not having that. >> we're here peacefully. >> you have a right to be upset and scared and want to yell. and we're going to do it safely. that's my first commitment. and i hear you. i've heard from so many people. they cannot sleep. they're terrified. they're trying. they're worried for their children. there's a problem. balance from here. you can detect suspicious activity on your account from here. and you can pay your friends back from here. so when someone asks you, "where's your bank?"
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about what you're seeing? >> reporter: well, right now we are live here by the white house. if you come right over here, you can see these hundreds of protesters. they are approximately a half a football field away from the white house gate. many of them have signs that read "i can't breathe" making reference to george floyd. you can see all of them out here. and if you come with me right over here, you can see that there's secret service officer who's have on protective gear, and they are pushing the protesters back to make sure they do not cross over this gate and then get close to the white house. many of these protesters are -- tell me they are frustrated, upset over the death of george floyd, and many of them say that this is the type of thing that they have been waiting for because when they think about philando castile and all these other cases, breonna taylor, am a deux diallo, and when they say
they don't have convictions, many of them say george floyd was the straw, in the words of one woman, that broke the camel's back. back to you. >> really quickly, before i let you go, shomari stone, what are the protesters saying they want or expect donald trump to do differently because donald trump is very consistent in what he does. he's consistent in who he is. is there something they want from the white house, or is this just an expression of anger at the white house? >> reporter: well, it's a combination of both. you have an expression of anger but also you have folks out here who want the white house to show leadership, to show sympathy, to understand the issue of race relations, to understand the killing of unarmed black people by law enforcement in america. they feel that president trump is not showing enough leadership, that he's not sympathetic, that he uses words such as that many of the people are beginning to get unruly, and we're now going back to you.
>> i want to apologize for that language for our audience. this is -- this is all happening in real time, so this is the way it happens. i think we have lost our shot. we'll try to maybe get shomari stone back a little later. but shomari stone from nbc's affiliate in washington, d.c., thank you so much for being here. now let's go back to minneapolis where nbc news correspondent morgan chesky is on the ground. all right, morgan. give us an update on what you're seeing. it seems a bit more sparse where you are. >> joy, it certainly is. we are asking ourselves where is the mass of people that departed this area at 8:00 central time. that's when that curfew went into effect. that's when the national guard rolled by in humvees, and that's when police deployed that tear gas and that smoke to try to get those people out of this area. they succeeded in that, but upon leaving the third precinct, which is just a block behind me, they continued down the road, and they've made their way across the city. we do know that the fifth precinct has been seeing a swarm
of people around that area, causing issues, vandalism and looting like we've seen in this neighborhood for the past two nights. so as it stands right now, we are continuing to see a stream of people continuing to make their way through this area. fires have been lit within the past hour or two that burn unabated, and there's been no sign of police, no sign of national guard, and the fire department has not made any effort to come here and try to put any of these flames out at this point in time. when we were standing outside the third precinct building earlier, we were watching a steady stream of people go in and out, walking out with whatever they could carry. so unfortunately it looks like tonight is very similar to the past two nights although the main difference is that we're not seeing at least the crowd concentrated in this area, which kind of became the epicenter of resistance because this is where the third precinct was located. that is the station where those four officers worked who were fired earlier this week.
so right now we're waiting to see if there's going to be any response of any kind. we know that a swarm of state police showed up very early this morning to establish a wide perimeter around the very area that i'm standing on right now. however, that disappeared whenever that curfew essentially went into effect. but we're not seeing much enforcement, if any at all. joy? >> very quickly before i let you go, morgan, has it been possible to establish any relationships between the groups of people that you said that you're reporting seeing looting or doing anything violent or starting fires, and actual demonstrators, the demonstrators with signs, the people that are protesting directly about george floyd's death? are these connected groups of people, or are they two separate groups of people? >> reporter: it's tough to say, joy. we know that at least yesterday, arrived in minneapolis around 10:00 a.m., and i watched, you
know, a large number of people congregate, you know, with signs, coming out to send a message against violence that was involving police and an unarmed black man of course earlier this week. we heard that message being shared throughout the day. but was we've seen time and time again over the past several days here, as soon as night falls, the tone shifts. the crowd shifts and it's a whole other attitude that comes out. so i think that are there some of these people here during the day that come out at night? there certainly could be. but i would say the majority of the people we encounter are not necessarily those who maybe drove in from out of town with a sign, wanting to send a message of support to the family of george floyd, and trying to be heard. and the unfortunate reality is that some people have expressed to me is they really fear that the devastation you see behind me, the fires that continue to burn, the damage that's
inflicted upon this neighborhood, will overshadow what they believe is the bigger problem, and that is that four police officers took an unarmed black man to the ground, and he died just a few minutes later. joy? >> can i ask you also just thinking back, taking you back to conversations that you had with the demonstrators earlier in the day, and if you could take us back to around the time that it was clear that officer shauv chauvin was going to be charged, he had been charged with third-degree murder, how did that impact the crowd, the people that you spoke with? >> reporter: i spoke with in particular i'm reminded of a conversation i had with two black gentlemen who drove in from out of town today. they came here to clean up some of the mess, and they had organized a volunteer effort. i was the one, when i said, chauvin been taken into custody. charges are coming. it was before he had been charged with third-degree
murder. i said, now that he is at least arrested, how does that change things for you at all? they said it gave them hope for justice, but it was still far too early. they said what about the other three officers who have yet to be arrested? and they raised up a very good point in that. a lot of people are still wondering what comes next. this is going to be a very long road ahead in the justice system, and people -- they know it's not going to be immediate, but they want to see some sort of step being made in the right direction. and so while it may have taken away maybe the edge of anger for some of those people, there were just as many in the crowd, joy, that said that even that third-degree murder charge placed against chauvin was nothing but a slap on the wrist and it was frankly an insult after, you know, they witnessed that eight to nine-minute video and saw exactly what happened there. joy? >> nbc news correspondent morgan chesky, thank you very much from minneapolis tonight. thanks for staying up for us tonight. really appreciate you.
meanwhile, protests over the death of george floyd have also gotten under way in oakland, california, where hundreds of demonstrators have blocked interstate 880. nbc news correspondent jake ward is live in oakland now. jake, tell us what you're seeing. >> reporter: joy, the police just about a half block from us are pushing us back early, hitting people with tear gas like this gentleman here. it's definitely escalated, the general feeling of this has definitely become a very powerful situation. a lot of people holding up the names of oscar grant, who as you know, on new year's day was killed here in the bay area in 2009. the police department, you know, a lot of strong feelings about them here in this town. a long tradition of it. earlier tonight we had protesters actually make their way onto the freeway, close that down, get up onto the bay
bridge, park cars and block that off. earlier south of me in san jose, tear gas was deployed to disperse the crowds there. and we're beginning to feel the effects of tear gas now as police who had been telling protesters you are welcome to be here have suddenly turned a very different vibe and pushes protesters back with tear gas as protesters begin to throw fireworks and other small explosive devices. so the smell and the energy has definitely changed in the last few minutes here, joy. >> and, you know, thank you for bringing up the oscar grant situation. these often are accumulations of longstanding anger and frustration with police departments. and i'll ask you a similar question that i asked morgan. did you sense any change in the vibe after it became clear that at least one of the four officers who was responsible for the death of george floyd were going to be indicted, that that one indictment, did that change
the vibe at all earlier today? >> reporter: you know, it's not clear, joy, that there's really much that could have calmed this crowd down. this is a crowd that has a -- you know, as we said, a long history of difficulty, anger with the police here in oakland. the police, as you know, are under a federal consent decree. the oakland police department has been basically under the supervision of an inspector from the department of justice ever since 2003 when a group of rogue police officers were found to be planting drugs and violating people's civil rights. so i don't know that there's much that could have happened in this case other than to drive anger upward at a time when the economy is in a really difficult place, oakland is locked down and under real pressure here when it comes to coronavirus measures, and this long history of anger. you put all of that together with the george floyd situation, and it just obviously was going
to get out of control. we're certainly beginning to feel that here tonight, joy. >> jake ward with a lot of really wonderful context for us. very important context. nbc news correspondent jake ward in oakland for us tonight. thank you so much. really appreciate you. we've got much more to come here tonight. we're going to take a quick break, and we'll be right back. we'll be right back. so you only pay for what you need! [squawks] only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ sleep number 360 smart bed. memorial day sale on the can it help keep me asleep? absolutely, it senses your movements and automatically adjusts to keep you both comfortable. it's the final days to save $1,000 on the sleep number 360 special edition smart bed, now only $1,799. ends sunday.
you may have seen this photo yesterday of a restaurant in minneapolis which is a block away from the police station in minneapolis' third district. during the fires and the riots and the looting last night, the owner put this sign in the window, "minority owned," hoping the protesters would spare his restaurant from the destruction. his restaurant was not spared. it caught fire last night and took on damage. when the owner woke up to the
news that his business had been burned, his reaction was not one of dismay or anger with the protesters. this is what he told his daughter while he was watching the news this morning. quote, let my restaurant burn. justice needs to be served. put those officers in jail. joining us now is the owner of that minneapolis restaurant and also with him is his 18-year-old daughter, who posted her dad's reaction on facebook today. thank you both for being here. sir, i'm going to start with you. where did that reaction come from even though you had seen your business burned? >> thank you for having us here, and i want to start with that we are not condoning violence. i grew up in bangladesh, and i came here as a stranger. but for the past 12 years, i have been building community to this restaurant and the
interfaith crime and justice movement. the death of george floyd is traumatic for all of us, but we have been in the countryside helping with medics, providing food. as scary and hard as it is, but a building can be rebuilt. but a human life cannot. so my daughter, she heard over the phone, i was talking to a friend. i said it, and then she posted it on facebook, and it went viral. it's very -- but this is like i say it from my heart. i say it come out from my heart, and i believe like this is how we have to make the change being the difference to the world and let people know, you know. some sacrifice happened, but this is for a good reason.
>> and let me ask you, hafsa, at your young age, you're living through a pretty nightmarish time when kids your age are not being able to graduate high school properly because of the covid outbreak, when young people of color and people of color in general are suffering more in the covid outbreak, and now this. this death that young people are having to experience when they shouldn't have to think about death. what made you post what your dad said online, and what did your friends think of it? >> well, i woke up this morning angry because, you know, this is my dad's life's work that went up in flames. i've always been for the black lives matter movement and all that, but i was angry because this is our only source of until. this is how we sustain
ourselves. but then when i heard my dad say that, it brought like peace to me. like it made -- it calmed me down because it reminded me that, you know, this is what we are here for. we are here to seek justice for the people who have been facing injustices for so long. it's about time that this kind of change starts to happen. if this didn't happen, then we wouldn't have had things like the officer who murdered george floyd being charged. that's history in the making, you know? and it's just all about change right now. and, you know, my friends are all messaging me, giving me -- letting me know, i hope you guys are safe, things like that. and they're, you know, supporting us and all that good stuff. >> well, ruhel, and hafsa islam, you're both heroes. thank you for sharing your story with us, taking the time to stay up with us tonight. thank you so much and all the best to your family. >> thank you.
>> thank you, joy. >> thank you so much. joining us now is alicia garza. in 2013, she co-founded black lives matter. she's an important voice in this discussion about systemic police violence against african-americans in this country and what we can and should be doing to fight back against it. alicia, you know, let's talk about this. i think that this wonderful family, ruhel islam and his daughter, i think have exemplified the sort of core point. that a building can be rebuilt and insurance can be called in, and it can be okay. but a life cannot be rebuilt. that's such a beautiful sentiment. can you just talk a little bit about from the activist point of view -- and even i misspoke earlier, you know, when people talk about riots. this is an uprising, and that's what it is, and you, i know, understand that's what it is. how should we be thinking about it and talking about it? >> well, you know, one, i think that it's so important to hear
statements of solidarity in that way because it really does contextualize the anger that is spreading across this country. to be very, very clear, what is important for us to be focused on right now is why justice has not been served not only in this case, but in the case of so many black people who have been killed at the hands of police or at the hands of vigilantes. time and time again what we find is that black communities are told to wait and follow the process. but what we don't seem to ever acknowledge is that the rules are rigged against black communities ever receiving justice. there are too many rules that protect law enforcement when they kill extrajudicially. there are too many rules that uphold the rights of law enforcement at the expense of the families who have an empty seat at their dinner table. and frankly, you know, when we look at what's happening in
places like minneapolis, when we look at what's happened in places like oakland, you know, too many times it takes too long for any accountability to come to fruition. and so in the meantime, people are told just to wait, and i think what you're seeing across the country is that people are saying, we cannot wait, and we will not wait for our communities to be safe. our communities are in a state of emergency. and the fact of the matter is it's been too long that we have waited for justice for the families of people like george floyd, for the families of people like oscar grant, for the families of people like so many of the names that we now know like a litany. and at the end of the day, it's really a question of political will. this isn't just a question of letting the process play out. the process itself does not allow for justice to be served. it does not allow for
accountability for these families who are losing their loved ones, and it does not allow for black communities to be safe and to live dignified lives. >> you know, alicia, i think about, you know -- and that is so profound and a lot to take in. but i think about two things. one, the fact that you have these mainly young people out here doing the opposite of what they would need to do to be safe from covid, right? so they're out congregating in very close ranks, and one wonders whether two weeks from now we will hear about hot spots around the country that are then born out of this. that's one piece of it. and the second part of it is that when you look at these crowds, these crowds are very multi-racial. and you think about the black lives matter movement and the way that police interacted with it, the tanks, the military equipment. and even though there have been some, you know, police that have stepped way out of line in the way they've treated these protesters, how different do you think that this winds up looking
when we look at it, you know, on our tv screens because this is not a predominantly or, you know, sort of overwhelmingly black group of protesters? >> sure. well, i can just say that, you know, for the last couple of weeks, i have been watching white militia show up at state legislatures without masks, armed with guns, armed with bulletproof vests, demanding their right to get haircuts. meanwhile, you have a multi-racial crowd of people who are showing up in the streets, and they are saying that they are risking their lives in pursuit of justice. and that is a really important distinction for people to make. i also know that, you know, in the case of some of the protests that i've seen in places like michigan, you know, we have a president who essentially said that police should stand down. but when it comes to folks who
have taken the streets demanding justice and demanding accountability for people like george floyd, the president gets on twitter and literally incites violence. and so i think it's important for us to understand that there are risks that people are willing to take in order to move the political needle in this country and to generate the political will to advance an agenda of justice. and at the same time, i think it's important for us to distinguish the difference between protests that are here to basically advance demands around law enforcement, around policing, around the sanctity of black lives and protests that ostensibly are talking about, you know, wanting to reopen the economy but really are testing the bounds of what this president and what this administration will allow in relationship to a whole other agenda. so that's one point.
>> yeah. >> i think it's also important just to say that, you know, a lot of the people that i have seen out in the streets and literally a few blocks from my house, there are flash grenades. there is tear gas wafting through the air. >> yeah. >> i can say that, you know, the risks that people are willing to take in order to demand accountability is also completely preventable in the same way that this pandemic and the impacts of this pandemic were preventable. you know, had we really pushed and said, you know, there can be no other movement besides making sure that this police officer and these police officers that we saw in broad daylight, on camera, who stood on a man's neck and murdered him, stood on his neck for eight straight minutes -- >> yeah. >> -- we cannot wait for justice. that is something that we would hope that our country's leadership would be advancing. and yet again we are being told over and over again that we have
to wait. and that is something for us to pay attention to. the people who are taking risks right now are doing so for their lives, and they're doing so for the lives of our families and our communities. and that is very different than risking your life for a haircut. >> yeah, indeed. alicia garza, co-founder of the black lives matter movement, thank you so p for staying up with you. truly appreciate you. i want to now bring in congresswoman barbara lee, who has represented the 13th district. thank you for being with us, congresswoman. hopefully you were able to hear alicia. the buildup of pain that we are seeing in these communities is not just about one death. it's about so many. can you just talk a little bit about legislatively, as you as a legislator, what are you thinking needs to be done to change this reality? >> first, joy, let me thank you
so much for your voice, for having voices on such as alicia to really speak the truth. being black in america should not be a death sentence, and it is. and as you said, this didn't just start. this is generational, actually 400 years of slavery, and all of the issues that we know emanated from the middle passage. and that's the honest to god truth. what we have to do now is first of all my condolences to mr. floyd's family and community and friends. this is a murder that should never have taken place. secondly, we have to fight and i'm very proud of what the congressional black caucus is doing and will continue to do. members on the judiciary committee fighting for legislation for more police accountability and transparency and more more for the criminal justice system to become a just system because no person is above the law. and, joy, you see and we've
known as an african-american for generations that police misconduct and brutality and murders have been allowed. and so we have to fight to reform our laws, and for some we have to dismantle these laws. listen, as a mother of two sons, two phenomenal sons and two grandsons, i had these conversations about worrying about being shot in the '70s. and so this now is 2020, and it's got to stop. enough is enough. so we have to work legislatively, but i have to tell you what we have to do at the protests and all of the act victim h vis many because that's the only way elected officials are going to respond is when the country and the people say enough is enough. this is it. no more murders at the hands of law enforcement. >> indeed. very quickly before we let you
go, what do you think of the president's response to all of this? >> well, this president really is not worthy of the office first of all. by really announcing that it's okay to shoot, you know, to me is despicable. he is inciting violence, and i hope that those who are out in the streets protesting remember november and remember we have elections and remember that we must make sure that he is never, ever re-elected again because we've had enough of this, and we have got to turn this country around. we've got to move forward. we cannot go back to normal, and with donald trump in the white house now as quote, the commander in chief, as president of this country has never shown any leadership. and in this moment, he has taken one side once again and saying that it's okay to shoot people who are out protesting.
angry, yes. sad, yes. but exercising what needs to happen in terms of making sure that the voices of people are heard throughout the country. and he has got to be held accountable himself for a lot of what has taken place under his watch. it's just outrageous. and so we have a pandemic upon a pandemic, and this president has been the leader of this country that has allowed black and brown people to disproportionately die from covid-19 and to also continue to incite the violence that is taking place through unnecessary disregard for black believes. black lives do matter, and this president has no idea or no clue, and i don't believe he cares about black lives at all. >> california congresswoman barbara lee, thank you so much for speaking with us tonight, staying up with us. really, really appreciate it.
>> joy, can i just mention one thing. the black panther party many, many years ago understood what police brutality was and really stood down and was criticized in many ways. but i think now we see exactly what this is all about. so this has been years and years and years and generations of police misconduct that unfortunately we're going to have to deal with right now in 2020 as we did in the '60s and the '70s. >> indeed. and one will remember reading the history that one of the things that the black panther party advocated was watching the police, keeping an eye on them. >> absolutely. >> you've seen a 17-year-old girl be the hero in this moment, who refused to walk away and watched and made sure that what happened to george floyd didn't happen in secret. so thank you so much, congresswoman. really appreciate it. >> thank you again, joy. thank you. >> of course. thank you. and our live coverage continues in just a moment. i will see you in just a few
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