tv The Week With Joshua Johnson MSNBC April 11, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
we'll be right back here next sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern with very big-named guests, i hope. you can catch me weekdays on streaming channel peacock, and now it's time to turn it over to my colleague, joshua johnson. for many of us the george floyd video is hard to take, and so are the details of his death. >> the knee remains on the neck for another 3:27 after he takes his last breath. >> tomorrow the third week of testimony is set to begin in the derek chauvin murder trial. tonight our legal experts will break down last week's pivotal moments including extended exerts from the trial and testimony you may have missed. >> it's not part of our training
and it's not part of our ethics or values. >> what does it mean for the defense? we will consider what we might expect to hear. i am joshua johnson with a special report on the derek chauvin murder trial. welcome to "the week." tomorrow we expect the prosecution to call its 36th witness. this week the state focused on two points, chauvin's use of force and george floyd's medical distress. let's begin with the use of force. multiple law enforcement officials took the stand to testify against derek chauvin and it included his former boss, the minneapolis police chief. >> is it your belief, then, this particular form of restraint -- if that's what we can call it,
it violates the department policy? >> it violates the policy. once mr. floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped. >> chief arradondo was not the only one to verbize this. >> is this an mpd trained neck restraint? >> no, sir. >> has it every been? >> not to my -- that restraint, no, sir. >> say the subject was under control and hand cuffed, would this be authorized? >> i would say no. >> use of force according to policy has to be consistent with our training, and per policy a neck restraint is compressing
one or both sides of the neck using an arm or leg and what we train is using one arm or two arms to do a neck restraint. >> how does this differ? >> i don't know what kind of improvised position that is. so that's not what we train. >> during cross-examination attorney eric nelson raised the idea that the crowd on the sidewalk made it harder for derek chauvin to render medical aid or move his knee. >> this appears to be the bystander watching derek chauvin apply force to floyd? >> yes. >> did you see anybody throw rocks or bottles? >> no. >> did you see anybody physically attack the officers? >> no, i did not. >> did you hear foul language or name calling? >> there was name college, yes, and foul language, but that was about the most of it.
>> did that factor into your analysis? >> no. >> why not? >> because i did not perceive them as being a threat. >> then came the medical experts, the prosecution used them to help prove george floyd died of asphyxia contrary to the official medical examiner's report. >> the primary mechanism was asphyxia or low oxygen, and it basically is -- mr. floyd is in a position because of the sub dual restraint and compression where he was unable to get enough oxygen in to maintain his body functions. >> he then goes unconscious. he will then see in the next section he has what is called an aknoxic seizure, and that means his brain is going without
oxygen, and his legs shake and you can hear the handcuffs shaking and you will see the body cam shake when he has the seizure. >> are the findings on autopsy that suggests low oxygen as a cause of death? >> no, there's nothing on the autopsy that shows low oxygen. >> there's no test that could be done for low oxygen on autopsy? >> no. >> some of the most damning testimony came from a world renowned pulmonal gist. >> on the right image you see his knuckle against the tire. to most people this doesn't look terribly significant, but to a physiologist there is extraordinary significant, because this tells you he has used up his resources and he's now literally trying to breathe with his fingers and knuckles. you can see his eyes, he's
conscious. then you see that he isn't. >> that's the moment the life goes out of his body. when he last takes a breath, the knee remains on his neck another three minutes and 27 seconds, after he takes his last breath, the knee remains after. there's no pulse. the knee remains on the neck another two minutes and 44 seconds after the officers have found themselves that there's no pulse, the knee remains on the neck another two minutes and 44 seconds. >> then on friday the long anticipated testimony from andrew baker, he conducted the autopsy last may. dr. baker doubled down on his assessment that the main factor in floyd's death was law
enforcement restraint. >> he has a heart that already needs more oxygen than a normal heart by his size and it's limit to step up to provide more oxygen because of the narrowing of his coronary arteries. it involves things like being held to the ground and your checkup against the asphalt and an abrasion on your shoulder, those events will cause stress hormones to pour out into your body and it's like adrenaline and it will ask your heart to beat faster and it will ask your body for more oxygen so you can get through that altercation and in my opinion the law enforcement subdual restraint.
>> you didn't mention either fentanyl or meth in there floyd's system, and you mention those but you don't list either of them on the top line of the cause of death? >> other significant things that played a role in the death but didn't directly cause the death, for example, mr. floyd's use of fentanyl did not cause the nick restraint and his heart disease did not cause the sub dual or neck restraint. >> let's start there with dr. baker's testimony. paul butler joins us, an msnbc legal analyst and the author of "choke hold:policing back men," and katie fang and msnbc contributor, and a former u.s. attorney from minnesota.
good to have all of you with us. before we dive in, let me just say that part of what we're going to do tonight is go in fairly clinical detail through the medical evidence sir rounding george floyd's death. i know that i find it hard to contemplate his death in detail, so bare in mind it won't get graphic but it's intensely detailed and can be hard to hear, and with that said, professor butler i wonder if those details factored into the prosecution's case the way they intended? >> i think so joshua. the autopsy does not use the word asphyxia, but so far all of the medical experts except for the medical examiner, dr. baker, have said asphyxia.
so the defense has tried to exploit this, and tell the jurors that if the well-qualified experts can't agree on what killed mr. floyd that is reasonable doubt, and the problem for defense says dr. baker's testimony didn't give them much to work with, and he reinforced what all the other medical experts said, but with his encounter with chauvin george floyd would not have died on that day in 2020. >> let's listen to part of the cross-examination of the medical examer. >> in any death investigation, you are trying to cause the manner of death, correct? >> yes. >> in this particular case you obviously took into consideration the police restraint, right? >> correct. >> you also took into consideration the heart disease, correct? >> yes. >> as well as the toxicology results, agreed?
>> yes. >> and you factored in -- there's the cause and manner of death and then there's the second thing that you left blank, right, and then there's the contributing causes or contributing factors? >> yes. the term of art is other significant conditions what you are getting at, counselor. >> and that's something you have to do for the cdc or did you take those into considerations as contributing to mr. floyd's cause of death? >> so when you put those on a death certificate as a physician what you are saying is i think these played some role in the death, they had a contributing condition, and i am unaware of how the cdc would mandate what is on there. >> if something was significant enough you put it on, and if it's insignificant and didn't
contribute, you leave it off? >> generally, yes. >> so in your opinion both the heart disease as well as the history of hypertension and the drug -- the drugs that were in his system played a role in mr. floyd's death? >> in my opinion, yes. >> so that seems significant for the defense's case they were able to get the medical examiner to point to other pre-existing factors besides derek chauvin's actions contributed to sphroeud george floyd's death. >> there are two critical points to remember, one the autopsy doctor emphasized in his report and on the stand that he did classify this as a homicide. he did not walk back from that. whatever pre-existing health conditions existed they were not a substantial cause of mr. floyd's death here. secondly he reiterated that it
was the police subdual and neck compression that caused floyd's death, and when the defense attorney tried to walk him back on that as he promised he would do in his opening statement, dr. baker stood firm and said the police were responsible for mr. floyd's death. an assertion echoed by every medical expert from whom we have heard during this trial so far. >> the professor makes a valid point, and let's listen to when dr. baker explains that in terms of this being a homicide? >> it's what i put on the death certificate last june, and and that was my top line then and would stay my top line now. >> in terms of manner of death you found then and do you stand by today that the manner of death of mr. floyd was, as you
would call, it homicide? >> yes, i would still classify it as a homicide today. >> how do you see the net affect of all of this, dr. baker reiterating his confidence this was a homicide even with all the other factors? >> well, joshua, we heard early on that the defense was going to rely upon dr. baker and his testimony to buttress their argument that this was not the fault of derek chauvin there by the jury could not possibly find derek chauvin guilty of the crimes for which he has been charged, but by dr. baker standing his ground and telling chauvin's defense counsel this was homicide and he also explained what he had on the death certain. he had the word complicating, joshua, made it confusing for a lot of people, and the nec, he
said in the setting of, meaning george floyd died as a result of cardiopulmonary arrest complicated by derek chauvin and what he did that day. dr. baker facilitated and assisted the prosecution in the fact that the jury instruction that the jury is going to receive and the explanation of the causation, the word to cause is defined in the jury instructions as to be a substantial causal factor in the death of the victim, which is george floyd. it doesn't have to be the only factor. it doesn't have to be the primary factor. but we heard but for derek chauvin's action, george floyd would be alive today.
>> before we cause, katie, the defense's purposes, they didn't is to prove that derek chauvin did not kill george floyd, they have to produce enough doubt to avoid the jury -- it's just about introducing reasonable doubt at this point or beginning to, right? >> yeah, and that's a really important concept. the burden of proof is on the prosecution, to prove all the elements of the crime for which derek chauvin is being charged beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. you know, josh, it only takes one juror to hold out to be able to result in a mistrial or hung jury, right? that's important. the prosecution always has the burden and it's not on the defense to have to prove anything in this case. >> we're off to a good start. i want to talk more about the defense later in the hour. everybody stick around, and we will pause a second and coming up we will get back in the prosecution's case, and how well
were the witnesses able to convince the jury about the lack of oxygen. next, what strategy will the defense take? we'll see what our legal panel expect. some of the stories we're watching a. sixth person died following a deadly shooting rampage in south carolina. he was one of two air-conditioning techs at the home, and he was a father of three. uk prime minister boris johnson will not attend prince philip's funeral. the funeral will be on saturday at st. george's chapel in windsor castle. rutgers will accommodate medical and religious exemptions. more of "the week" with joshua
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brought a number of medical experts to the stand, witness after witness helped layout the prosecution's case that oxygen deprivation or asphyxia killed george floyd. >> mr. floyd died from positional asphyxia, which is a fancy way of saying he died because he had no oxygen left in his body. >> so what we have been referring to is low oxygen?
>> low oxygen is one way. no oxygen. when the body is deprived of oxygen, and in this case from his chest -- pressure on his chest and back, he gradually succumbed to lower and lower levels of oxygen until it was gone and he died. >> the primary mechanism was asphyxia or low oxygen, and it basically is that mr. floyd was in a position because of the restraint and compression where he was unable to get enough oxygen in to maintain his body functions. there's no evidence to suggest he would have died that night except for the interactions with law enforcement. >> in the roughly nine minutes that derek chauvin held his knee in place mr. floyd's body went into distress.
on friday a forensic pathologists testified on what he was experiencing in the last moments of his life. she said such distress would not show up in a medical examiner's report. >> so this physician -- physician logic stress. >> it's a chemical reaction. it's increased heart rate, which, of course, we don't see at autopsy, it's increased chemicals that we don't -- can't test for at autopsy. none of it is anything that can be seen physically. >> the panel is back to discuss, and professor butler let me start with you. why have multiple witnesses testify to basically the same point for the prosecution in terms of how george floyd died? >> mr. chauvin's defense is he
literally did not kill george floyd, so the defense is throwing every cause of death but asphyxia at the jury. maybe it was a meth overdose. maybe it was a heart condition or covid-19, but the experts thus far, joshua, had been united. what killed george floyd were the acts of derek chauvin. >> katie, there was rather intense testimony from dr. phobin talking about floyd's last words. watch. >> you might recall mr. floyd's last words, you know, i can't breathe? >> right. >> are those words significant to you as a pulmonal gist? >> yes, obviously they are important in different ways.
he's complaining to you about difficulty of breathing and they are also telling me at that time when he's saying, please, i can't breathe, and we know at that point he has oxygen in his brain, and, again, it's a perfect example of how it gives you a huge false sense of security because very shortly after that we're going to see that he has a major loss of oxygen in the way that he moves his leg. so it tells you how dangerous is the concept of if you can breathe -- or if you can speak you can breathe. yes, that's true on the surface, but highly misleading. very, very dangerous mantra to have out there. >> katie, talk about the significance of that, particularly him refuting the commonly held notion if you can speak you can breathe? >> really kind of hard for me
to -- i'm actually emotional right now about that. so imagine the import of a world renowned export pulmonalgist -- -- to have the jury hear that those were the literally dying words of a man, and so to have it delivered the way it was even though there was a clinical explanation of it delivered by dr. tobin, the inescapable reality is the video doesn't lie and the video brought the jurors from that courtroom directly to that pavement, directly next to george floyd as he died. that was kind of the marriage between the experts, the medicine, the humanity, the
reality and the gut-wrenching emotionality of the testimony, and those are words that will haunt you and clearly you could see from dr. tobin's face, he's a human, a person, too, and you could tell it affected him the way he delivered it to the jury. >> yeah, i will have to see if there are notes on how the jury reacted. you could tell jury members were reacting, and they started scribbling notes about something or looked away or reacted, and you could tell that certain parts of the trial were affecting them in very specific ways. professor, i wonder what your sense is in terms of how the prosecution dealt with another aspect of george floyd's past that came up in the first week which was his history with drug use, how they dealt with those
with the drug experts. let's look at the testimony. >> drug use, certain drugs can cause hypoxia, agreed? >> yes. >> specifically fentanyl? >> that's correct. >> how about methamphetamine? >> it can. >> you are familiar with the way people die from fentanyl? >> yes, very. >> do they or do they not go into a coma before they die from a fentanyl overdose? >> yes, they would. >> was mr. floyd ever in a coma? >> no. >> just to be clear with the jurors did you see any evidence that mr. floyd died of a meth overdose? >> no, sir, he did not. >> did you see any evidence that he died of a fentanyl overdose? >> no, sir, he did not. >> did you see any evidence putting them together that he died from any kind of overdose? >> no, sir, he did not. >> how does the testimony about drug use factor into the prosecution's case? >> well, the defense is trying
to resuscitate a scary old trope about dangerous african-american men who use drugs and in an attempt to appeal to the jurors' biases and prejudices if they have any, and in this situation you saw every medical expert address that head on by saying we all have underlying health conditions and issues and drug use was not a factor in the cause of death here and drug overdose was not the cause of death. i think one of the most compelling pieces of evidence that came out from this last week was dr. tobin's temp a healthy person, a completely healthy person would not have survived what george floyd was subjected to on that day in minneapolis last year. that was compelling, dramatic and legally significant because it took off the table all the other things that the defense is trying to stir up with alleged
heart disease, alleged sickle cell anemia, alleged drug use and they said any person would not have survived a knee to the neck, 95 pounds of pressure as dr. tobin put it for over nine minutes, and that's to proving the cause of death here. it has not just been murder but torture. >> that was one of the more striking pieces of testimony from this week. everybody stick around, because we want to talk in a moment about another really compelling part of the testimony. that has to do with law enforcement officers testifying against one of their own. how did that help the prosecution and how will the defense handle it? that's just ahead. stay close. the thing about freedom is... freedom has no limits. there's no such thing as too many adventures... or too many unforgettable moments.
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enforcement officers to be convicted of misconduct after a suspect dies, and four minneapolis police officers were called to the stand and eight have testified so far in the trial. chauvin's colleagues have consistency said the restraint he used was not by the book. >> once mr. floyd has stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped. there's -- there's an initial reasonableness in trying to just get him under control in the first few seconds, but once there was no longer any resistance and clearly when mr. floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless to continue to apply that level of force to
a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy, and it's not part of our training and it is certainly not part of our ethics and or values. >> let's get back to georgetown professor, and our guests. i want to start with you, a little zoom out from the trial to the environment in which it's taking place, and the twin cities is still dealing with the future of law enforcement should be there, and there was a shooting today around 2:00 p.m. minneapolis time in the town of brooklyn center, minnesota, northwest of minneapolis. officers say they open fire on a suspect they were trying to stop for a possible warrant
violation. the suspect hit other vehicles after being shot and died at the scene. minnesota's bureau of criminal apprehension says it will look into this incident as well. professor, talk about the environment in which this is happening as police officers testify to their values and the community has to judge that against what they see happen in the street. >> it's important and critical at this time when you look at these statistics in the twin cities, and we have the worse numbers in the city in rates of incarceration, and rates of profiling african-american and hispanic men, and our numbers are the worst in the country and the state has a reputation for being progressive, but progressive for whom? not for people of color.
and in officer-involved cases, the defense attorney went so far as to state in court filings that the african-american man that had been shot by the police left the police no choice but to shoot him and the culture here is somehow the victims are to blame for the police lack of restraint. you saw this week pushback including from the chief, the first african-american to hold a job, and he had to sue that department to address discrimination and he wanted to stress to the community, we care. >> and brooklyn center, that's just outside of minneapolis but will be investigated by the same
state agency that investigated the death of george floyd. >> it's a suburb. >> sorry? >> it's a suburb, so it's considered part of the twin cities area. >> got it. thank you. and what is the impact of having officers and the chief testifying for the prosecution in this case? that alone seems significant, at least to me. >> it's very different. often when officers testify in cases in which police officers are being prosecuted, they appear reluctantly and almost appear to be taking the side of the defense, but in this case we saw officers say emphatically that derek chauvin crossed the line. i think part of what this parade of over ten police officer witnesses did, was the prosecution is trying to send a message to jurors that this case
isn't about policing overall, you can support the police and still vote to convict derek chauvin. jurors are often sympathetic to police officers and these kinds of cases and the prosecution wants the jurors to know that this is not about every police officer, this is about one rotten apple cop. >> katie, we don't have time to play the clip but one of the other witnesses that testified for the prosecution was the minneapolis police department use of force coordinator who basically testified when you are using force the idea is to use the least amount of force necessary to get a suspect under control so they could be detained or arrested and et cetera. how does that fit into the prosecution's case? >> the prosecution is welcoming that kind of testimony, and the lieutenant is the person that trains all of the officers in
the minneapolis police department on the use of force tactics and to hear that suggests that derek chauvin went rogue, right. he received the proper training and education and the on the job experience to know what was the requisite amount of restraint that has to be applied. the other thing is the fluidity, joshua, of the situations, if we have to use the amount of restraint right now, let's reassess as the situation evolves as to whether or not we need to continue to use that amount of restraint and we heard time and time again from various experts including even sergeant jody stiger from the lapd, and this is going to be one man on trial, which is derek chauvin. if he is found guilty, he will be the person found guilty not the entire police department bg found guilty. >> let's pause there, everyone. when we come back, the
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we expect the prosecution to rest its case soon, possibly tomorrow. the defense has yet to announce its witness list. based on defense attorney, eric nelson's opening statement, we have an idea of what arguments they will make. >> the evidence will show when confronted by police mr. floyd put drugs in his mouth in an effort to conceal them from the police. you will see three minneapolis police officers could not overcome the strength of mr. floyd. mr. chauvin stands 5'9", 140 pounds. mr. floyd was 6'3", weighs 223
pounds. you will learn that derek chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do over the course of his 19-year career. the use of force is not attractive but it is a necessary component of policing. let's wrap up with our panel, and katie let me start back with you and another clip from the opening argument. this one involving the crowd that witnessed the encounter last may. >> as the crowd grew in size seemingly so too did their anger. remember, there's more to the scene than just the officer -- what the officers see in front of them. there are people behind them. there are people across the street. there are cars stopping and people yelling. there are -- there's a growing crowd and what officers perceive to be a threat. >> what might they be trying to set up in terms of how the crowd
might act as an exonerating factor for derek chauvin? >> well we heard through the cross-examination by mr. chauvin's counsel that the suggestion that the distraction caused by the bystanders and the other civilians on the sidewalk made it difficult for the officers to do their job and it also created a heightened tension and that is a reason why they had to remain on mr. floyd for as long as they did because they had to make sure that mr. floyd didn't suddenly jump out of his handcuffs and wrestle with the police again and they had to manage the bystanders. here's the bottom line. this defense is getting played over and over by them and it's getting hired and old and you have to be very careful when you are an attorney in front of a jury to insult their intelligence and the reason i say that, the video they have seen not only from the body cam of the officers but from the actual people on the street
using their phones, there are no threats being made by those by standers. there are no rocks being thrown. there's no menacing actions being done by these people so to continue to beat the dead horse is ridiculous and it should have been stopped a long time ago, and i don't think there's a reassessment by the defense, and if they want to go with the medical defense that's once thing, or the use of force, that's another thing, but if you want to talk about the crowd, it's insulting to the intelligence of the jurors. >> talk about the concept of the excited delirium, which is a controversial concept saying people become agitated or distressed after they have used drugs or perhaps during a mental health episode that could play a factor, and the prosecution tried to rebut this argument when questioning the senior
resident on duty at the hennepin county medical center on the night that george floyd died. >> were you able to make any assessments about so-called excited delirium? >> certainly there was no report that the patient was very sweaty, which is often the case when thinking about excited delirium, and there's no report that mr. floyd had ever been extremely agitated. in my experience, seeing a lot of cases of mental health crisis or drug use leading to severe agitated states, that is almost always reported by the paramedics, so the absence of that information was telling in that i didn't have any reason to believe that that was the case. >> briefly, professor butler,
what do you make of excited delirium as a possible defense, briefly? >> excited delirium is used more by defense attorneys than doctors and it's not a diagnosis recognized by any leading medical organization and it's j against african-american bodies and other people of color. it summons up stereotypes of black folks wild out on drugs with super human strengths. you've heard the defense in the opening statement say that mr. floyd was so strong that three officers couldn't contain him. it's dealing the race card from the bottom of the deck. >> and last, professor paulose, can i just ask you, what's the defense, how are folks doing where you are? >> people are anxious, but i think people are also hopeful. it's been helpful to have leaders from across the country,
including reverend sharpton remind us that we're appealing to a higher power in this case and that's what we're hoping for when the jury renders its verdict. >> it's also very helpful to have you with us. paul butler, katie faang and rachel paulose. >> we'll share some of your reactions before we go. share s reactions before we go ♪ limu emu & doug ♪ liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. thank you! hey, hey, no, no limu, no limu! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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all right, before we go, let's revisit our conversation on gun legislation. last night we drafted our own very gun violence package. your reactions were mixed. joshua, you had a good discussion on gun safety legislation with good guests, however, the whole thing broke my heart. americans keep getting murdered and so little changes. infuriating. jeff writes nope. nope. nope. zero forethought on how things work in the real world. how does lending a hunting rifle or shotgun to a friend or family member work? how long can you lend it before you become a felon? what was accomplished? aaron writes, a good start, reasonable, sensible.
unfortunately, like most of the members of senate and congress. and finally, kenneth, aka baruch writes, i want more, but this is a step in the right direction. thanks to everyone who contributed ideas. sit tight n a moment, richard engel reports on the capitol riot. "our house" is next. we are back on the peacock app. download it for free at peacocktv.com. and we're here on fridays saturdays and sundays. to those of you who observe, may you have a blessed and peaceful ramadan. make it a wonderful week. goodnight. it a wonderful week goodnight.
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