tv The Reid Report MSNBC September 4, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
the shooting of unarmed michael brown by police officer darren wilson. the shooting sparked off weeks of protest and national unrest and conversation about black and brown citizens in community of color. ron allen spoke with james knowles and police chief ron jackson a short time ago. >> bottom too many line, in terms of the civil rights investigation, does that concern you? do you think that's warranted? >> well, an investigation is just looking into the facts and so i'm open to anyone looking into the facts and examining whether or not there's been an issue here. am i concerned? i am absolutely interested in knowing -- wanting to know the truth of what's been going on. >> i take no personal offense to it at all. in the end, the justice department is going to try to improve the quality of policing nationwide and that's their job. part of their job. so i welcome that. anything that we can do here to
improve what we are doing, this is good. >> joining me live from outside the justice department is nbc justice correspondent pete williams. pete, just to be clear, this is separate from the investigation that the doj was already doing into the shooting of michael brown itself, correct? >> reporter: yes. it's completely independent of that. that is a civil rights investigation but it's only about that one incident. this is a comprehensive look at the practices of the ferguson police department going back several years. >> and what are the potential remedies? this has happened before, obviously. the justice department has more than one of these, they have several of these open at the same time. what are we looking at in terms of the procedure and possible outcome of these kinds of probes? >> reporter: you're right to say they have a lot of these going. there are probably three dozen of them at one stage or another. the justice department has brought these since 1994 these kinds of cases when congress gave them the authority to look
at whether it is a practice of civil rights that police come into contact with. but this is not the kind of case where you're going to see criminal cases. this is the kind of case where the department if it finds ways to remedy the problem so it makes recommendation to the department if they are very serious they can ask a court to appoint a monitor to make sure the police department keeps its word on the changes it says it is going to make. if, in fact, that is what this investigation comes out. if the police department and government disagree, the government can take them to court and the judge can order the police department to make changes. there's a whole range of possibilities when you open one of these investigations. >> and this is -- do you know, pete, like what kind of a timeline we're looking at? sometimes cities fight them, sometimes they go along with it and get a consent decree. is there a timeline for how long these investigations last? >> no.
they last until it's over. it certainly takes months to look through all of the past incidents, talk to people, do interviews. it's not a quick process. it's slower than you could say maybe a traditional criminal investigation where there is kind of an urgency to get into court and that's not the case here. so far, the people of ferguson are saying they will cooperate, both the mayor and police chief say they intend to cooperate with the investigation. >> all right. pete williams, thanks very much. >> you bet. stay with us for more live coverage from the justice department's announcement coming up at 2:30 eastern. and now to wales and great britain where at this hour nato leaders, including president obama, are about to conclude the first of a two-day sum met with dinner to focus today on how the alliance might confront the growing threat of isis as well as the crisis in ukraine. >> the world faces many dangerous and evolving threats and it is absolutely clear that
nato is as vital to our future as it has been in our past. >> nbc news white house correspondent chris jansing is traveling with the president. she joins me live from cardiff, wales, the president went to this summit to talk about the crisis in diverted to syria and isis. >> reporter: well, there's no doubt about that. in fact, the dinner tonight is being built as a, working dinner. officials expect isis to be the key topic there. there is also a little bit of movement here. they are suggesting that after a se series of conversations involving john kerry and susan rice and others traveling with the president, that they are coming to some sort of conse t isis. obviously here in europe there's a lot of concern about the possibility of some of those foreign fighters returning and
attacking, remember king abdullah of saudi arabia thought an attack could happen here in a month and in the americas a month after that. so, yes, this has day of diagnosis. they have really changed, for ten years they have been focused on afghanistan and the threat of al qaeda so they are having to do this change. one thing we don't expect, because that's going to be part of ongoing conversations, don't expect any announcement in the next 24, 48 hours on military action, which, of course, is th. joy? >> chris jansing, thanks very much. the growing worry over the terror group isis has taken center stage at this week's nato meeting. the president and prime minister cameron had this to say of the threat. "those who believe in stepping back and adopting an isolationist approach misunderstand the nature of
security in the 21st century. developments in other parts of the world, particularly in iraq and syria threaten our oh society at home." andrea mitchell is joining me from "andrea mitchell reports." really this crisis in syria with isis has overtaken the agenda. >> it's overtaken the agenda but i wouldn't downplay also the putin/ukraine crisis. i think it's just that they have to deal with more than one thing. they have to walk and chew gum at the same time. but it is true that there are more issues facing this president and the alliance than there has been in the past and the fact is we are no longer in the cold war. nato is no longer the alliance that it was built to be and it grew into this coalition to fight afghanistan after 9/11. there are a lot of arguments that should not have expanded
like it did right up against the russian border because it's so threatening to vladimir putin but that's done and now they have to figure out how is nato credibly going to push putin back. they are not going to war with russia but they have to have a whole tool kit of other ways to get putin to stop invading ukraine. >> it feels like the two problems, issues are still very important to figure out what to do about russia and ukraine, having a rapid reaction force, send a message that there is a potential for military cooperation against russia in theory and figuring out what to do about syria is sort of the same problem. post 9/11, how do we get around that when obviously there's a need for action. >> and the allies are very concerned about america resolve. they see the polling as well as the presidencies the polling and they know that this president
was elected with a mandate to get us out of iraq and afghanistan and neither of those exits have been without a lot of other difficulty. they did come together in libya and look what we now see in libya. we see, you know, islamic militants swan diving off of the balconies and american residences connected to the embassy. once you get rid of a dictator like gadhafi and bin laden, what happens next? americans want to hear leadership. they want to hear the rhetoric that satisfies their lust for understandable revenge when james followey and steven sotlo are murdered so brutally. then the next question is, what do we do? how do we find them? >> it's interesting that joe biden channelled that. he translated cautious obama into sort of every man's speak and that's what people wanted to
hear but there's a dins betweff between that rhetoric and the real caution and deliberate t and why president obama was elected. >> the hard job is now going to be lisa monacco and chuck hagel and john kerry hitting the road and putting together a coalition of the saudis and uae and others in the region and americans are going to ask, why are we going to spend $500 million on air strikes and we already are, why are we going to keep that up if others are not chipping in and who is going to fly those planes and spot for the planes and what troops are going to be on the ground to help the surveillance? these are really big questions. >> i'm struck by how similar the two questions are. when you look at what is happening in ukraine, the obvious question is, where is
the eu? there are new sanctions that they are going to announce that they will strengthen on the european side that will potentially hit their dependence on oil and gas in russia but then you look at the saudis, egyptians, strong countries in that region. is there a point where americans say, enough of looking to us to solve these problems thousands and thousands of miles from our shores and that the regions need to step up on their own? >> that is what you're hearing from both wings of the parties, by the way. rand paul on one side and certainly progressive democrats on the other are saying in an isolationist way, we have enough problems here at home. at the same time, you're beginning to hear calls from, you know, minnesota, from al franken, from others in the senate in both parties also that we need to step up. it's not just john mccain and lindsey graham anymore. these are really tough choices. >> and congress is on their way
back. >> you think it's about time? >> it would be nice to hear from them. >> it would be nice to have a debate on this as we did before going into iraq both times. >> and let's see if they do it. >> before their next break. >> indeed. andrea mitchell, such an honor being here. >> it's such a privilege. i love being here. >> you must watch at andrea mitchell reports" every day here at 12:00 on msnbc news. in about 20 minutes, eric holder will announce a civil rights investigation into the killing of michael brown in ferguson, missouri. first, fast food workers protest for higher wages and the right to unionize. will they ultimately succeed?
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we are monitoring developments at the department of justice. in just 15 minutes, eric holder is expected to announce a federal civil rights investigation of the entire ferguson, missouri, police department. this coming after an officer shot and killed michael brown. this is a new investigation and much broader and would look at the department's actions over several years and not just the developments over the past month. meanwhile, fast food workers across the country turned out today to demand a living wage. workers in more than 150 cities including new york, chicago, detroit and little rock, arkansas, demonstrated for a pay increase to $15 an hour and the right to unionize. the average fast food worker makes about $9.20 an hour. that's about $2 above the current federal minimum wage. >> i think it shows a sign of
b bravery. we're not trying to hinder anybody. we're just trying to stand united together for a good cause. >> dozens of people were arrested in new york's demonstration. also arrests reported in chicago and other cities. mcdonald's said, "the topic of minimum wage goes well beyond mcdonald's. it affects our country's entire workforce. mcdonald's and our independent franchise support paying our valued employees fair wages aligned with a competitive workplace." what is the point and what do you want the outcome to be? >> i think the first strike happened about two years ago in new york city. we're now seeing strikes in 150 cities, people are risking arrests to say, we need $15 an hour. this $9 an hour, this minimum wage in a $200 billion industry
where corporate profits are sky high and workers are relying on assistance is not tenable and i don't think they will stop until they get what they are looking for. >> you have had some companies respond on their own partly because of the publicity but also because it's attractive to do business with a good guy company. starbucks is going more green. you have a shake shack which has a 9.50 minimum wage. you have the gap, ikea, in-n-out burger. but what you don't see is companies like mcdonald's that your organizations are protesting responding. what do you suppose the organizations that are actually being protested, like the pictures that we're seeing there, how come they are not responding? >> look, mcdonald's has looked
at the impact that these strikes have had on their brand and the bottom line. since the strike began two years ago, we've seen nearly 7 million workers get a rise either through the actions of the companies that you mentioned or the fact that the strikes have created such a momentum to raise wages. we saw the city of seattle enact a minimum wage of $15 an hour. that is something that would not have happened but for these strikes. $15 an hour is a new standard for cities and states to strive for and for businesses to strive for, too. i think we'll see, eventually, given the momentum of these strikes, mcdonald's and other fast food organizations come together with their workers. >> wendy's said "we're proud to give thousands of people who come to us for entry-level job, the opportunity to learn and develop important skills so that they can grow with us or move on to something else."
and the national restaurant associati association said "this is a national multimillion dollar campaign engineered funded by national labor groups." essentially this hurts in some ways. >> people that are out on the picket line are people that have been working at mcdonald's, wendy's for years. an 80-year-old woman got arrested and she was making less than $10 an hour. 70% are adults. the front-line positions that constitute 90% of this industry pay less than $9 an hour. this is not a stepping stone to a better paying job in the industry. the only way to make she's jobs
better paying jobs is to give these worker the ability to negotiate directly with their employers. in other words, to have a union. >> i think that's a powerful point because so many parents are raising kids on these wages. thank you very much for being here. >> thank you so much. and now, three things to know this thursday. a federal judge has blockeded it state of ohio's early voting. this is a major victory. it will kick in before election day in november. an appeals court in washington, d.c., will reconsider a ruling that knocked down a big part of the affordable care act. in july, a panel ruled that subsidies could only be made available in states that had federal exchanges. well, state exchanges. not the federal ones. and a dramatic decision in
the kansas senate race, pat roberts has suddenly dropped out of the race. that means that roberts, a three-term republican incumbent, who had a small lead, will go head-to-head against greg orman. waves don't care what age you are. take them on the way you always have. live healthy and take one a day 50+. complete multivitamins. with 7 antioxidants to support cell health. research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day 50+ for men. and for women. age? who cares. one a day 50+ when folks think about wthey think salmon and energy. but the energy bp produces up here creates something else as well: jobs all over america.
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conference to begin and we'll bring it to you live when it does. coming up, we'll hear from the brown family's attorney as well as one of the reporters who broke this story and an attorney in st. louis who has been calling for the feds to step in. stay with us. we'll be right back. ♪ fill their bowl with the meaty tastes they're looking for, with friskies grillers. tender meaty pieces and crunchy bites. in delicious chicken, beef, turkey, and garden veggie flavors. friskies grillers.
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breathe a little easier. introducing cvs health. because health is everything. and we have breaking news. the jury has reached a verdict in the mcdonnell trial expected in 15 minutes. we'll indeed bring it to you live. in the meantime, you are looking at live at the justice department in washington where moments from now, attorney general eric holder will announce a major investigation of the ferguson police department by the civil rights division. this is in addition to the ongoing probe of the shooting death of michael brown. attorney general eric holder will announce an investigation looking for patterns of civil rights' violations including the use of excessive force. the move is called the obama administration's most aggressive step to address the shooting of
michael brown. carol was one of the first to report about the investigation. pamela's organization has been asking for the doj to get more involved and norm is a police chief who is responsible for the city's response in the protests in 1999. he's also the author of the book "breaking rein," the dark side of american policing. i want to start with you and explain to us and walk us through specifically what the justice department will be doing and whether or not this is an adversarial process with the ferguson and st. louis county police departments. >> great questions. this is a move by attorney general eric holder to try to work collaboratively with the ferguson police department to analyze, are their patterns, policies, practices in this very small department that violate civil rights of the citizen ree
in ferguson. this is something that the attorney general has launched with his department more often than any other of his other predecessors looking particularly at whether excessive force is used in a police department when it's not necessary, looking at racial profiling of people that are stopped in cars or as pedestrians. it's something that the attorney general's office or the office of civil rights in his department has looked at very closely in albuquerque, newark, new orleans and that's what they are going to do in ferguson. >> carol, there's different outcomes that can happen, right? there can be a lawsuit at the end of it which has its own sort of outcomes or there could be a consent decree. you can have police departments that agree to management of the office. >> yes. the key word is collaborative. it's more frequent that a police
department and particularly a police chief who might be eager for more resources, more sophisticated training invites the department of justice in and says, okay, we have a problem. in a national and high-profile crisis like this one, it's actually quite typical for the department of justice to review whether or not the patterns and practices of a department need a review and need a monitor and maybe need several years worth of recommended steps for them to reform how they do business. >> and pamela means, this is something that you've been on several times talking about wanting the federal government to step in more. is this along the lines of what your organization wanted to see? >> absolutely. the national bar association is excited that the federal government has decided to investigate the city of ferguson. we think that this is long overdue. it's an excellent move, as you know, joy, from the beginning of this tragic incident the national bar association was
calling on the justice department to look into the investigation and to take over the investigation of the michael brown situation and to investigate the city of ferguson. we're hoping that the justice department will take this move and apply it in the other 25 -- 24 states that the national bar association is sending open records request. we're excited about the move. >> norm, this actually happened in the stanford police department. the city wound up in a consent degree but it was pretty contentious for a while. when this happens, is there a feeling of siege or is there a sense that this might actually be a relief because it takes all of the onus of reform off of the department? >> i think the feeling is generally mixed. you have officers and supervisors and some manager who is believe that it's time to circle the wagons and defend against this external intrusion
into law enforcement policy and practice. then you have others who, as your other guests have made clear, are very interested in learning how more effectively they can build a more positive relationship with their citizens. >> and i want to go back to you, pamela, because the issues we've now heard about them over and over again, a police force that is only a 4 out of 53 officers are african-american in a city that is 67% african-american. you have for "the chicago sun times" a report from the office finding that ferguson police stopped and arrested black drivers nearly twice as frequently as white motorists and were less likely to find contraband. you have the michael brown case and the way that was handled. in recent years, ferguson and nearby jurisdictions have issued citations for low-level traffic
offenders. with so much already on the record, do you feel it takes the feds to come in and reform this department and what does ta say about the state and the county that this is what it is taking to start addressing these problems? >> joy, i think you're going to find across america, yes, it takes the state, federal government to come in because when the government sees a situation like this, what you're seeing really is a pattern and a practice of not being able to police yourself. no, it's not surprising that the police department could not catch this. it's not surprising because it's often difficult to look and take an internal look and to police yourself in situations like this, this is the reason we have the federal government and i think this is a great move and i'm not surprised by it at all. joy, you hit on some very good points. there are a lot of people that ask, how do we get to this point where we need the federal government to come in and you
spotted off all of the right statistics. african-americans are being stopped in an unprecedented rate yet the number of contrabands that you find on them is not even compared to the number of stops. the fact -- the makeup of the police department, the trust is broken and so in situations like this, and we find that the city of ferguson is typical of many african-american communities around this country and so we're going to find more of this, joy, not less. >> and that is actually sobering notion but i think you're probably right. anthony gray i want to bring in, the attorney for michael brown's family. mr. gray, what is the reaction of this family to the development, that the justice department is going to add a second probe of the police department itself? >> the family is delighted, just as pamela means articulated in the same way the national bar welcomes this probe and they are excited about what is going to come as a result of it. the family shares those sentiments and those feelings as
well. so i think we're united in our general view of the federal government coming in, taking a look at the city of ferguson and its operations and its culture. those types of things that foster the kind of events that we saw on that saturday afternoon when michael brown jr. as some describe being executed in broad daylight. >> while we continue to wait for the justice department, we are waiting for that announcement of this federal probe into the ferguson police department as well as some kast. louis police departments. senator, your response to the impending announcement? >> when we heard yesterday, we were completely overjoyed. this community finally has a win. i've been hearing a lot of talk on the streets with my constituents about different situations that they've been in themselves. a couple of days ago i heard
from someone who i hadn't heard from since childhood and she talked about an experience her own son had. this is a great day for st. louis county. >> i want to bring back norm. you said that there can be a feeling that outsiders are coming in. but when you have a police department that is all of this military-style equipment that, per the federal grants, has to be used in order to be kept, does it create a situation where police essentially practice the use of this hypermill tarrized equipment on populations that they don't really have anything in common with? >> it's absolutely true that that has been happening, actually, since the early '90s. we saw increasing but more or less incremental militarization of america's law enforcement agencies in the '90s and then we saw, after 9/11, a real
proliferation of military and military grade garb and equipment and vehicles on the streets of american cities. many of those militaristic operations are in support of so-called high-risk warrant service. those are those predawn raids into a family's home where someone has been suspected, for example, of being in possession of a small quantity of marijuana. innocent people are caught in the crossfire. family pets have been casualties. as we well known, children have been severely burned as a result of flash bang grenades thrown into a home under the rubic of shock and awe. it's sad when this happens, that we're the police and you are not. we will decide, thank you very much, what we're going to do, when we're going to do it, how
we're going to do it. it's critical, i think, that the community and the police come together as authentic partners. that isn't going to happen until trust is restored or built in the first place. >> i want to let our viewers know that we have a two-minute warge we're going to have that press conference beginning in a couple of minutes. we'll go to that live when it starts. one of the things that i found stunning in interviews with the police chief with ferguson and with the mayor was a sense by both of them that they didn't really feel that there was a long-term or in-depth problem. that they felt that things were generally okay but that people had questions about this shooting. is there a chance that there's a tremendous disconnect in the perception of the police department about its own problems about it is population? >> you know, it's a great question, joy. i was in ferguson for most of a week, like a week ago and i think there's a huge disconnect
between the residents and the police. not just in ferguson but in a lot of that band of the county what i call north st. louis county. you have citizens who very much ve vehemently disrespected by the police. my colleague and i reported a story on sunday because we wanted to look more deeply at the police force. we found six officers, five current and one former, who before the michael brown shooting had been accused in federal civil rights lawsuits of using excessive force. the claims included that they had hog-tied a 12-year-old child, they tasered a mentally ill man to death and that one officer in particular had in six different instances been accused of pistol whipping children that
he came in contact with. some of these activities they were accused of before working for the ferguson police force. it's disconcerting to the residents. >> carol, i'll going to have to interrupt you. attorney general eric holder has taken the podium. >> i'm joined by the assistant attorney general molly moran and ron davis. we are here to announce the latest steps in the justice department's ongoing efforts to address the situation in ferguson, missouri and the surrounding communities. now, as you know, our federal civil rights investigation into the august 9th shooting death of michael brown remains open and remains very active. as i make clear during my visit to ferguson two weeks ago, this investigation will take time.
but the american people can have confidence that it will be fair, it will be thorough, and it will be independent. over the course of that visit, i had the chance to speak with a number of local residents. i heard from them directly of what has occurred between members of that community. in meetings as well as in listening sessions and informal conversations, people consistently expressed concerns stemming from specific alleged incidents, from general policing practices, and from the lack of diversity on the ferguson police force. these anecdotal accounts underscore the history of mistrust of law enforcement in ferguson that has received a good deal of attention. as a result of this history and following extensive review of documented allegations and other available data, we have determined that there is a cause for the justice department to
open an investigation to determine whether ferguson police officials have engaged in a pattern or practice of the united states constitution or federal law. this investigation will be carried out by a team from the civil rights division special litigation session. some of the same dedicated professionals who have achieved really historic results in ensuring constitutional policing from coast to coast. over the past five years, the civil rights division has prosecuted over 300 individual officers for misconduct. we have opened 20 practice investigations into police departments across the country. that's more than twice as many as were opened in the previous five years. and reinforcing 14 agreements to reform law enforcement practices that agencies both large and small. with these agreements, we have seen dramatic decreases in excessive uses of force. we have equity in the delivery of police services, including
important measures to address bias and, most significantly, confidence by communities in their law enforcement agencies. now, as the brother of a retired police officer, i know that the overwhelming majority of our brave men and women in uniform do their jobs honorably. they do them with integrity and often in great personal risk. the civil rights division efforts are simply meant to ensure that law enforcement officers in every part of the united states live up to those same high standards of professionalism. in ferguson, our investigation will assess the police department's use of force, including deadly force. it will analyze the stops, searches, and arrests and it will examine the treatment of individuals detained at ferguson's city jail. in addition to other potentially discriminatory techniques and tactics that have been brought to light. we have met with the mayor, the city manager, and the police
chief in ferguson. they have welcomed this investigation and they have pledged their complete cooperation. this investigation will be conducted both rigorously and in a timely manner so we can move forward as expeditiously as possible to restore trust and understanding and cooperation with law enforcement and community members. at the same time, i want to make very clear that as this investigation unfolds and as it evolves, we will follow the facts and the law wherever it may lead and if at any point we find reason to expand our inquiry to include additional police forces at neighboring jurisdictions, we will not hesitate to do so. in fact, i could also announce today that above and beyond our investigation in ferguson, we are taking proactive steps to engage the st. louis county police department in what is known as the collaborative reform effort.
this is being led by the cop's office to conduct a comprehensive assessment. the st. louis county police chief has voluntarily accepted the collaborative reform process and has also asked that the cop's office conduct an after action report on their response to recent demonstrations. and already with the cooperation with city leaders, we have identified areas that need technical review and assistance, including racial profiling, stops, searches and frisking, the handling of mass demonstrations by police officials and law enforcement training both at the police academy and at the continuing professional level. st. louis county training programs for officers without the area, including members of the ferguson police department, it makes sense to include the county police department as part of our comprehensive approach to confronting the challenges that we've seen in that region.
now, i want to be clear. this is not a stop gap or term solution. it's founded on community policing that will provide a really detailed road map to build trust, bolster public safety, ensure accountability and to change the way that law enforcement leaders make decisions, implement policies and forge community partnerships and our track record proves that such efforts to reform policing practices can be tremendously successful. for example, in 2012, the cops office and the las vegas police department completed a review similar to the collaboration that we are launching today. the las vegas review resulted in 75 findings and concrete recommendations regarding officer-involved shootings and other use of force issues. to date, fully, 95% of these
recommendations have been adopted. and police agencies at two other jurisdictions are going through similar processes as we speak. when i visited ferguson two weeks ago, i promised that the united states department of justice would continue to stand with the people there long after the national headlines had faded. today with our investigation into the ferguson police department and our reform efforts in st. louis county, we're taking significant steps towards keeping that promise. as these efforts unfold, my colleagues and i will keep working with the people in ferguson to ensure that a fair, thorough investigation occurs, to see that dialogue can be translated into concrete action and facilitate lasting, positive change that brings together public officials, civil rights leaders and members of the public to bridge gaps and to build understanding. this won't always be easy but i know that together we can and we will meet this challenge. now, before we move to
questions, there have been court decisions announced today in two separate but very important cases on which i'd like to briefly comment. first, we are pleased that the district court in new orleans has found that the largest oil spill in the united states history was caused by bp's gross negligence and willful misconduct. the court's findings will make sure that the company is held fully accountable for its recklessness. this case was rigorously pursued by the united states' stellar team marks the continuing efforts to seek justice on behalf of the american people for this disaster. and we are confident that this decision will serve as a strong deterrent to anyone attempted to sacrifice safety and the environment in the pursuit of profit. second, in ohio, a district court has held that the plaintiff's challenging the state of ohio changes to its in-person early voting rules
leakly will be able to prove those changes are in fact unconstitutional. the justice department has filed a statement of interest in this case. and today's outcome represents a milestone in our effort to continue to protect voting rights even after the supreme court's deeply divided decision in shelby county. i'm pleased to say that today's decision rests on some of the same legal reasoning that underlies the department's pending challenges to voting measures in texas as well as in north carolina under section 2 of the voting rights act. as we move forward, my colleagues and i will continue to do everything that we can to defend access to the ballot box and to ensure that every american can exercise his or her right to participate in the democratic process unencumbered by decisions that discriminate or disenfranchise. and with that, we would be more
than happy to take your questions. pete? >> mr. attorney general, can you give us a little more extra on why you decided to launch this investigation? your own conversations there, you talk about review of documented allegations. give us the universe of what went into this. >> we looked at a number of things in our initial and preliminary assessment of whether or not to open this investigation. it included not only discussions that the attorney general had with residents of ferguson two weeks ago but also other meetings at the civil rights division and community service leaders have had with residents. we've looked at public records and other pieces of information that are available to make an assessment that this was indeed an appropriate opening for a pattern and practices investigation. the civil rights division met with city leaders in ferguson yesterday and expressed a strong willingness to assist us and
were open to this investigation. we will have cooperation from our local residents. >> what local documents are you talking about? >> it would include demographics and public records related to cases that would have been filed by private litigants. there are any number of things that we looked at. >> mr. attorney general, what about your visit struck you to the point where you felt comfortable to move forward with this investigation and then, secondly, what do you say to police supporters of the police that this investigation is premature and, in fact, unfair to the police department. >> well, i would say that, as molly said, assistant attorney general said, the decision to go ahead was based not only on what i heard while i was -- which was fairly compelling and there was a certain continuity and similarities in the kinds of things that i was hearing with
regard to traffic stops, revenue raising on the basis of traffic stops, traffic stops that occurred in certain parts of the area but in addition to that, and in response to the earlier question, there has been a review of documentary evidence indicating that there are problems. i don't think there's any question that there is a basis to beginning a pattern of practice investigation. so that with regard to those who might be concerned that we are somehow being premature, all we're saying at this point we're opening an investigation to see whether or not there are in fact problems. i think that the fact that we have pledges of local cooperation as an indication that there are issues felt even there at the local level indicating a need for us to work together to make the situation the situation better. but i want to emphasize, as i said in my prepared remarks, the vast majority of the people who
serve the american people in a law enforcement capacity in this country do so honorably, do so quite well. the vast majority of police departments do so i think quite well. but when we find problems, it's incumbent upon us, given our statutory responsibilities, to use federal law to make sure that that, in fact, occurs. >> but what predicated this? >> eric holder discussing the federal probe of the ferguson police department and also an agreement he said was reached proactively with the st. louis county police department to work with the cop's office on its own practice to reform them. also discussing voting rights. i want to go to senate senator maria chapelle-nadal for your reaction. >> the first reaction i had, there's a new sheriff in town and his name is eric holder. i'm overjoyed about what i heard today. there needs to be a reform in st. louis county police department and there needs to be
an expansion of anything that has ever happened in ferguson and in the recent past. again, i have told you that i heard numerous stories from my constituents about what has been going on. this is a very good day for my constituents. this is a good message for them to hear that finally they are going to be heard and so we are going to move forward and we're going to cooperate with the investigation and just move forward and do the best job that we can and be supportive to eric holder and the department of justice. >> all right. anthony gray, attorney for michael brown's family, your reaction? >> it's pretty much the same as a senator. i was overjoyed by it. i think that they laid out a very clear, concise and organized and reasonable justification for why they are coming in there i don't think that anyone can question, based off the way that the information was presented during the press conference, as to the motive for
why they are coming. they made out a very compelling case, in my opinion, that necessitates the investigation at this point into the department. and so i was overwhelmed, just like -- and overjoyed just like the senator was. appreciate it. >> norm, as a former police chief yourself, two different departments and responses, the probe going on of the ferguson police department, interesting nugget there that the st. louis county police department has proactively already decided to go forward and work with the cops program to look into its practice and training and both at the academy and professional training and to go ahead and review and get technical assistance proactively. what do you make of that? >> what i think about it is, if you look at the attorney general's statement, he made it very clear, from his point of view, the vast majority of police officers are honorable, dignified service providers. where we find the absence of those qualities, i think it's
vital that local agencies take that sfons buiresponsibility th. i think it's time for the federal government to insist, as the attorney general pointed out, on enforcing its own statutory responsibilities. there are 18,000 police departments in this country. we have one federal government. that government is responsible for seeing to it that every police officer embraces and practices the dictates of the constitution of the united states. if you're racist or suffer from another brand of bigotry, if you give in to excessive force, you need to find another line of work. if you're a good calm, if you're calm, professional, you need to be supported in that work. >> indeed. and i'm sorry to interrupt you, i want to thank pamela, maria, anthony, i have to interrupt you all. we do have breaking news.
it's with great sadness, they announce the death of joan rivers. her daughter making that announcement saying she passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. surrounded by family and close friends and this is coming from joan rivers' daughter. she says my family and i would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of mt. sinai hospital. we thank you for the outpouring from around the world. we're going to wrap up "the reid report." more on jones rivers' passing. breaking news right now in "the cycle," we've just received word that joan rivers has passed away. lester holt has the package on that. let's take a look. >> reporter: joan rivers always
had a punch line, even if it was about herself. >> i said, what have you got to go with this suit? she gave me a bottle of cheap wine. >> reporter: often in vulgar. >> gweneth paltrow, the most beautiful woman. >> reporter: and sometimes mean observations of life and celebrities propelled a comic career that spanned more than half a century. >> this tremendous work ethic. so everything that she got in life, she really earned it and earned it the old-fashion way. >> reporter: she was born as joan malinski, drawn to performing at an early age. her big break was in 1965 when discovered by johnny carson. for 20 years, she would be a frequent guest and guest host on nbc's tonight show. >> you were the first one to say you're funny. so thank you for that. >> reporter: but their friendship abruptly ended in 1986 when she agreed to host her own late-night show competing
against carson on fox. a moment that rivers described in the 2010 documentary "joan rivers, a piece of work." >> the first person i called was johnny carson. he slammed the phone down and slammed it down again and never spoke to me again. ever. >> reporter: her show lasted just eight months. not long after, her husband of 22 years, edgar rosenberg committed suicide. saddled with debt and an uncertain future, rivers reinvented herself as an entertainment commentator. she pioneered the live red carpet interview concept. >> she's the legend of the red carpet for sure. nobody butchered more