tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC July 15, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
it's just -- it's very odd. >> michael grunwald gets tonight's very welcome last word. thank you, michael. >> thanks so much for having me, laurence. >> up next, "hardball" with chris matthews. aftermath. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews out in san francisco. let me start tonight with this. according to the u.s. centers for disease control and prevention, a white person in this country is five times as likely to commit suicide with a gun as to be shot with one. you are more likely to deliberately kill yourself with a firearm than have someone else deliberately shoot and kill you. now pause for this, if you're an african-american in this country you're five times as likely to be shot and killed by someone as to do it to yourself. this explains if you think about this amazing number, and i will
admit it's only part of the differing attitudes out there on the trayvon martin tragedy, it does explain a vital life and death difference about how we look and feel about guns in this country. if you are black in america, you see the horror up close. it's why you may be wondering why your country refuses to take a minimal step to protect them, your kids from people having guns who shouldn't. tonight we're going to talk about the overall reaction to the verdict in the zimmerman murder case. i want to get to what i think are the layers to the case and there are layers all which matter to what's happening today in this country, the emotional aftermath. first, and this is a fact, the historic injustice to blacks in this country at the hands of whites. slavery was a 250-year fact of life on this continent. jim crow was a 100 year fact of life. and what has come since the 1960s is a mix of bad and good that fails to offset all that came before. the results of which continue in
the relations between white and black right up through the trial and its aftermath. it's all part of the context in which we live. second is the combination of facts that create the context of the actual tragedy down there in sanford, florida. this killing of an african-american teenager. this fact that he pursued, mr. zimmerman, a young man, acting like he was a police officer, armed as if he was one. deciding on the guilt of that young man as if he had the rights and duty of a police officer and very well perhaps because he was carrying that gun felt like a police officer. who knows? who knows? well, this combination of history and context are the box in which this case came in. though the jurors were asked to rule what happened when those two men met up with each other. i don't think it's easily possible to ignore the circumstances of history and george zimmerman's behavior up till they met that evening, i don't think he can ignore that. it's not possible to view the public reaction right now to the trial's aftermath, apart from those two factors of history and zimmerman kept bringing a gun
into the situation. white america may have been surprised that the jury's decision way back in the other celebrated murder case, the o.j. case, but they did not see this as part of a historic wrong, some pattern of historic injustice. it's plain as we watch the reaction african-americans see the verdict of saturday night very much in the light of history. let's talk to two great people, joy reid's an msnbc contributor, and eugene robinson is a pulitzer prize winning journalist for "the washington post" and an msnbc political analyst. before i hear from you two sane people of reasonable judgment, i want to show us the context of what's going on in this country, and it's a disgrace. take a look. this isn't a disagree. an editorial in "usa today" characterized the frustration and anger that many feel. quote, this is from an unsigned editorial, the fact remains that zimmerman a neighborhood watch volunteer and cop wanna bill instantly identified martin as a blanking punk who looks like he is up to no good. the fact remains that martin was doing nothing wrong.
he was returning from a snack run at a convenience store heading for the house of his father's girlfriend. african-americans saw the case in the way that the jury of six women, many of them white, probably could not. despite all the nation's progress in burying its racist past, minorities are commonly stopped by authorities or viewed as up to no good for no other reason than the color of their skin. that's the "usa today" editorial. and that comes down somewhere in the middle. let me start with you folks right now. i want to get to some of the crazier stuff, but you're in the next segment. but let's talk about reasonable reaction. is it possible, joy, my friend, is it possible to unlayer this situation from historic injustice going back to the first slave to get here all through jim crow, all the way through the latest police profiling and separate out the fact that zimmerman walked into a situation with a gun and perhaps wan attitude, who knows, that he was some kind of pseudo police officer and he was somehow catching people he thought were the -- profiling or
not from the actual question the jury was asked to answer, what happened when these two people met. who was the aggressor, the who did the defendant feel justified fear of loss of life? can you separate the behavior of mr. zimmerman before the incident came about from the actual question of guilt or innocence which the jury was asked to describe -- to decide? >> chris, i would suggest not. and the reason for that is since the only account that fully explains what happened on that night comes from george zimmerman, and he told a lot of untruths in other areas, a lot of untruths what he was doing that night, even down to whether he was following trayvon martin, his account alone is unreliable. while there may have been reasonable doubt, believing george zimmerman's story that trayvon martin leapt out from the bush, you have to believe that will trayvon would have been scary to you, that he would have been frightening to you. the defense played on that when they showed that will picture of martin with the shirt off and the gold grill in and said this is the person that my client saw
and that whole history and that whole idea of him being not just a regular teenager, but a scary black menace. then the second part of that -- >> you don't accept the testimony or the evidence from the forensic scientist that he did have evidence of serious injury on his back of his head that may have been caused by cement? >> well, his own physician, the person who examined him said they were exaggerated. the medical examiner said there were two small cuts. they may have bled a lot, but they were exaggerated. chris serino said he believed zimmerman exaggerated his injuries. even if they got into a fight. here's the question, chris. >> where did the injuries come from on the back of his head. i'm still trying to separate this case out the way the jury did it. >> i have to idea. they could have been rolling around on the grass, who knows. clearly there was a fight. george zimmerman's total account of having his head slammed to the concrete when they wound up in the grass, his own lawyer admitted maybe he did exaggerate his injuries and they wound up on the grass. in the end, his story was contingent upon the fact that trayvon martin saw the gun and reached for the gun. but putting that aside --
>> you believe that he was guilty of second degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt. if you were a juror, you would have decided that based on the trial? >> i think that they had enough for manslaughter if the prosecutors had done a halfway decent job. i think the prosecutors did a poor job. never established a theory of the case of their own. the same question you're asking, the prosecution should have provided a theory. and i'll provide you with one at least one possible theory. this is it. we never col get people to understand the fear somebody would feel if they are a young black teenage male when they have someone following them. i heard a lot of people white looking at the case and saying he was just following him. what's wrong with that? you know what? it's frightening to be followed. if he turned around and decided to fight someone, an armed man following him -- >> well, he didn't know who was armed, did he? or did he? >> to fight someone following him. the idea of somebody following you and having the right to ask you where you are, there's a history of that in this country. >> what's your theory? in your mind's eye, when you think about what happened, do you have a theory or a visual theory of them somehow getting into a fight and this guy not
really being justified in a sense of fear of bodily harm or death? do you have a sense that that didn't meet the condition? how do you see it? >> getting back to your original question of the idea of african-americans being out of place, i think obviously george zimmerman decided this kid didn't belong here. there was something wrong with him as he said, and he decided to follow him, and he caught up to him. once this person following you gets out of their car and catches up to you, does this kid have now a right to maybe fight him? did he fight him? did he hit him? that's entirely possible. but it gets back to the question of this history in this country. there used to be a time when not only police could ask any black person on the street, what are you doing here? and you had to answer, but when any civilian could do it too. isn't that the emmitt till story? some civilian decides you don't belong here. tell me what you're doing here. because i'm a young black teenager, i have an obligation to answer you? zimmerman had absolutely no authority to ask that kid what he was doing there. >> i know. i'm just trying to recognize -- i'm trying to get to -- let me get to gene's take on this.
how do you put it all together? is it a way to disaggregate the history, the profiling aspect of this, the gun fact from what may have happened or not happened? >> well, that's essentially what the jury was asked to do. the jury was asked to disaggregate the history from what actually happened. i think the justice system failed trayvon martin the night he was killed. by the police did not conduct a proper investigation that night. they didn't arrest zimmerman. you know, a grown man acknowledges i just killed an unarmed 17-year-old kid. they didn't do an investigation. didn't arrest him. they didn't test him for drug or alcohol use. they did a sort of cursory examination for forensic evidence and they barely bothered to look for witnesses. none of that was really done till six weeks later. so i can't blame prosecutors that much for trying to work with what they had. now, the reason the system
failed trayvon martin that night and continually, i believe, is this sort of dehumanization of black young men, of black boys. i mean, he was a 17-year-old, a teenager three weeks past his 17th birthday. i've had a couple of those in my house and whatever they might think they are, they're boys. they're not mature. they're not adult. >> i agree. i agree with the context because they let it drop. the initial reaction we have to remind ourselves, i don't like the governor anyway down there, scott -- what's his name? >> rick scott. >> the way he jumped in and obviously political purpose there. i did think it was kind of cold to put it lightly to have the zimmerman talk to the police and then just drop the matter as if this kid wasn't a human being. >> right. and black boys are not allowed to be boys. they're not allowed to be at the
cusp of manhood and to make the sort of questionable but not fatal, shouldn't be fatal decisions that kids make at that age. yet it just seemed okay to the police and the prosecutors initially until there was a national outcry, and then people look more closely at the case. so if we're going to have a conversation, let's talk about that. let's talk about black boys and how they are seen as men, as full of menace. when they're 17-year-old kids. >> i'm putting you on the spot here. when you watch the trial like i watched maybe two-thirds half the time, i had other things to do, like the news, but i was watching a lot of it with interest. i thought the jury was on its way to acquittal. i wasn't sure about the manslaughter. i thought it might have been a hung jury. i think i'm with joy on that. i'm not sure where that would have gone. i didn't think the prosecution was competent. i didn't think they had the evidence. maybe they could have had it. maybe a genius prosecutor could have done it. they weren't geniuses. go ahead. your thoughts.
>> i think the chance of the state developing a sort of dispassionate account of what happened that night different from zimmerman's account, an account that would stand up to zimmerman's account frankly was probably lost in the weeks between when the killing took place and when the investigation started. and i think the prosecution was left with a bunch of facts and they poked a lot of holes into zimmerman's story. so it's not as if they didn't impeach his story. >> yes. >> but i'm not sure it was possible for them to develop a much more coherent narrative because the information simply wasn't there. >> that's my question. >> after that lapse of time. >> joy, last thought to you. quickly, why didn't they try to present a movie in our minds of what happened favorable to the prosecution? >> and i think that that's the point. you were asking all of those questions at the beginning.
those are the questions a lot of jurors were probably asking, too. even down to conceding who was on top, it seems like the prosecutors maybe didn't have a theory of what could have happened. but also culturally they had to be able to imagine what john guy said at the end, that this was a kid trying to get home who might have been afraid. i never heard that developed until the very end. it seemed like they found their momentum on the last day. up until then, they never presented a narrative that could have compelled these six women, none of whom had the life experiences and cultural experience that's an african-american teenager or his parents would have had, none of that. and rather than develop that over the course of the trial that. >> tried to rush it in at the end. it really isn't surprising that they lost. >> do you think it's surprising that the jury allowed an all-white jury? five out of six jurors being white? why did the prosecution let that happen? why didn't they challenge to get a mixed jury? >> i have no idea. i thought that procedure was fairly well established over the last five or six decades. >> i think we get used to that. >> that you wouldn't in this sort of case want the jury to have no african-american jurors. >> i don't think the prosecution
believed in the case. i think they had their heart in it, they didn't have a story to tell. they didn't have a case to make. right. both of you, i agree with. they impeached the witness. they impeached the testimony given through videotape and otherwise testimony even with the guy not having to sit in the chair, zimmerman. i didn't get a sense they had a counter story to tell. >> their own story, exactly. >> please come back. you're the best. of course you're going to come back. you're part of us. thanks, joy. thank you eugene. i can't wait to read you tomorrow. coming up, the justice department is opening a hate crime case in the trayvon martin case. let's see how the prospects look. where the feds and the federal government and the prosecution in the justice department can actually bring a case and will they. politics will play a part in this. you'll have to wonder about eric holder and what he wants to do. this is "hardball," the place for politics. >> this case has never been about race nor has it ever been about the right to bear arms. not in the sense of proving this as a criminal case. but trayvon martin was profiled. there is no doubt that he was profiled to be a criminal.
and if race was one of the aspects in george zimmerman's mind, then we believe we put out the proof necessary to show that zimmerman did profile trayvon martin. hey, buddy? oh, hey, flo. you want to see something cool? snapshot, from progressive. my insurance company told me not to talk to people like you. you always do what they tell you? no... try it, and see what your good driving can save you. you don't even have to switch. unless you're scared. i'm not scared, it's... you know we can still see you. no, you can't. pretty sure we can... try snapshot today -- no pressure.
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as parents, as engaged citizens, and as leaders who stand vigilant against violence in communities across the country, the deltas are deeply and rightly concerned about this case. the justice department shares your concern. i share your concern. >> welcome back to "hardball." not guilty. that was the final decision by the florida jury acquitting george zimmerman of all charges in the killing of trayvon martin but those weren't the last words in this case. as we've been seeing. attorney general holder you saw just there says his department of justice has placed the case under review. as it examines whether or not zimmerman violated any civil rights statutes. some 450,000 people have signed an naacp petition urging the justice department to file those charges. well, the martin family is looking at its own options as well. attorneys for the family say they're considering filing civil
charges, a strategy successful in prior high profile cases. of course, the o.j. simpson trial was one where the civil charges against o.j. simpson were successful. anyway, the burden of proof to win a case in such a matter is less stringent than in criminal cases. it's easier to win in civil case. a preponderance of evidence standard is used, which means the greater weight of evidence must favor the plaintiff, but it's a much lower bar than what the prosecution had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in the criminal case. because criminal prosecution is now off the table, zimmerman could be forced to testify about himself. what's the next chapter for george zimmerman and the martin family? for the latest on this, we're going to go to nbc news justice correspondent pete williams. pete, when you're looking at this coldly, what do you see? >> i see unlikely -- they're unlikely. here's the reason. the closest fit under federal law would the 4-year-old federal hate crimes law. and what it says is for a person
to be punished under the federal system for this kind of a crime, you have to show that bodily injury was the result, was caused by someone's racial perception or the belief the victim, they attacked the victim because of race. that's the difficult thing here. now, the federal government could well look at evidence. there's been an argument here that it all started because trayvon martin factor was race. in essence, what the federal law requires is you persuade a jury the reason he pulled the trigger was a factor of race. the reason zimmerman pulled the trigger was because of trayvon martin's race and not some other factor such as self-defense. the further away you get from the shooting itself and you go to some other part of the chain of events, no matter how it may have started, the further away you get away from that, the harder to make the case. i've talked to several former prosecutors in the justice department civil rights division and they say the same thing.
proving someone's intent is one of the hardest things to do in the law. i think it would be surprising if the federal government brings a prosecution based on what we know now. now, it may be that their investigation will uncover something different. but if it doesn't, if it relies largely on the evidence that we've already seen, then i think federal prosecution sun likely. >> i don't know if you can help me or not, but i've been trying to make the case tonight that the reason for the anger over this trial from a lot of americans comes from a number of sources. certainly history of racial behavior in this country starting with slavery and jim crow. most of our history in this country has been bad. white people's behavior towards black people to put it bluntly. you have the whole question of profiling and whether george zimmerman went out there with an attitude against this fellow because he was african-american and felt he was guilty. what happened between these two gentlemen when they met that night, which was the essence of what the jury had to decide that night. do you have to argue to win a civil rights case in this matter that he shot him on sight?
that there wasn't a scuffle, there wasn't a fear of great bodily harm? >> or you have to prove at least that the reason that he shot him more than anything else, beyond a reasonable doubt was that it was because of his race and not because he feared for his life or safety or something else. what you say about the reason for the public outrage may well be true. but to try to place all that on the back of this admittedly difficult standard in the federal hate crimes law is a very tall order, chris. and the prosecutors who have brought these cases say they succeed when there is really strong evidence of a person's bias. they're making statements while they attack someone. they tell other people in advance that they're going to go out and try to attack someone who is black or someone who's gay or someone who's a muslim or whatever. you have to have other kinds of evidence. >> yeah, thanks, pete. you're always great.
>> you bet. >> justice correspondent for nbc news. we're joined by someone very much involved in the matter, jasmine rand, an attorney representing the martin family. thank you for joining us. can you tell us what your feelings and thoughts are now about the future in this case? >> you know, saturday was certainly heartbreaking for the legal team and for the family. it was a big disappointment for us to get a not guilty verdict but we want the people to know that not guilty does not mean that george zimmerman was innocent. right now in this moment more than anything, i think we are feeling inspired and hopeful by all of the love and encouragement we've literally gotten from all over the world. i've had calls from morocco, from london, from jamaica, and this outpouring of love. i think that's what the family is standing on now. we've heard the words of our president, and we've heard the words of attorney general eric holder who says he plans to pursue the federal hate crime charges against george zimmerman, or plans to continue the investigation. so right now we're feeling hopeful that the federal government will step in and do what the state did not do and what the jury did not do.
i hate to steal the words of don west, but it was a tragedy to get an acquittal. and in florida state court, it will be a travesty not to bring the federal charges against george zimmerman. >> pete williams, i'm not an expert, i'm not an attorney like yourself, but do you have to prove that it was basically shooting on sight? ivor heard some earlier charges in the beginning of this one, was very outraged in the country that he saw young black man because he met the profile. and shot him because he met the profile in his head who was committing these burglaries. if he it did involve a scuffle, if his head was hit a number of times, maybe his testimony isn't accurate, but there if there was a scuffle that involved the danger of bodily harm, can you still problem the reason he shot the poor young kid was because he was black? can you prove he waited until his head was hit three times and then shot him because he was black? how do you separate those two possibilities for a jury? >> first, i don't think there's any statute in law that says you have to shoot somebody first. i certainly think that in this case, we have a tremendous amount of evidence.
>> what would be the story you would tell a federal jury? what story would you say? what would be your scenario of what happened? >> i think george zimmerman placed, you know, 46 calls throughout a short period of time reporting that black men were suspicious in the neighborhood. he got out of that car, saying these f-ing a-holes always get away. he followed trayvon martin with a loaded gun and that loaded gun when he pulled the trigger, the thick that pulled the trigger was his hate in his heart for african-american people. we heard the defense say it over and over. >> wait a minute. let's get back to the incident. you said he carried a loaded gun. was he carrying it or was it in his holster? you said he was carrying. you said he was carrying it. >> what i meant is he was carrying it on his person. >> you said he had the intention of shooting. this would be your case, it's important you make it clear. he went out with the intention of killing a black man? >> i don't think he got out of the car, saying i'm going to go kill a black man tonight.
i think that he followed trayvon martin because he was black. i think he assumed he was committing criminal activity because he was black and he put a bullet in his heart because he was black. if it hadn't been for the color of his skin, i don't believe he would have begun following him to begin with. >> do you believe he felt any danger of his life or bodily injury when they were scuffling? do you believe that ever happened? >> i don't know how a grown man felt any great danger of bodily injury to himself when he was carrying a loaded gun the entire time. if he was so afraid, why did he get out of the car and follow trayvon? he was not afraid. he was pursuing trayvon, and he was not going to let another one get away. >> at the point of horror when he did pull the trigger, do you think he would have behaved differently at that point if the person he claimed to be the assailant, who he claim to be the aggressor, who he claimed was the one threatening his life, if that person would have been white, he would have behaved differently? >> yes, i do. all i need to do was listen to the words of the defense. the defense tried to justify killing trayvon martin because he was black.
the last witness they called said somebody black broke into the neighborhood. that's why george thought trayvon was a criminal and that's why he lodged a bullet in his heart, and that's okay. that's not okay. the united states constitution says that's not okay. >> it's great to have you on. thank you so much for sharing your points of view. and your intentions. it's great to have you on. please come back. up next, the politics in this case is not just black and white but part of it is. why people also see is the case through the right versus left here. by the way, some outrageous thoughts here and voices coming from the right. it's not symmetric, ladies and gentlemen. there's some really crazy stuff coming from the hard right here. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
welcome back to "hardball." reaction on the explosive right i've got to call them to the not guilty verdict in the trial of zimmerman was loudest among the people who frequently try to stoke the fire and polarize any issue that comes to the fore. these agents provocateur often exploiting an issue for their own gain. here they are again.
here is a sampling, starting with iowa congressman steve king, who said zimmerman should never have been prosecuted in the first place and then he took a jab at the president, of course. >> the evidence didn't support prosecution and the justice department engaged in this. the president engaged in this and turned if into a political issue that should have been handled exclusively with law and order. >> i watched the protesters none of whom read the transcript, none of whom sat through five weeks of the trial. all of them are preparing basically to be a lynch mob. they only wanted one verdict, and the verdict was guilty. >> the fact is i bet most of the protesters watched every hour of the trial. the night the verdict was announced, conservative ann coulter tweeted one word, hallelujah. the reaction from political left was more muted but still questioned the verdict. elijah cummings was among those giving voice to some of the public dismay. >> and it's very, very, very hard for the public to understand how somebody with some skittles and candy against
somebody with a gun, and it ends up that the zimmerman -- zimmerman walks away with not even a misdemeanor charge against him, found guilty charged against him, and then young trayvon is dead. that is hard for people to understand. >> a person who officials had asked not to follow him took a gun and killed him. now that person will get his gun back. george zimmerman will get that gun back. he will be out and i think the notion that the jury is saying to him that if he did the same thing again today or tomorrow or next week or someone else did it, that there would be no punishment is not a great signal to send. >> the justice department's going to take a look at this. this isn't over with. that's good. this is our system. it's gotten better, not worse. >> i worry about all those young
black kids out there that see a system of justice that maybe doesn't respond to them. i think a national dialogue is needed. >> as my colleague joe scarborough of msnbc writes in politico, the verdict showed just how politicized every aspect of american life has become for a hyper partisan political class. joining me howard fineman and mother jones magazine david corn, both msnbc political analysts. gentlemen, this, well, predictable outrage i call it from the right, but i have to tell you, when i watched newt in action, i've learned to believe he's just pulled the pin in the grenade at every operation, every opportunity. here he is again trying to excite i think a group of americans unhappy perhaps at the whole tragedy itself who aren't saying hallelujah. i don't care how conservative you are, i think most americans say what a terrible thing that's happened in race relations in this country. so we much wish it never happened. there's no heros in this case. >> well, newt can sometimes be a
human sneer. in the case of ann coulter, she is on it for show. steve king is the wild man from western iowa. newt gingrich used to be speaker of the house. he should know better. to focus on the accusation of ignorance on the part of people who are demonstrating is to more than miss the point, chris, more than miss the point. and i -- look, i actually think the comments that you showed on the left side of the spectrum, so to speak, were more measured and more grieving, if you will. >> i agree. >> more sad and wondering than the accusatory tone on the right. and there's nothing to be -- there's no need for accusations here. there's need for some thinking, reflection and trying to make the society better. that should be everybody's dominant view at this point, seems to me. >> david? >> you know, this sort of glee and the lack of empathy that was reflected in those quotes from the right were i found quite
shocking. this was a tragedy. there's no recognition of that from the comments that you showed and from others that have played out in the past few weeks and months since this happened. i'm struck by, yes, there was a very difficult legal case to make here. i'm reminded from the line from dickens where mr. bumble says the law is an ass when something happens like this, because it was a hard case to bring. the prosecution may have screwed it up a bit. but it's a hard case to bring. there is no measure of justice for trayvon martin and his family. and that many seems so distant from these voices on the right that they have to jump up and down with glee and say see, we told you so, all you people on the other side, you know, you're wrong and we're going to going to call you ignorant and we're going to devalue, delegitimize your reaction to this and show that you have absolutely no understanding of justice in this country. and it's quite the opposite.
i think joe scarborough was quite right in his column when he says if the republican party conservatives are trying to broaden their appeal, they've done exactly the opposite in response to this verdict. >> look at right and left, not just black and white, red and blue. the possibility this will become a political issue. i'm white obviously and i always say that because it's obvious. my feeling is and this has bothered me about this case, this has grabbed the attention of the particularly the african-american community. i try to understand it in a way that the he obama presidency hasn't. and i can't think. if you're going to change history and race relations in this country the great opportunity for changing those relations and the attitudes is going to come with a successful african-american president. it's not going to come from the o.j. case, no matter who wins it it's not going to come from this case, no matter who wins it. the future of justice in this country is going to come from a sense of true equality and true potential and true respect. and that's going to come from
political participation that wins. so that's just my little speech, okay? it's what i care about. again, i'm not black. i haven't had to walk down the street or into a restaurant and have people stare at me or people treat me with a minimum of courtesy when they should give me the maximum of courtesy. so i don't know than part of the world. i respect my colleagues who have lived in that world, certainly joy and certainly gene and other people like that of color in this program. but let me get back to the issue of politics, where i'm strongest. eric holder, is he truly under pressure from both sides? from the 450,000 members of the naacp who have signed a petition for action by the justice department, is he also bothered by the potential of the right that once again go chewing on him again? howard? >> well, it's eric holder's fate to kind of be the lightning rod and you know, front man, if you will, the guy who has to walk point for barack obama on a lot of issues. and he's going to have to do it for president obama here again
on this one. i think president obama himself is conflicted. he knows he has to be and he wants to be president of all the people. he's gone to great lengths to try to say that the jury has spoken, a jury has spoken, that i want calm and order here, and i want to be the president of all the people. but i think he also has an opportunity here to speak more directly to the african-american community. and i think if he is going to do it at any one time, this is probably the time to do it. >> does he do it by indictment? does he have to indict? >> i don't know. i think i agree with pete williams, and i agree with other people i've talked to today who say bringing the civil rights prosecution is going to be very, very difficult. but whether or not there is a civil rights prosecution, this is the moment for the president to step forward. but terrible problems in terms of poverty, in terms of violence, in terms of incarceration, in terms of political. >> what can you do that is concrete and specific? we know that he is good with words. he gave a great speech on race
relations during the campaign. he has written a book about this. he has thought long and hard. and here to sort of there has been a demand that has been made by the african-american advocacy organizations, and to come forward and once again raise this as an issue, but not do anything. well, there aren't a lot of option, i agree with pete williams too, but because the way the law is structured, it's very hard to do anything. i think this puts the president in a very difficult position. jawboning may not be enough when you have a tragedy like this. >> bring gun control back. i don't care what harry reid says. harry reid says it isn't over. okay, harry, it isn't over. bring gun control back. >> well said. howard fineman, thank you. david corn, thank you. we'll be right back right after this.
photograph of the former president. well, saturday night, actually late night's jimmy fallon, fallon weighed in on that with a reenactment of their phone conversation. here is the real reason that clinton was so forgiving of bieber's wild boy tactics. >> hello? >> hey, president clinton, this is justin bieber, yo. >> justin, what's up, my man? >> i am calling to say i'm sorry i called you f bill clinton and sprayed that blue stuff on your picture. >> no worries. >> really? >> i saw the whole video. let me tell you, it was awesome. >> really? because i was kind of embarrassed about it. i mean, i peed in a mop bucket. >> of course you did. you're the wild kids. i want to be one of the wild kids. i'm a wild kid. come on. >> that's great. >> i'm serious, i want to hang with you guys. i'll bring my own bucket. >> i got to go. >> hey, real quick, can you give me selena gomez's phone number?
>> i don't think i can give that out, yo. >> sounds like a classic case of youth being wasted on the young. any way, was that darrell hammond? next up, the pen mightier than the sword? the former high school teacher of 24 years took his republican colleagues to task with red ink grading, a letter circulated by house republicans on immigration reform. he gave them an "f." amongst his corrections is a note asking the author of the letter to come by his office so he can explain it. judging by the number of corrections on those pages, i don't expect those two to settle their differences after class. for his part, cassidy didn't take the insult lying down. his office dismissed the stunt as an act of political grandstanding. wow. up next, the epidemic of african-american men behind the bars. think about it. the double standards when it comes toes sentencing drug offenders. you know, crack cocaine versus powder cocaine. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
what you got here? >> oh, came too early, so i copped a little extra. >> what is this? your little personal thing? >> what? no. no. that's -- we can share that. you can have some of that if you want. that's, like, just in case we run out. >> wow. welcome back to "hardball." that was a scene from the new film, coming out film, "newlyweeds" directed by chaka king which premiered this year and is being released for general description. the influence of marijuana use on a young couple trying to make it. the director, and a former obama adviser and contributor to the "daily beast." thanks for joining us. this thing i hear about but don't know much about, drugs and incarceration percentage of young african-americans.
of course, this is all in the context of attitudes about the criminal justice system right now. your thoughts. what your movie says. >> i don't think my movie speaks specifically to that epidemic, but i think, you know, high incarceration rates are just really just another example and symptom of institutional racism and why it's -- the reason you're seeing so many young black men in jail now is the confluence of, you know, racist criminal justice system, you know, racist law enforcement, you know, racist education system. you know, racist health care system. and these things are racist in classes and the two are intertwined. so i feel like the reason you're seeing those high incarceration rates, besides the draconian drug laws, are just a confluence
of, you know, the confluence of white supremacy really. >> do you think the police officers do stop and frisk or any other kind of exercise in order to capture young men on drug charges? >> i think that they -- they do it -- the police do stop and frisk i think to get them in the system and to really to infect our minds and to make us believe that that's where we belong and then this is the way we should be treated. you know, the last time i was approached by the cops, they asked me two questions. they asked me, where are the drugs? not do you have any drugs on you? where are the drugs? and they asked me, when was the last time you were arrested? and the only time i've ever seen a jail cell was when i was kidnapped by the cops when i was in 11th grade. so, you know, i got very offended obviously, and to me, quite frankly, and, you know, not to use -- i hope i'm not using inappropriate language on my show, but to me actions like
those are far worse than calling me a [ bleep ], honestly. you know, watching the trayvon martin trial, it just was a greater example of that. you know, folks talked about how that was -- how, you know, race might not have been a factor, but to me, you know, we're living under black belt, eighth degree black belt racism, you know what i mean, whereas jim crow was yellow belt racism, you know? like, it's racism where, like, you hit me and i take 20 steps away and then i die. >> shaka, i want you to hold your thought. josh with dubois, what to you make of this question of drugs? it didn't come into this trial, but i think it seems like it's a big reason i'm hearing that there's so many young blacks in jail and it's just a fact we ought to look at it. >> yeah, you know, it gets back to how we see young african-american men and boys in this country and that's related to the zimmerman trial. i mean, the fact of the matter is, when george zimmerman looked at trayvon martin, he saw a nameless, faceless hoodie.
he didn't see a young boy with hopes and dreams. he didn't see a son, a brother, a nephew. he saw some kid that was, to him, seemed aggressive or suspicious. and then a few minutes later, she shot that kid in the chest. and, unfortunately, there are a lot of folks that are like george zimmerman. they're not monsters, but they just done understand young african-american men and boys. then folks from all different races and background. i wrote about this in a piece for "newsweek" called "a fight for black men." it's a wake-up call, not only do we have to extend more empathy, we have to get to know and like young african-american men. >> i'll have both you gentlemen back on, again. my son, michael, is involved with shaka in the great film that's coming out in september. we'll have you back. we didn't have enough time for this thoughtful discussion, or to have a thoughtful discussion. we'll have right back after this. is as much about getting there... ♪ ...as it is being there. ♪ [ birds chirping ]
let me finish tonight with this. the american people were not collectively sitting on that jury that acquitted george zimmerman. they were not asked to judge whether the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the second-degree murder of trayvon martin. but we are, all of us, in what kind of a country we want to live in, jurors in whether we want profiling or people judged on what they do, not what they look like. we are jurors and whether we want people, civilians, walking around carrying guns believing they have the right to decide where to carry that gun and what situations they can use the confidence a gun gives you to operate as if they were train and sworn in officers of the law.
we can decide on all kinds of matters of social justice and economic fairness, all kinds of ways to make this a better country, a fairer country. a more reasonable country where the laws favor less violence, not more. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. friday night on this program, as we awaited the verdict in the trial of george zimmerman, for the killing of trayvon martin, my guest, jalani cobb of the university of connecticut said something that stuck with me and haunted me throughout the weekend. he said in cases like this, he didn't think black people in america expect justice. that they've just been here too many times before. and tonight, in the wake of a not guilty verdict, we'll spend the hour examining how we got to this place and where we go from here.