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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  July 13, 2013 7:00am-9:01am PDT

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this morning, my question. what is your best campaign slogan for eliot spitzer? keep it clean. plus, most makes a very kind of viral video. and the hottest director in hollywood joins us live. but first, batten down the hatches, there's a verdict coming. and we all know what that must mean. race riots is! up to 24 days at trial, 12 days of testimony, and 56 total witnesses, the trial that has consumed the nation has gone to
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the jury. the deliberation process is now in its second day and six women will decide the fate of george zimmerman. they are tasked with making the ultimate decision over whether george zimmerman is guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter, or if he is to be acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old trayvon martin, to which he has pled not guilty. so, while most of us anxiously await the verdict, there are others who have already decided what the end result will be. not what the verdict, so much, but in its wake. >> first of all, my client will never be safe, because there are a percentage of the population who are angry, they're upset, and they may well take it out on him. he'll never be safe. >> mark furman, how on guard must they be? >> well, i suppose that they're going to prepare, as they would for anything that's gone sideways like this, i just think it's kind of pathetic that a court of law cannot be in a vacuum of the legal system without the influence of the
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public threatening to do great bodily harm to people and property. >> oh, yes, the fearmongering has begun in earnest. and it's not just the media raising concerns about post-verdict reactions. the broward county sheriff's department in florida put out a video on monday to show you how you should calm yourself down if you feel some kind of way about the verdict and you suddenly feel the need to riot. >> raise your voice -- >> and not your hands! >> we need to stand together as one. no cuss, no guns. >> let's give violence a rest, because we can easily end up arrested! >> i know your patience can be tested -- >> but law enforcement has your back. >> even the seminole county sheriff got in on the riot act yesterday. >> we will not tolerate anyone who uses this verdict as an excuse to violate the law. >> so, if you're african-american, get your riot gear ready, because apparently
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if george zimmerman is found not guilty, clearly, you will automatically want to riot, because apparently that's what we do when things don't go our way. isn't that what happened in 1992? for six days, los angeles rioted because the four officers who were tried in the 1991 beating of rodney king were acquitted. the l.a. riots resulted in 50 deaths is and more than $1 billion in damage. and history has always viewed them through the prism of racial frustration boiling over. but the problematic language comes when the word "race" is attached to the word "riot." and it automatically assigns a violent outcome as to what otherwise might be understood as simply an uprising for justice. and it's actually not the l.a. riots or even the detroit riot in the 1967. think here of the tulsa race riot of 1921, when a mob of armed white men charged into a
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black neighborhood, left an estimated 300 people dead and 8,000 homeless. or think of the rosewood riot of 1923, in which hundreds of angry white rioters killed an unknown number of black victims and left the town destroyed. the actual history is that the majority of perpetrators of race riots in this country have not been black on white, but rather, white on black. so when there's fearmongering of race riots over a possible acquittal in george zimmerman's trial, it reinforces what he is alleged to have done, profile trayvon martin. you see, it misses the most important point of all, that, in fact, protest does matter in a democracy. the fact is that george zimmerman might not even be on trial if there had not been initial protests from the million hoodie march in the streets of new york city, to the 3,000 miles away in los angeles, where everyday people gathered to show their desire for some kind of justice, some kind of accountability in the shooting of trayvon martin.
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these are not riots, but people taking on a system that they feel has silenced them and shut them out, and that condones the killing of unarmed black children. so if people take to the streets after the verdict, don't rush to judgment that there's going to be violence. what we can be sure of is that the focus will be the same thing as it was in the beginning, justice for trayvon martin. at the table, michael skolnick, editor in chief of michael is also a founding board member of the trayvon martin foundation and an adviser to the martin family. maya wiley, founder and president of the center for social inclusion. ora begotto, news editor at color lines. and toure, co-host of msnbc's "the cycle." thank you for all joining us. michael, i brought up the history of race riots, not because my goal was to say, oh, i think it will be white folks that will take to the streets and riot against black folks, but rather that the asymmetry of
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who is violence and who appears to be dangerous feels like it's at the very core of the entire george zimmerman trial. >> that was a powerful opening and thank you for that. it's been a remarkable 16 months and a tragic 16 months, to stand with this family who has been nothing but graceful and dignified in their fight for justice for their child has been an honor and a privilege. the only person that has been violent in 16 months is george zimmerman, when you put a bullet through the heart of an unarmed 17-year-old. we have marched, we have rallied, we have petitioned, and not one arrest, not one act of violence. i have marched, white people, black people, latinos, asians, gays, straight, doesn't matter. muslims, jews and christians. not just because george zimmerman profiled trayvon
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martin and killed him, but also for 45 days, there was no arrest. we have to put that into context. what happened in l.a. was not just about rodney king, that was the boiling point. so as we move forward, no one in this family, no one who supported trayvon martin has called for any such thing, and for any media member to go out there and fan the flames. shame on them. >> i see you sitting here in your hoodie, which has been for so many of us engaged in this case, it's been a sign of solidarity, and yet it also has been read, in this same media, as a sign of racism with the language that was used when -- when it was chris rock, wasn't it, who wore the trayvon martin sweatshirt -- >> jamie foxx. >> oh, no, i'm sorry. it was jamie foxx. how do we move to a place where whatever this verdict is, we do not lose sight of the fundamental issues of the criminalization and profiling of black men that's going on here?
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>> you know, i think it's really important to start naming what this is masking, right? all of these -- all this talk about race riots is really masking this generalized white anxiety about black bodies on the street being joined by white bodies, by latino bodies, by native folks, by asian folks, coming out in solidarity for what they feel is just. and we heard that really echoed in the defense's closing argument yesterday. >> yeah. >> where, you know, mark o'mara, the defense attorney paused for four minutes, and made everyone wonder, what was trayvon martin doing for those four minutes? why didn't he walk home? god forbid that a black child can be free and walk around for four minutes or 40 minutes or 40 days, if he wants to, frankly. right? >> right. >> and i think, again, there was a sort of extension of this idea, this crazy idea of the black body as a weapon, when he, you know, pulled into the jury room with this huge piece of concrete, and said, he was armed
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with a piece of sidewalk. something he can't even actually pick up, right? >> we have got to talk about this. this moment, where he comes in, carrying this piece of sidewalk, and the discourse that we have heard, repeatedly, that trayvon martin was armed with sidewalk. i keep thinking, this is great. because we now no longer need a second amendment. right, you don't really need guns. as long as you pave all the streets and make sure there are sidewalks, and everyone is equally armed. that is really about this notion that the public -- literally saying, public space and infrastructure in the hands of an african-american youth constitutes a weapon. >> there is something that police officers and college students have in common. and that is that they are more likely to shoot a black man with a wallet than a white man with a gun. and that's what the research tells us. that -- >> it's the implicit attitude --
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>> it's the implicit attitudes test. and what that tells us, it creates shooter bias. so on one level, we say -- and there are two elements to this. one is stereotypes, which we're talking about, right? the stereotype of the black kid with a hoodie means he must be dangerous, he must be a criminal. oh, and i don't know him and he does not live here. the stranger phenomenon. but the second is that we don't -- we are generally afraid of bad things happening. because what the science shows, and george zimmerman has actually expressed this, both of these elements, when he has described what happened. he was generally afraid of crime, and we know he called the police 46 times over a period of six years, always reporting a black man in his neighborhood. >> so this point is a useful one, toure. when you bring up the implicit attitudes test, the implicit attitudes test do not show open racism. they don't demonstrate that someone uses the "n" word or
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walks around having stereotypes. they show these very deeply ingrained beliefs that folks have in momentary decision making, which is more important in shooting, and less important in shooting. we don't vote in a nanosecond, but police do make a decision about shooting in a nanosecond. so how, toure, are we to read whatever this outcome is? whether it's second-degree, whether it's manslaughter, or whether it's an acquittal, should we read about this, or it is a reflection of what these six women on the jury are having in their own -- >> we're going to have to, the jury really, later on, when the documentaries come out and when the books come out to really know the answer to that question. i'm wondering if this will be five mothers is and a non-mother who say what john guy said, that this is a mother and a child's worst fear, of being followed as you're coming home from school, or will it be five women and another woman, who i believe is hispanic saying, like, wow, a
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black man in the dark is very scary. and just because you're hispanic doesn't mean you're not going to be afraid of a black man in the dark. this is what you're talking about with this implicit bias. seeing a gun in the hands of a man who is not armed. this has all been acutely painful, because once again, we see the fear that flows from a black male body, even when you're doing nothing, and to perhaps coin a word, the killability that flows from that, we can kill these men, and face no penalty because of that. and throughout this moment, we see a movie about oscar grant, which we're going to talk about later. we see iona jones' case has come and gone with minimal penalty there. obviously not a black male there, but like a black body that can be killed with no penalty. that's the thing that makes us feel so worthless and makes it so painful. >> and it makes you feel like rioting, not because -- it makes you feel like, i want to throw a brick at something. not necessarily at property. i'm not making a claim that we should go and riot, but it does give you this sense of, like, if i go through the courts and do
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it all right, then what's next? we'll talk more about this as soon as we get back. those out there who believe in fearmongering, apparently, the revelation will be tweeted. yes, a bloody revolution in 140 characters or not. it's not a real break, see. ♪ [ male announcer ] fight pepperoni heartburn and pepperoni breath fast with tums freshers. concentrated relief that goes to work in seconds and freshens breath. tums freshers. ♪ tum...tum...tum...tum... tums! ♪ fast heartburn relief and minty fresh breath. tums freshers. ♪ tum...tum...tum...tum... tums! ♪ "stubborn love" by the lumineers did you i did. email? so what did you think of the house? did you see the school ratings? oh, you're right. hey babe, i got to go. bye daddy! have a good day at school, ok? ...but what about when my parents visit?
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even before george zimmerman's trial ended, conservative fearmongers were hard at swowork stoking the rac riot embers. alex jones was quick to isolate 21 violent and racially charged peaks, what the african-american community could do as a whole in the event there's not a guilty verdict. tweets like, trayvon martin
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needs justice, give me the pistol, i'll kill zimmerman myself. or, if zimmerman win, i'm going to go kill a white kid by mistake. to jones, the handful of 140 character social media events is proof that, quote, there is the possibility of mob violence and riots with no shortage of violent thugs willing to participate. that's a big part of the problem. there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. these tweets are wrong, but it's not a desire to riot that fueled these tweets, but rather a sense that justice will once again be denied. so, toure, i want to ask you about that. there's a lovely piece on by jermaine lee, who's been reporting on this from the beginning, in which he talks about the neighborhood, 13th street, goldsboro neighborhood, right there in sanford, where people are beginning to be waiting together to hear what the verdict is. and it gives such a sense that whatever people's emotions are going to be here, it's not just about zimmerman and martin, it's about this long-standing sense
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of injustice in this community. >> well, i mean, obviously, the expectation for riots are nationwide, that we might rip up, you know, 30 rock, and l.a. -- >> just a crow bar away -- >> we need to take the crowbar away from you. and i appreciate that prop that you're doing, but you're doing laughing to keep from crying, right? there's this expectation of violence from us, which goes back to slavery, that we must keep them under control in any way possible, they are three fifths of a human, they are animals, they might explode in violence at any moment. and as your friend points out to me, violence in terms of riots have been used against the plaque community far more often throughout history than we have used it. so this idea that we're just going to explode if we don't get this verdict, that many of us don't expect to go our is absurd and ahistorical and insulting. and this is racism. this expectation of violence. and this is what george zimmerman applied to trayvon martin in the dark.
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well, he sure will be violent. he is planning violence. he's a burglar, he's going to get us. i must stop him. and here, o'reilly and these other lunatics come in to say, all of you are the same. >> and that sense of the vulnerability of -- because what that makes me think is, okay, i want all of my black male loved ones to stay inside after the verdict. not so much because i think they're going to riot, but because if there's this expectation laid across us out there, they become vulnerable in public space, in just the same ways that trayvon martin was vulnerable walking home. but, of course, my first thought is, let me keep my brothers and sons and nephews and husband inside, and i wonder why we don't necessarily have these same reactions when we think about the vulnerability of women of color's body. on this show, we have talked about cc mcdonald, who was a victim of both racial and anti-transviolence. we've talked about melissa alexander, who got 20 years for shooting a ceiling. >> she was standing her ground! >> she was standing her
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ground -- >> in her house. >> is there a reason, do you think, we tend to not sort of take on women victims in the same way. >> that's interesting, because you bring up gender, and this case isn't about gender. yet every time we hear the media refer to the jury, it's six women. it's actually five white people and one person of color, right? >> but their race isn't named. >> right. >> i'm going to put my hoodie back up. but i know that when i tweet about this, i consistently say, you know, five out of six jurors are white, and people get back to me, but it's women, it's women, and we'll see how it play plays out. i know yesterday, there was one juror who was apparently wiping a tear from her eye and it happened to be the one juror of color. so we'll see how that plays out. but it's interesting, all of a sudden when it comes to the jury, they're seen as women, and their whiteness is not seen. >> it's the unmarked category. >> and this goes back to what we're talking about, you know, how do our brains -- this is
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your brain on race, right? it's not the frying egg, was it's the -- we only use 2% of our brains consciously. 92% -- 98% is unconscious. what that means in this case, when we're talking about gender is, where white women have experiences, they're assuming their experiences as mothers. but they also have experiences, people who are white, were constantly seeing images of black people in handcuffs, which is actually a very small fraction of the black community, but when you're constantly seeing those images on the news, violent offenders, they are black. what that does is it creates the impression. and remember what the defense did in this case? they called a white woman to talk about the two black men who terrorized her in her home, right? that was to reinforce to white women on that jury that, yes, you need to be afraid, be very afraid. >> what about the witness right
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before her, right? he's got one black witness, and he kept trying to say, he's a friend. no, we're friendly, but not friends. >> and mark o'mara's closing argument, that he fit the description, that he didn't belong there, that, you know, he didn't know who he was, that the four minutes, what was he doing in those four minutes. that it came from the -- all this coded language, he sucker punched him. all this code e ed language tha was using, right? remember, jury, it's a scary young black man. >> and is that just good defense tactics, or is that representative of stoking something uglier? it's one thing whiff a complaint about the media, but is that just like, i'm trying to get my guy off? >> that's his job, right. that's mark o'mara's job. and you're in central florida. you're playing into that. however, however, that has ramifications after the verdict comes out. >> and beyond just that jury. up next, we're going to stay on this topic and we're going to shift a little bit. i want to talk to the critically acclaimed movie director,
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because this film is drawing parallels to the trayvon martin shooting in some just stunning ways. "fruitvale station" comes next. ♪ [ female announcer ] enter a world of clean inside the only 3 chamber laundry detergent. ♪ now, here you go, let it go ♪ 'cause we're gonna go ♪ go to a place that we never, ever know ♪ ♪ ooh, ooh ♪ 'cause it's a bright light ♪ when i look in your eyes ♪ doo-doo-doo-doo-doo doo [ female announcer ] tide pods... three chambers. three times the stain removal power. so that all your clothes pop!
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the new movie about oscar grant is receiving oscar buzz. "fruitvale station," which already won the grand jury prize for dramatic feature and word for dramatic film at the sundance film festival opened yesterday in select features and widely released on july 26th. the film chronicles the last day of oscar grant's life. he was the 22-year-old shot and killed by police in the early morning hours at the fruitvale b.a.r.t. station. >> you, off the train. get moving! >> all right, bro, i hear you! damn, bro! man. you arresting us? you just going to hold us?
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>> that's what i've been saying this whole time. she ain't listening. >> man! >> where your friends at, huh? >> we ain't got no friends. >> we ain't got no friends. >> i don't know what friends you're talking about. >> i see one of those punks right now. >> on the platform. need backup. >> just chill, chill, chill, chill. >> backup. >> sit -- hey! >> sit down! sit down! be cool! be cool! >> as ao scott noted in his "new york times" review of the film, the deaths of oscar grant and trayvon martin aren't mutually exclusive, writing, quote, the incident captured on video by onlookers inside a protest and unrest similar around those that would swirl around the killing of trayvon martin in florida a few years ago later. the writer and director of "fruitvale station" joins me now from los angeles. ryan, i watched this movie last
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night and it is incredibly compelling. tell me twhi this is the story you wanted to tell. >> thanks for your kind words about the film. i wanted to make the film about oscar grant for many reasons. i'm a bay area native myself, i was born and raised there and i was actually there when the incident happened, and in the days following the incident, when the video footage came out, both on the news and in the internet, it struck a chord with everybody in the bay area. me watching the footage myself, i was shocked and went through a wide range of emotions and i couldn't help but to see myself in oscar's situation. he was the same age as me, lacked like me, wore the same kind of clothes i wore, his friends laooked like my friends. i couldn't help but think, what if i didn't make it home to the people i love the most and what if i was killed unnecessarily like that. and i think watching what happened with the trial afterwards, watching how it was
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a push/pull on his character, people wanted to make him out to be a saint, and people on the other side wanted to demonize him and every mistake he ever made in his life. he was a criminal, a thug, and got what he deserved, and that's all he was. and i wanted to get back to that humanity of who he was and the people he meant most to in his personal life. >> ryan, that is the part, that says of your personal investment in it and the humanity of oscar is so clear in this film. and it's, in part, because you take us for the last 24 hours of his life. and kind of all the thing that he's doing, right? on the one hand, managing whether or not hays going to sell drugs, and on the other hand, trying to get a card for his mom. and then one of my favorite parts is when he buys the card for his mom, for his sister, and he's clearly actively messing with his sister. why do it that way? is it to give us that compelling human story? was there some other way you'd imagine telling oscar's narrative? >> for me, it was always about that.
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because i think there are a lot of issues that come with, you know, a lot of people don't get to spend time with characters like oscar. for them, charks like oscar is somebody they see on the news headlines. a young black male killed, a young black male arrested. so many people in america don't have a chance to get a close proximity for people like oscar and people like myself. so i was interested in showing him on this day, when most of his operations on that day were domestic, like everybody human being. we spend most of you are time doing domestic things. spending time with people he loved with and dealing with him in that fashion. >> we just saw an image on the screen ear of his daughter, running up to him, and the girl who plays the daughter is unbelievable. but you also make a decision at the end of the film to end it on oscar grant's still-living actual daughter. why do you want us to see him, ultimately, through her eyes? >> because that's the last piece of him that's left in this world. oscar was killed, he had a 4-year-old daughter at the time,
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who he had a very close relationship with. and that was something that wasn't really talked about in all the political push/pull of the case. a lot of focus went on the settlements and people weren't talking about the fact that this guy had a daughter who was still here. and so often, the ripple effect, the ripple effect exists on people who are still left behind. tatiana grant is a beautiful, smart young lady and has to grow up for the rest of her life without her dead. she has her family, she has her mom, but she's going to feel that scar from this event, from this situation that she had no control over for the rest of her lives. and there's so young african-american males that lose their lives on a daily basis, be it on black on black crime, but it through officer-involved shootings, and i think that ripple effect is what people don't really think about, you know? >> ryan, stay with me for a moment. we'll take a commercial break and i'll bring the panel in. i've got a few more questions to ask you about this extraordinary film, when we get back. softsprings got both, let me show you. right over here.
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kids are like sponges. they soak up everything. especially when it comes to what you say and do. so lead by example and respect others. you won't let prejudice into your home. the more you know. i hear guns outside.
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>> you know, baby, those are just firecrackers. you're safe inside with your cousins. >> what about you, daddy? >> me? baby, i'm going to be fine. >> that's another scene from the new movie, "fruitvale station." i want to bring my panel back into the conversation on the link between oscar grant and trayvon martin, and how some young black men might feel like targets verizon citizens. no way, given the timing of the release of this film, that we'll be able to do anything but compare them. what do we learn from oscar grant's story that connects us with trayvon martin? >> ryan, i saw your movie, i loved it, it is brilliant, it is complexed, it's nuanced. only in wayne lapierre's minds are there good guys and bad people. and he's struggling with the decision to whether or not deal drugs, he makes the decision not
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to do that, and the next moment, he's showing his thuggish side, and how much he loves his mother and his girlfriend and his daughter. and it's so complex, but, of course, he is profiled, as we see, in the little clip that you see, he's on the train, the cop doesn't see him do anything wrong, but you're a black male, i'm rounding up the black men, you come with me. you know, and of course we see this idea that when the cops come and george zimmerman tried to present himself as a law enforcement figure, you have to be so pliant, right? my mother, my father taught me that from being a little kid. you have to be so pliant, yes, sir, no, sir, i'm not doing anything, or you might get killed by accident. i thought it was my taser! >> right, and i wonder if that's part of what happens, if we take away the right to be outraged that your friend is being harassed by the police, the right to have a human reaction to that kind of situation. >> you know, black parents are forced to raise their kids with lessons white parents are not. >> yep. >> all of us have friends who
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have to tell their children, if you see a police officer, it's not, you're in trouble, go to the police officer. if you're in trouble, stop talking, hold still, put your arms up, do not -- so, you're actually walking around every day in fear of people who are supposed to keep you safe, and we know that it's different. now, one thing i think it's important to say here is, we do not have to live this way. one of the things that's so important about understanding that 98% of our brains are operating subconsciously is, we can change it. some of this research on police shooter violence actually shifts when they get the proper training. so, this -- and there's new research going on right now, to demonstrate how to do that. there are police chiefs in this country that are coming together, trying to figure that out. so i think it is important to note, there are changes we can make, and some people are trying, and they need to be supportive. >> ryan, i want to ask you about one last scene in the film.
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one that has been a little bit controversial and polarizing. and that's the scene that you generate, right? a lot of what you are using are from text messages and from phone calls, from records that we know about what oscar did on that last day. but there's a moment when he spends some time with a pit bull. and you sort of make that moment up, right? we don't know whether that existed or not. i got it right away, the way pit bulls are also rolfed, the assumption that pit bulls are always dangerous, that there was a sort of similarity with that to black manhood. but i know that some people feel like it was gratuitous, that you're just trying to make him a guy who likes dogs. >> it was definitely a scene that was multi-layered for us. it was nothing to do with oscar being an animal person or someone who likes animals in person. you hit the nail on the head with one aspect of it, that the pit bull being a dog -- young african-american males gravitate towards that dogs. and many times with pit bulls, when you hear about them in the
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media and hear about them in the news, it's always for being doing something bad, for being a fighting dog. but from people who own these animals, they're some of the best dogs in the world. there's a disparity between what these dogs do in real life and what they're shown doing in the media. same thing with young african-american males. we're shown in the media, for only a very slim percentage for what most of us are really are. there's that connection there. and the dog dies in the street and nobody really cares, life goes on, even for oscar. oscar is forced to leave the dog right there in the street. and so many young african-american males die in the street senselessly. and it seems like people don't really stop, people don't really slow down and watch unless people have an intimate relationship with those individuals. and i think it's a human rights issue that everyone should pay attention to. >> ryan, it's an incredible film. i want everybody to go see it. i want you to go see it with your loved ones and i want you to go see it and take a deep breath. thank you to ryan coogler in los
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angeles, director of "fruitvale station." and michael and toure will stay with us. we'll see you in the next hour. but up next, the video that you have to see. (announcer) at scottrade, our clients trade and invest exactly how they want. with scottrade's online banking, i get one view of my bank and brokerage accounts with one login... to easily move my money when i need to. plus, when i call my local scottrade office, i can talk to someone who knows how i trade. because i don't trade like everybody. i trade like me. i'm with scottrade. (announcer) scottrade. awarded five-stars from smartmoney magazine. what are you guys doing? having some fiber! with new phillips' fiber good gummies. they're fruity delicious! just two gummies have 4 grams of fiber! to help support regularity! i want some... [ woman ] hop on over! [ marge ] fiber the fun way, from phillips'.
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is from walmart? wow! is it really? (laughter) find fresh peaches and all your quality produce. backed by our 100% money back guarantee. walmart. it didn't sound like it would be particularly painful. the word, water boarding. it sounds more like an activity you do during a day at the beach. certainly not torture. well, maybe a little torturish. but much better to think of it as the cia described it, enhanced interrogation technique. and if waterboarding was necessary to get information that was necessary to the security of the country, who could argue with that. it was a compelling argument after 9/11, when the cia was using waterboarding against suspected terrorists and the nation's security was above all else, above international laws condemning human rights abuses, above the united nations's own constitutional mandate, against
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cruel and unusual punishment. an easy sell to the american people given the fresh memory of september 11th. but when the late author and "vanity fair" columnist christopher hitchins voluntarily signed up to find out firsthand what it meant to be waterboarded, he and we got a very clear, indisputable picture of what the practice really is. has hitchins wrote in his column detailing the experience, you may have read by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it simulates the feeling of drowning. this is not the case. you feel that you are drowning because you are drowning. if waterboarding does not constitution torture, then there is no such thing as torture. hitchins was only able to endure it for 18 seconds. but the impact of his experience lasted much longer. in last year's book, "kill or capture," the war on terror and the soul of the obama presidency, author daniel cleedman writes bon viewing hitchins' video, attorney general eric holder was, quote,
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mesmerized and repulsed by what he saw. he went on to launch an inquiry into the united nations interrogation techniques. even though president obama had already banned waterboarding almost immediately after taking office in 2009. on tuesday, james comey, the nominee for fbi director, put a feign point on our country's evolution on waterboarding, during his testimony before the senate judiciary committee and specifically a question from senator leahy. >> do you agree that waterboarding is torture and is illegal? >> yes. >> that easy answer continues to allude us when it comes to the question of how we're currently treating the guantanamo bay detainees who have been on hunger strike since february. force feeding. doesn't sound quite as benign as waterboarding, but still, we're told by our government, necessary, compassionate, even. except, now we know, we got a good lack at exactly what constitutes force feeding, when
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rapper and actor jazine bay accepted an invitation from prisoner rights group reprieve to undergo the same forced feeding reportedly experienced by 45 people at gitmo every day. this week, reprieve produced and launched the video of what happens. the procedure is so graphic that we can't show you it. only show you bay's response afterwards on television. >> stop! that's just me, please stop! i can't do it. >> stop, stop, stop. >> needless to say, bay was forever changed by the experience, whether it will do anything to change the united states' policy towards the detainees at guantanamo bay still remains to be seen. should it? that's next.
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if you've got it, you know how hard it can be to breathe and man, you know how that feels. copd includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. spiriva is a once-daily inhaled copd maintenance treatment that helps open my obstructed airways for a full 24 hours. you know, spiriva helps me breathe easier. spiriva handihaler tiotropium bromide inhalation powder does not replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms. tell your doctor if you have kidney problems, glaucoma, trouble urinating, or an enlarged prostate. these may worsen with spiriva. discuss all medicines you take, even eye drops. stop taking spiriva and seek immediate medical help if your breathing suddenly worsens,
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this week, not one, but two
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federal judges have condemned the treatment of detainees at guantanamo bay. on thursday, the chief judge of the district court ordered the military to end the genital searches of the detainees when they're moved from their cells to meet with attorneys. the judge called the searches religiously and culturally abhorrent to muslims and suggested the searches were intended to deter detainees from meeting with their lawyers. in a separate decision on monday, u.s. district judge gladys kessler responded to requests from a syrian detainee to end the force feeding of up to 45 of the 102 detainees who have been on hunger strike since february. although judge kessler said she'd lack legal jurisdiction to end force feeding at gitmo, she wrote in her ruling that the practice was, quote, painful, humiliating, and degrading and she made a point of noting the one person she says has the power to directly address the issue. president obama. here at the table, glenn martin, formerly incarcerated and now vice president of public affairs at the fortune society.
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victoria law, contributor for "the nation" and author of "resistance behind bars." shane bauer, an investigative journalist, who was imprisoned in iran for 26 months, and ka i kardiz, an attorney who represents some of the gitmo detainees. and in washington, a psychiatrist with physicians for human rights and was at guantanamo bay just a few weeks ago. thank you for joining me. doctor, i'm going to start with you, because watching the video by the artist formerly known as most def, some people have said that he is exaggerating how painful and awful force feeding is. as a physician, is this an accurate representation -- is force feeding painful? is it the sort of thing that would cause a person to cry out? >> some people would. i mean, it really varies.
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over the years, i've passed ng tubes, nasal gastric tubes that are used in the force feeding to many, many patients and their comfort level really depends a lot on, you know, what, you know, what their gag reflex is, and, you know, some people can't tolerate it at all. some people will tell you, stop, i can't do this. others, over time, sort of learn how to do it and can adjust to it. so it varies a lot. and it depends on, you know, what the reasons are. you know, you've got some very sick patients that need to have the tubes passed. >> doctor, is there anything particularly troubling about doing the force feeding on detainees, many of whom are muslim, during the holy period of ramadan? >> i think it -- absolutely. you know, it violates what these people's -- what their wishes are and it violates their intent
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to express their distress and despair and discouragement at the conditions of their confinement. you know, physicians universally, and this is a position that not only physicians for human rights, but in the world medical association, and now our own american medical association, has very forcefully spoken out. it violates our ethical guidelines as physicians to in fact participate in that. because we are -- we are going against the wishes of the detainee or the patient. >> i want to ask you about this idea of kind of the ethical guidelines. because on the one hand, there's the medical doctors associated with it. our own president has suggested that this goes against the ethical position of the country. i want to listen to the president saying, is this really the kind of country we want to have? let's take a moment. >> today, i once again call on congress to lift the
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restrictions on detainee transfers from gitmo. i have asked -- [ applause ] i have asked the department of defense to designate a cite in the united states where we can hold military commissions. i'm appointing a new senior envoy at the state department and defense department, whose soul responsibility will be to achieve the transfer of detainees to third countries. i am lifting the moratorium on detainee transfers to yemen so we can review them on a case-by-case basis. look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are being held on a hunger strike. is this who we are? is that something our founders foresaw? is that the america we want to leave our children? >> what do you make of these statements? >> you know, i think, again, president obama said the right thing. there was a lot of emotion and power in that. what are we doing?
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we have 166 people detained at guantanamo and 86 have been secured by his administration. what are we doing anymore, what has the situation has become where we are sustaining laf with procedures like you just saw. and for the record, i don't think that is a dramatization. i have sat across from men who have described that to me. i have heard that for years, and i found it completely horrible and very hard to watch. >> very hard to watch. >> but i think the point is, we're still waiting for action to go with president obama's statements. it's been two months since that speech. it's been over five months since the hunger strike started. we haven't seen a intestinal transfer yet, and those need to start happening. and ultimately, you know, as far as force feeding goes, i think judge kessler made an important point in her decision. president obama has the authority to affect policy at guantanamo. he has the authority to affect force feeding policy at guantanamo, and ultimately, he has the authority to do away with the need for force feeding altogether, by beginning to
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transfer people and to close the prison. and that is ultimately what we need to be talking about and what we need to be seeing. >> doctor, in just 30 seconds, tell me this. is it more ethical to allow people to potentially die, because part of what the president has said is, this is -- we can't allow people to die as detainees, so we have to do the force feeding. is that an actual ethical problem, or do we simply not engage in force feeding as a country? >> well, it's really the risk of dying is far down the road. and so right at this point, when these people have refused to eat, because they're expressing their discouragement, it's not an ethical problem. the ethical thing to do by the physicians is to counsel them and work with them and to engage all the parties there to do what has already been expressed. i mean, is to move on. and to locate where they want to
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be, in their homes. >> thank you for joining us, doctor. coming up next, we're going to stay on this issue, and we're going to bring it even closer to home. i want to show you what solitary confinement means, the best i can, here in 30 rock. also, later in the hour, the disgraced politicians who just will not go away. we're going to talk to the king of comeback, former d.c. mayor, marion berry is sitting at my table. plus, my letter of the week, all in the next hour. more nerdland at 11:00. any last requests mr. baldwin?
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do you mind grabbing my phone and opening the capital one purchase eraser?
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i need to redeem some venture miles before my demise. okay. it's easy to erase any recent travel expense i want. just pick that flight right there. mmm hmmm. give it a few taps,'s taken care of. this is pretty easy, and i see it works on hotels too. you bet. now if you like that, press the red button on top. ♪ how did he not see that coming? what's in your wallet? imagine in your world was limited to this. 11 feet, 7 inches long. 7 feet, 7 inches wide. no windows, a bed, a toilet, a sink. unable to move more than about 8 feet in one direction or another. little to no contact with other people all day. the exception, a 90-minute period of time to move into a
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concrete pen for exercise. and then it's back into the tiny box, for days, weeks, months, years, decades, in a space very much like the space -- actually, not like the space -- not with the big, high ceilings, just in the tiny space like the one i'm in now, except no idea when or if the isolation is going to end. those are the dimensions of life for nearly 4,000 people living in long-term isolation, in the security housing units or shus in california's prison system, more commonly known as solitary confinement. those housed in indefinite isolation are left to con tend with the slow, steady erosion of their mental health into depression, psychosis, hallucinations, rage, sequences that led to a lawsuit filed last year by the center for constitutional rights, on behalf of prisoners who spent 10 to 28
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years in isolation at pelican bay, one of the country's first super max facilities, built specifically to house inmates in long-term isolation. on monday, prisoners responded to the policy with a hunger strike that began at pelican bay and spread to two-thirds of california's 3 3 prisons to pus for an end to long-term solitary confinement. at its peak, nearly 30,000 california prisoners joined the protests. yesterday marked day five of the day strike, with more than 12,000 prisoners continuing to forego meals in demand for their rights. one of my guests today has experienced firsthand what it means to live in solitary confinement and what it feels like to be inside a cell at pelican bay prison. >> this cell is one of eight in a pod. at a little over 11 x 7 feet, it's smaller than any i've ever inhabited. >> we're in a shu cell right now. the inmate is outside. this is where he sleeps, and
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another cell mate sleeps up there. it's pretty bleak. >> that was shane bauer, an investigative journalist who visited the shu at pelican bay state prison, as part of an investigative report for "mother jones" magazine. shane was also imprisoned in iran for 26 months and sfepent four of those months locked in solitary confinement. also here, pardiss kebriaei. glenn martin, vice president of public affairs for the fortune society, a nonprofit organization that works to help formerly incarcerated people to reenter our society. and victoria law, author of "resistance wbehind bars," and contributor to "the nation." let me start with you. you write that pelican bay is worse than your experience in iran? >> yeah, i think it's hard to generally compare kind of american prisons and iranian prisons. iranian prisons, you know, people are physically tortured
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and things like that. but specifically dealing with solitary confinement, the cells at pelican bay are smaller than the cells i inhabited. there are no windows in these cells. i have met people at pelican bay who have not seen a tree in 12 years. just the duration of time is really much, much longer in california. my wife, sarah, spent 13 months in solitary confinement in iran. i know of no case of anybody spending a longer period of time in iran in solitary confinement. in california, there's at least people who spent ten years in confinement. there's a man who's been in for 42 years. >> that notion that it can go on for decades, victoria, your writing here is compel, in part because it reminds us that human contact, like even contact with girds, the ability to call your family, all of that goes away. what happens to people's minds, to their emotions in this kind of context? >> for a lot of people, their minds start to deteriorate. a lot of people have reported
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getting agorophobia, because they're unable to live outside of this tiny little 7 x 11 foot box. and when we're talking about security housing units, that's only one form of solitary confinement that california and the united states practices. so in california, there are also women in these security housing units as well. and as you may know, women in prison are often primary caregivers of their children before they go to prison. and when they're in the security housing units, both -- both they and male prisoners in security housing units are not loud to make phone calls. so manage going 10, 15, 20 years without being able to call your loved ones. the only time you're allowed to call your loved ones is when someone dies. >> and in fact, the children, not just you not being able to call, but you, small child, not being able to hear from your parents. >> yes. >> part of the reason why we wanted to do this back to back with the gitmo hunger strikes is this sense of, when we talk about gitmo, people are like, well, i mean, those are
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terrorists. those are people who have done potentially this terrible -- these are, for the most part, american citizens, for the most part, men of color, for the most part, poor people. people who have had drug addictions of various kinds. this is how we treat people in this country, in this -- is there -- does this tell us something about who we are as a country? >> you know, i think the other thing it does, though, for me, gitmo was my first exposure to solitary confinement. and a group us working on gitmo for a long time thought it was an aberration and the exception. and it was only when i started representing a man who is now at a supermax facility, a federal facility, in florence, colorado, the adx prison, and i saw -- i met him and saw the conditions that he was in and i heard from him that i realized the connections, that i started here. there are tens of thousands of people who are held in those very conditions that you were just standing in. and what's happened at guantanamo is really sort of exporting those policies. but it started here. >> we practiced on our own
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people. >> and it is far from an exception. >> glen, every time we do a prison segment, and you've been a guest, you know, several times, every time my executive producer rolls his eyes and says, really? because we lose audience. people actually turn the tv off. and yet, the relatively sensati sensation docu-dramas that we do on "lockup" on this network are extremely highly rated. how can i get nerdland to care that this is happening? that this matters for who we are as a people? >> i think -- you know, i'm glad you're contextualizing it. we're addicted to punishment and addicted to incarceration. and if the country is addicted to incarceration, california is like a heroin addict that just hit the lottery. essentially, you have the majority of their state work is our correctional officers. the correctional officers are
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extremely powerful. you have to understand, there's a national lobby now pushing to sustain these prison systems and to build them, essentially. because they have become part of the economic engine in states like california. >> that strikes me as so important. victoria, this idea that the people who are working there now constitute the majority of those state workers. i just kept thinking, i'm sorry, didn't i just hear a supreme court ruling telling california to shed prisoners? the next thing i know, we've got hunger strikes in this state. >> yes. so the supreme court ruling happened in 2011, that stated extreme overcrowding in california prisons violated the eighth amendment against cruel and unusual punishment. and instead of making plans to release people, california started shifting people around, so now they're transferring people in state prisons to county jails. so they are no longer in the state prison system. earlier this year, they converted the valley state prison for women into a men's prison to shift the men's overcrowded population into their. and subsequently crammed the, roughly a thousand women into the remaining two women state
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prisons, and then opened the smaller women's prison. women who had been transferred from valley state prison for women, who were in the shu in valley state were transferred to the shu at the california institution for women. they were in the shu for determinant sentences, meaning they had an end date for a similar violation, like having too much toilet paper or owning tweezers or, you know, having too many books in their cell. and when they got to the california constitution for women, they were told that because there is no place else to put them in the prison, because it is so overcrowded, they will remain in the prison, in the shu, until they are released. but in the meantime, they have to continue being under all the same restrictions that people in the shu are in. >> and at this point, it could be small things. having too much toilet paper, having too many books. i think that's the other thing in your piece that just stunned me, that people are being put into this for prison infractions, not because they're the murderers, child killers, you know, like that's not what's happening, right?
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it's prison infractions against prison rules, not crimes against society. >> and it's not even that, a lot of the times. a lot of inmates that have indeterminant terms in california have not actually committed rules violations. they're deemed to be gang affiliates. and when you look at the evidence of what is considered, you know, evidence of gang affiliation, it can be quite arbitrary. i've seen possession of academic books about the black panthers used as evidence, "the art of war," journal writings about african-american history that is called afro-centric ideology, is considered to be indicative of gang activity, using words like tio and hermano can indicate gang activity. you don't have to actually hurt somebody. and most of the people that have arbitrary terms are considered associates, not even gang members. >> so if you read my syllabus for afro-am 101, you can end up in a 7 x 11 cell.
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>> if you were teaching that syllabus in prison, it would definitely increase your chances. >> stay right there. i want to talk more about this and push a little more on the particular role of women. and i want to talk to you, glen, about alternatives the for incarceration. what are the other things we can be doing here when we come back? looked nice? soft would be great, but we really just need "kid-proof." softsprings got both, let me show you. right over here. here, feel this. wow, that's nice. wow. the soft carpets have never been this durable. you know i think we'll take it. get kid-friendly toughness and feet-friendly softness, without walking all over your budget. he didn't tell us it would do this. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. right now, get whole-home installation for just 37 bucks.
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hunger striking prisoners and solitary confinement weren't the only reason that the california prison as a system was in the news this week. a new report by the center for investigative reporting found that between 2006 and 2010, doctors with the california department of corrections sterilized nearly 150 female inmates without state approval. and after allegedly coercing the women into undergoing the procedure. according to the report, women
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were signed up for tubal ligation surgery while they were pregnant and prison staff startinged women they deemed most likely to return to prison again after being released. you talked a little bit about some of the particular challenges that women face. this one felt appalling to me. >> yes. it's not a new story, either, so people who have been working around prison issues, particularly around women prison issues, understand that women's reproductive rights are under attack, both outside and then inside prisons, where women are being coerced into sterilization. women are also denied abortions, when they seek abortions, and are told to get a court order, which is a very lengthy process, and it can make it possible to actually get an abortion. and only 18 states is there legislation that prohibits the shackling of women while they are in labor and delivery. shackling is when you handcuff a woman and have a chain that runs down to a belly chain, which is the weight of a bicycle chain,
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and another chain that runs down to their ankles, which are shackled together. so the sterilization of women in prison is on a continuum of attacks on what women are and are not allowed to do with their bodies. and then there's the ereason behind that you are in prison, you are there for an unfit mother, regardless of why you are in prison, and you should not be allowed to reproduce. >> and in the context of everything going on in texas this week, like, reading that news, and i kept thinking, glen, part of what happens when we do these segments is people then write to me and say, what else are we going to do with the criminals? we're going to have to put them in jail, and once you've committed a crime, you are an unfit mother. who cares? and who cares if you go on a hunger strike? what are the reasonable alternatives to incarceration that we have? >> i think part of it is that in many states, the prosecutors are driving the narrative about incarceration and punishment and so on. and if you're a hammer, everything looks like a thal. but the truth is, we do have
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alternatives. and even victims rights groups, if you ask them, what do you want to happen to this person, the first thing they'll say is, i want to make sure this never happens to somebody again. what can we do as an intervention to stop people from reoffending. we have invested heavily, and our prison population is actually down by 20%. we've closed ten prisons in the last ten years, whereas, you look at california and texas, that have really gone in the opposite direction, california has really hung on to punishment as a response to crime and criminal activity, and look at the results they're having now with the folks striking and so on. so, essentially, you invest in alternatives to incarceration, you reduce your mandatory minimum laws, and you find things that can happen in the community that respond to criminal behavior, where you don't diminish public safety. and at the fortune society, for instance, we see hundreds of individuals each year, that are not just facing charges on non-violent crime, but also violent crimes. where we're able to work with them intensively for 6 to 12 months and turn their lives
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around, essentially. which is a win/win. in california, the recidivism rate is 58%. i can't think of any other industry that can have a failure rate of 58% and be continued to allow to operate. >> but isn't that expensive? isn't expensive one-on-one more expensive than locking people up in these tiny cells? >> but whether it's more expensive or not, and most of the people we're talking about on hunger strike are nonviolent offenders. solitary confinement for 22 1/2 to 24 hours a day is torture. and we need to recognize that's torture, just the way that waterboarding and more obvious, blatant forms of physical assault and abuse are torture. >> and we have a constitutional verdict against that. i mean, we are not allowed to torture our prisoners. >> absolutely. and we have clients the our pelican bay case who say every day is an affirmative struggle not to descend into madness.
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i haven't shaken a person's hand in 13 years. and we need to start recognizing that that is just wrong. it is inhumane and is it torture. and it doesn't matter who we're talking about. and that happens to tens of thousands of people in this country every day. >> you write that at points, you'd hoped to be interrogated. that you thought, if i could just be interrogated today, at least i would have someone to speak with. >> yeah. human interaction is fundamental to our own identity, let alone sanity. when you don't have somebody to talk to, you just kind of fall into this abyss where time is your enemy. and you just lose all context, for everything, and it becomes a situation where the most important thing is to have human contact, no matter who it's for. and i wanted to add to your last question, solitary confinement is more expensive -- far more expensive. pelican bay costs $12,000 per inmate more to have them in solitary confinement. and what we have essentially done in the last 30 years, especially in the early to mid-'90s, we've kind of traded rehabilitative programs for this
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punitive, solitary measure. and we see now in this hunger strike, while solitary confinement is at the core, if you look at the demands in each prison, people are calling for the return of educational classes, vocational -- >> adequate food. >> exactly. nutrition, a rise in wages from 13 cents an hour to $1 an hour. a lot of these demands are things that did used to exist in california prison. >> i feel like we had this fight in the 1970s and here we are, having it again. i want to also say, i'm so thrilled to have you at my table, in part, because i was one of the many of millions of people who just wanted you to be home. you're home, it is your birthday, and we're all glad that you are here and that you are continuing to use your voice to advocate for others. thank you to mpardiss, to glen, to victoria, and to shane. and also let me say, i am totally beside myself, because coming up next is former d.c. mayor, marion berry. he's going to talk about, you know, political bad boys on the rebound. i can't believe we booked him.
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i'm so excited. but first, my letter. wonder who it's to. a famous fugitive. and i'm going to tell him where i think he ought to go. [ brent ] now steve's looking pretty good so far. [ herbie ] eh, hold on brent, what's this? mmmm, nice car. there's no doubt, that's definitely gonna throw him off. she's seen it too. oh this could be trouble. [ sentra lock noise ] oh man. gotta think fast, herbie. back pedal, back pedal. [ crowd cheering ] oh, he's down in flames and now the ice-cold shoulder. one last play... no, game over! gps take him to the dog house. [ male announcer ] make a powerful first impression. the all-new nissan sentra. ♪
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her long day of pick ups and drop offs
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begins with arthritis pain... and a choice. take up to 6 tylenol in a day or just 2 aleve for all day relief. all aboard. ♪ espionage, international intrigue, secret government surveillance, bad airport food. the edward snowden saga continued on friday, when the leaker who revealed information about the nsa's surveillance records spoke out from the moscow airport, where he's been holed up for three weeks, to demand that the u.s. stop interfering with his attempts to escape prosecution! >> i did not seek to sell u.s. secrets. i did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. >> which is why my letter this week is to edward snowden. dear ed, it's me, melissa! i hear you're looking for a country. well, wouldn't you know it, i have an idea for you. how about this one? come on back to the usa, ed.
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now, i know you're not super pleased with the government these days, and i feel you. the information you revealed about surveillance raises serious issues about the behaviors of our leaders and how they justify and hide those practices from the public. but here's the thing. it's time to come home and face the consequences of the actions for which you are so proud. now, i know you must feel you've already given up a lot to reveal government secrets, your well-paid job, your life in hawaii, your passport. and maybe your intentions were completely altruistic. it's not that you wanted attention, but that you wanted us, the public, to know just how much information our government has about us. now, that is something to know about. but you are making yourself the story. we could be talking about whether accessing and monitoring citizen information is constitutional. sore whether we should allow a
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secret court to get secret warrants, but we're not. we're talking about you and flight paths between moscow and venezuela and how much of a jerk glen greenwald is. we could at least be talking about whether the mrnobama administration is right that your leak jeopardized national security. but we're not talking about that, we're talking about you. i imagine you'd say, just stop, talk about something else. but here's the problem. even if your initial leak didn't compromise national security, your new cloak and dagger game is having real and tangible geopolitical consequences. so, well, we have to talk about you. i mean, we're talking about how maybe now you're compromising national security by jumping from country to country, causing international incidents and straining u.s. relationships with russia and china. really important relationships. and we're talking about how you praise countries like russia and venezuela for standing against human rights violations and refusing to compromise their principles. seriously, ed, where do you even come up with that?
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what are you thinking? now, i understand you don't want to come back. i mean, to do so would mean giving up your freedom, definitely before a trial and likely for several months or years thereafter. i get it! it's prisons in the u.s. that commit actual human rights violations. we just talked about it. more than 80,000 prisoners are held in solitary confinement, some for years, some indefinitely. despite the fact that solitary's cruel and psychologically damaging. i know those aren't the human rights violations, though, ed, that you were complaining about. but you might have nothing to worry about anyway. because unlike most of the people in solitary confinement, including private bradley manning, on trial for giving data to wikileaks, you have cultivated for yourself a level of celebrity. and that celebrity itself may just act as the protection, another kind of cloak, if you ever find yourself in a u.s. prison, you have made quite a spectacle of yourself, and the obama administration will be very careful about how it treats
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you. unlike how states treat all those other prisoners. so come on home, ed, then, you know, we can talk about something else. sincerely, melissa. with o ur " name your price" tool, people pick a price and we help them find a policy that works for them. huh? also... we've been working on something very special. [ minions gasp, chuckle ] ohhh! ohhh! one day the world... no, the universe will have the pricing power they deserve. mouhahaha! mouhahaha! mouhahaha! ooh-hee-hee-hee! blaaaah! we'll work on it. wah-hah-hah! stopping at nothing to help you save. and then another. and another. and if you do it. and your friends do it. and their friends do it... soon we'll be walking our way to awareness, support
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we thought they were gone. we were sure they were over. but recently, we've seen two political outcasts surge back into relevance, perhaps because of the sex scandals, which initially took them down. maybe that's why america suddenly cares about two local political races in new york city. now, you likely know about fiery former congressman, anthony weiner, he of the unfortunate selfy photos of his private parts. he's now a front-runner along with eliot spitzer, who this week decide d he's running for
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city comptroller. he was the infamous client nine in a prostitution scandal that ended his term as governor. and now ironically, he's up nine points in the latest poll. here's the newest candidate for new york city comptroller on jay leno last night. >> now, let me ask you. i don't say this in a glib way. did anthony weiner and his whole scandal and him running for mayor suddenly make it easier for you? >> no, no. let me be very direct about a tough issue. the public is foregiving in certain circumstances and has been forgiving of people throughout our political history and our civic history. but that doesn't mean the public will be forgiving of me as an individual. it needs to see contrition, it needs to see growth and understanding. and whatever one's record may have been before fall from grace, you need to show that you have changed in some way. >> with us is one of those politicians who have overcome his own fall from grace, former washington, d.c. mayor, marion berry jr., who is currently serving as a city councilman. also with us, our global grind
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editor in chief, michael skolnick, dory clark, author of "reinventing you," and toure, co-host of msnbc's, "the cycle." mr. berry, i have got to start with you on this weiner/spitzer scandals and the comeback. any advice for these guys? >> you should remember, this is different than my situation. the united states government spend $10, $15 million trying to catch me doing something. they went through my trash, they did everything else. they followed me around at night. so mine is one of government prosecution, persecution, and setting me up. but the good news is that the jury, nine black people, wanted to acquit me of all charges, 14 charges, and three people wanted to convict me on all of them. that was the beginning of it. >> but the big jury, the jury that really mattered, was the people who ended up putting you
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back in office. >> what happened was, that gave us a luncheon -- first of all, in the black community, i think we're more forgiving than anybody. because of our spirituality and history of slavery, et cetera. and also, you have to have courage. you can't be fake. you can't say, i'm sorry, and please forgive me, you can't be fake about that. you've got to be real. but you've got to be real before you got there. and marion barry was real before i got there. and so what happens then, we all are going to go through something in life. all of us are going to get knocked down by something. and and the question is when you get up. >> so this is interesting, you laid on some of these questions of like race and spirituality and redemption. but michael, i'm thinking, apparently white folks are feeling pretty forgiving these days too. we had vitter, right? my senator came back, no problem. sanford's come back.
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and now it looks like weiner spitzers are going to win, or at least spitzer is likely. weiner is -- >> he's in the race. >> yes. >> this is wild. >> i know! >> i'm a new yorker. we had giuliani, we have bloomberg. and now we're looking at weiner spitzer?! this whole situation has been -- the whole race, both races have been turned upside down in this city. and certainly, i believe, i believe, that spitzer certainly got in this race, because he saw that weiner's polling numbers were looking pretty good. >> sure. >> absolutely. >> and certainly that's an inspiration for mr. barry here. they both looked at and said, you can come back. you can have nine lives as you have had in politics. >> and certainly with vitter and sanford, who have just done it on the right. i'm wondering, though, is this all post-bill clinton? basically, is this in a certain way bill clinton's fault? not only because there was a sex scandal involved with president clinton, but that there was also an issue of -- i just want to
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listen for a second, because it's such classic political tv. >> i'm going to say this again. i did not have sexual relations with that woman, miss lewinsky. i never told anybody to lie, not a single time, never. these allegations are false. >> no, no, no, they weren't. they were totally true. and so this goes to the various point. people always felt like bubba was so genuine and so -- so even when he comes back and apologizes, it's like, we feel him. is this because post-clinton, you just can't go -- scandal's over. >> i actually think, melissa, ultimately when there's a fall from grace for the politician, the american public is looking for two things the. they're looking for humility and contrition, they're looking for someone who really, truly apologizes. and the second, they're looking
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for people to go away for a while, because they get sick of them. that's why i think eliot spitzer has a better chance than anthony weiner. anthony has just been a year, year and a half. it's not enough time. people are still thinking that, you know, they still feel the sting of it. >> and his last name is funnier. >> it absolutely is. >> yeah, yeah. when you say there's a poll and weiner's doing well in it. oh, there's a weiner pole. and spitzer only becomes funny when it's connected with weiner. >> the clinton connection is really apt for me, because both these politicians are like ll cool j, they need love. and they're coming to the voters for absolution. will you absolve me? will you tell me i'm okay? that you accept me back. the city is the girlfriend that they want to win back. they did wrong, now i come back on bended knee. i will do right again. i won't do that stuff again. please forgive me. >> but part of it is that the girlfriends, or in this case, the wife, didn't initially leave. i wonder how much -- it feels like me that's one important part of this redemption story.
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>> the other problem is, what i said earlier, you have to have been doing things that people appreciated long before. i was a strong -- wait a minute, i was a strong supporter of president clinton. when d.c. gave him 92% of the vote. and also, you have to have a wife that's not out lashing at you and doing this kind of thing. my wife, effy, i was in the room for eight weeks sitting there. she was knitting, but she was strong, she didn't say anything negative me. not like -- >> well, yeah, jenny sanford quickly abandoned mark. and i understand that. >> that's the point i was making. >> and you don't know new york as well as you know d.c., obviously. new yorkers were not feeling governor spitzer at the time his scandal came. i don't think there's any new yorker who could say anything that anthony weiner did for us in the house of representatives that makes us want to return him to public life. >> i'm not a new yorker, but who says this is going to win? i don't know. >> though, i agree with him that spitzer is probably not going to win. i think we agreed on that before
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the show. >> you think spitzer won't win? >> spitzer will not win. >> we have polls -- >> for the comptroller? >> excuse me, i mean weiner. weiner will not win. spitzer has this name recognition advantage. spitzer -- >> i was going to ask, if you think that might be -- sometimes the simplest explanation, and maybe right now spitzer is polling, because it is the comptroller race! when was the last guy running for comptroller on jay leno! >> people don't even know what it does. they don't even know how to spell it. >> you know what it does, it gives you a stepping stone to mayor in 2017. that's what it does. >> but i would agree with you, i think anthony weiner, he's just trying for too much. he went too far. >> mayor! >> go back to city council member, or maybe even try for congress, but mayor? >> that's the humility. climb a little bit. >> after i got six months in prison, sentenced by this racist
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judge, i then ran for the city council. i don't think he needs -- you can't, in my view, and be successful. they've still got to see you and test you and see whether or not you bs'ing or whether or not you're for real. and we did that for two years. >> hold on, i promise, we'll come right back, we'll take a quick commercial break so we can pay for the show. there is more scandal, there's some insanity in virginia politics that i want to talk about as soon as we come back. ♪ don't you
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and what if you didn't know that teen drivers are four times more likely to get into an accident? 'sup the more you know, the better you can plan for what's ahead. talk to farmers and get smarter about your insurance. ♪ we are farmers bum - pa - dum, bum - bum - bum -bum ♪ the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪ columnist ruth marcus writing in "the washington post" this week offered that there are two swift routes to political downfall. one is sex, the other is money. the first is humiliating but survivable. the second tends to be terminal, even criminal. now, you may have noticed that her piece wasn't titled either anthony weiner or eliot spitzer is unfit for office. she mentioned the scandal-plagued virginia
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governor. you know, old transvaginal bob mcdonnell. according to the "washington post" and other papers, mcdonnell, along with his family, accepted expensive baubles, favors, and about $145,000 in straight cash from johnny williams sr., the ceo of a pharmaceutical manufacturer, star scientific. all of this while mcdonnell and his wife took steps to promote the company's products. reports of mcdonnell's gift taking blew up this week. ken cuccinelli, coach watch, the republican who began his investigation last week as attorney general and now the candidate who wants mcdonnell's job may try to distance himself. but he's in deep too. he owned up earlier this week to accepting gifts from williams, including stays at his waterfront party and a catered thanksgiving dinner. dorie, are the money scandals different than the sex scandals? >> i think they are. i think this is the greatest gift possible for terry mcauliffe, the democratic
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candidate for governor for the virginia governor. his greatest claim to fame, he's the world class super star fund-raiser, which is not necessarily thought of as the cleanest profession in the world. now he is mr. clean compared to mcdonnell and cuccinelli. >> he put out an, let's take no gifts, and sent it to cuccine i cuccinelli, saying, sign this thing saying there'll be no gifts. >> he's taking the lead role on this. which is fortuitous for him. there are plenty of questions about him and his electric car company, which was not performing very well. he was running on the strength of being a business man. now all of that is off the table. it becomes an ethics race, and it's one that he can win. >> you have to let me ask this. you have to. because, obviously, in the news right now, there is a money scandal surrounding you, right? and so on the one hand, you knew you were talking about the initial scandal, which is definitely about this, you know, from the fbi setup situation, but talk to me about, now, this new scandal, is this the one -- >> there is no ethics scandal.
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we have the most tightest ethics law in america -- >> in d.c. >> yeah. >> and part of it requires you to report money from people who have a contract with d.c. government. i brought it out. i reported this in my report myself. i could have tried to hide it. but i have 31 years of public office, there's been no allegations of me taking government money, no kickbacks or bribes or anything. my character is what got me through and going to get me through this in the sense that i respect my colleagues as they go about looking at me, but there's no scandal there. no scandal. >> and your constituents love you. i was just in d.c. yesterday, and i was talking to a woman who was working for the amtrak, and she was like, oh, you're going to have -- the mayor is going to be on your show. >> mayor for life! mayor for life! >> so, what -- i see you're wearing a free d.c. hat.
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what is it that no matter what, in a way, you're teflon in that city or at least in that ward. >> i'm not teflon, the citizens who have been watching me for 31 years. over 100,000 young people went through my summer program. unprecedented in the nation. and people not elect me because i'm a name, because of how i act or my charisma, but because i have served very well. i rebuilt downtown washington, d.c. when i came to washington, 65 downtown was a sleepy southern town. now washingtonians are -- >> so you feel like there's this legitimate connection. and toure -- >> same thing with president clinton. president clinton had done it. on the other hand, if you look at spitz, who's governor, ran on an ethics platform, it's a hypocrisy that goes with it. >> well, yeah, the illegality doesn't kill you, the hypocrisy does kill you. >> and it feels to me, toure, like this argument is one that i often also heard in chicago about the daily, for example, and people would say to me, well, maybe they're dirty, but
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they're dirty for the people. you know, whatever's going on, they're bringing -- it does make me wonder if part of it is that we have just decided, we just don't expect our public officials to be fully honest or completely -- like, we're just comfortable with it, in a particular way. is that any part of what's going on here? >> i think there's something to that, that we have a very low expectation of politicians in this country. but if they pave the roads, if they give us city parks, give us city bikes, give us things that we can tangibly hold on to and know, we're going to vote for them again. that's what we really want. you know, i'm so -- i'm dying right now to get a piece of tape, right? we can play it on 2016. in other states, they say, what happens in the break, stays in the break. oh, i knocked the apple cart down. i want a piece of tape! >> i'll tell you what, you can come back and we will have -- you can come back and we will have this fight. no, i'm going to tell -- i'm going to tell nerdland, what happened in the break was that toure said to me that hillary
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clinton was going to be president of the united states in 2016, and i said, hillary clinton ain't going to be president of nothing. but we can totally have that fight, we can totally have that fight when we come back. and marion wabarry is down for hillary clinton too. >> i can't wait! >> i have lost total control, because toure and marion barry are at my table. thank you, guys. up next, god help us, the man fixing a problem that the politicians can't or won't. speaking of keeping your roads paved, well, our foot soldier of the week is coming up next.
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meet the 5-passenger ford c-mc-max one. c-max two. that's a super fuel- efficient hybrid for me. and a long range plug-in hybrid for you. now, let's review. introducing the ford c-max hybrid and the ford c-max energi plug-in hybrid.
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you know, the olded adage, you want something done, you have to do it yourself. this week's food soldier took that saying to heart and to the streets, literally. check out the screen behind me. it's a sight we're all familiar with. potholes. well, our foot soldier decided he'd had enough of the
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problematic pavement predicaments. ron chaney is a t-shirt designer in jackson, mississippi. and on memorial day, ron and his girlfriend were driving to a holiday breakfast, but before they could eat, they were already fed up, because of how bumpy jackson's potholes made the ride. ron found himself not for the first time complaining about these potholes, and that's when the couple saw an inspiration in the form of a bumper sticker on a van, which read, "quit bitching and start a revolution." that was all the push "tron" needed. armed with a shovel, a push broom, he decided to get to work. he knew of a large mound of asphalt, so as a taxpayer and business owner, ron felt it within his right to repurpose that asphalt. not for his personal use or gain, but for the benefit of all jacksonians. he took the streets to fill potholes. he and his girlfriend quickly developed a system, which they
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got down to 10 seconds per pothole. he poured, she smoothed. as a designer, ron decided to add some artistic flair and a message to each pothole he fixed. he added small paints and with spray paint left a message, citizen fixed. that first day they filled 12 potholes, but ron used his next free day to fill up even more potholes. neighbors and social media quickly took notice and many people thanked him. without a proper sealant, ron knows these fixes just temporary. but the reason he labeled the potholes as citizens fixed was to send a message to the local government that the roads can be fixed. along the way, ron set a goal to hit 100 potholes and this past monday, he achieved that very goal. the department of transportation paid him a visit this week, and while they asked him to stop using d.o.t. asphalt, they said
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they're not going to prosecute. if you see a problem within your life, your city or your country, you do have the power to take action and make part of the road just a little bit smoother. for literally filling in the holes that plague our daily lives, ron chaney is our foot soldier of the week. and to read our interview with ron, go check out our website, that's our show for today. thanks to all of you at home for watching. i'll see you tomorrow morning, 10:00 a.m. eastern, and we're going to start with texas. did you hear about tampongate. it would appear that women into the capital of austin were told they could not bring their tampons into the venue, apparently because the only thing that should go into a woman's vagina is the government. more on that tomorrow at 10:00. right now it's time for a preview of "weekends with alex witt," hosted today by richard. hi, richard. >> hey, good day to you, melissa, and good morning. i was following that last story and i'm going to have to stick around tomorrow for that. you have a good rest of the day. >> thanks.
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>> right now we are going to be on hour six of verdict watch for the george zimmerman trial. a live report from the courthouse just ahead. plus, a new book about a mafia informant who allegedly killed or ordered the death of 50 people while working for the fbi. the five-time emmy award winning investigative reporter tells us his story. and nsa leaker edward snowden has not budged from the moscow airport. so will a phone call between president obama and vladimir putin change things around? and place your bets. a royal birth, and putting money on it. don't go anywhere. we'll be right back. soft would e really just need "kid-proof." softsprings got both, let me show you. right over here. here, feel this. wow, that's nice. wow. the soft carpets have never been this durable. you know i think we'll take it. get kid-friendly toughness and feet-friendly softness, without walking all over your budget. he didn't tell us it would do this. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. right now, get whole-home installation for just 37 bucks.
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her long day of pick ups and drop offs begins with arthritis pain... and a choice. take up to 6 tylenol in a day or just 2 aleve for all day relief. all aboard. ♪ waiting for a verdict. the latest from florida in a live report coming up. then in texas, the fight over an abortion bill ends in a dramatic and sweeping way. we'll take you to austin, where it all happened early this morning. then to capitol hill, a fight of
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a different kind over what's called a nuclear option that is already prompting some ugly scenes in the senate. and dog walking, not exactly where you might usually find a pet. several stories above the ground. we'll show you what happened there. it's high noon in the east, 9:00 in the west. i'm richard lui in for alex today. it's day two of jury deliberations in the george zimmerman trial. jurors deliberated for 6 1/2 hours and are just starting their one-hour lunch break right now. the all-female panel is deciding whether to find him guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of manslaughter, or acquit him on all charges. joining me here in new york city is msnbc legal analyst, leas a bloom and msnbc's craig melvin is outside of the courtroom in sanford, for us. craig, have you seen more activity on the ground over the last 24 hours? i know you were saying that you've seen a maximum of three people, at least, up until yesterday.


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