tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC April 25, 2015 7:00am-9:01am PDT
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jenner's interview. but first in nepal hundreds of dead after a devastating earthquake. >> good morning, we have to go straight to break news out in nepal. hundreds are dead after a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck nepal's capital this morning. officials say at least 876 people have been confirmed dead but that number is expected to rise. tremors were felt across the region hundreds of thousands of miles away in pakistan and bangladesh and there's reports it triggered an avalanche on mount everest. kelly is following developments from london. what more do you know about the impact of the quake and on going search for survivors right now? >> we're hearing more about the
situation on mount everest. about a thousand climbers were believed to be in that area when this earthquake and subsequent avalanche hit. that's according to the governments tourism ministry. we understand that ten are believed to be dead on mount everest with an unknown number missing. two tents are filled with the injuries. communications are extremely difficult particularly on the mountain. they're having trouble contacting people. people are having trouble contacting friends and family to let them know that they're okay but the situation on mount everest does not sound good. we heard from two climbers one said he was on the mountain when the earthquake started. he felt the tremor he and another person hid behind a large bolder in order to protect themselves from falling rocks. another man was caught up in the
actual avalanche and survived it and felt as though a huge wave was blowing over him from the back. he of course was rescued. as for the situation that's where most of the damage is. people are trapped in buildings and rescuers are still trying to dig them out. the numbers of dead are in the hundreds. several hundreds. the red cross is mounting a rescue effort at this point. >> thank you. we'll check back with you later this morning for updates. on monday morning, baltimore will mourn and bury a young man by the name of freddie grey. he died last sunday a week after he was arrested in baltimore by baltimore police amid circumstances that left him in a coma. what his family's attorneys said was a severed spinal cord. it remains unclear what happened
to grey. at 8:30 in the morning on sunday april 12th four police officers chased him and another man on foot. their reason an officer said he made eye contact with them and they began running away. within a few blocks officers caught up with him who stopped voluntarily. still by standard video of the incident provided to nbc by a lawyer for grey's family shows two officers holding his face down on the ground with his hands and feet behind his back. at this point he was crying out. police said he asked for an asthma inhaler because he was having trouble breathing and didn't have his own inhaler with him. police did not give him an inhaler and didn't call the paramedics. videos show him dragging him to the police van. we're going to play a piece of the video and we want to warn you that it is disturbing. [ screaming ]
>> i've been recording. i've been recording. i've been recording. he on a bike. him right there. >> i got it. >> he was placed in the back of the police van. his hands still handcuffed behind his back. police officials acknowledged they didn't put him in a safety restraint as they are required to do by department rules. the van stopped shortly after it drove off. police say he was acting irate. they placed him in leg irons and put him back in the van. at this point he had his hands cuffed behind him and his legs shackled together. according to police he was still not wearing a seat belt. 40 minutes later after stopping to pick up another suspect the van arrived at the police station. at this point grey could not speak or breathe. police called paramedics that took him to the university of
maryland shock trauma center. he underwent surgery on his spine. he was in a coma for days. on sunday he died. people have taken to the streets demanding to know exactly what happened. >> don't shoot. don't shoot. >> six officers involved have been placed on paid suspension pending investigations by the police department. major mayor says she will conduct a transparent process and punish any wrong doing they find. >> our community is very clear. they demand answers and so do i. i still want to know why the policies and procedures for transport were not foldlowed. i didn't to know why none of the officers called for immediate
medical assistance despite mr. grey's pleas. we all know because of this incident a mother has to bury her child. >> the federal justice department is also investigating the incident as a potential civil rights violation and in the meantime protests continue. a parade of images and demands that have become all too familiar. what is hopeful in this moment is how many people are now familiar with these images. stories of citizens dying at the hands of police are not new but there is something undeniably different about what is happening now. what is differ now is who is paying attention. what is different now is that story of unarmed men killed in police custody have become mainstream. that grey's death and the protests were on the front page of the new york times and became the lead story on all three broadcast evening news shows. what is different now is the hope that we can turn this attention into meaningful lasting reform. joining me is the criminal defense lawyer and host of the
docket. and professor of social psychology at ucla and president for the senor for policing equity. a community organizer here in new york and john shane an associate professor at john jay college and retired captain with the newark new jersey police department. phillip, why is mr. gray dead? >> i wish i knew. we had a team on the ground when news of the death came out. we were surveying officers as part of what we do to create an evidence base in here. we had an opportunity to speak with officers confidentially and to speak with residents in baltimore. what we heard from people was that it is not uncommon during transport for people in lots of cities not to get seat belts. in fact in some cities they don't even have a divider. they don't even have anything you can hold on to. that means if you resisted or weren't eager to get into the police van you're going to be
handcuffed and the phrase that came up much often was gently tossed weith with no ability to know when sharp turns are coming and no ability to brace yourself and it's often a dangerous ride. >> so i hear you and clearly there's something going on with what happened in the van but i guess for me part of my question is whether or not by focussing on the van ride we're missing that the first set of injustices may have occurred in the context of the stop itself. as far as i can tell and we don't know everything but as far as i can tell in this moment there's not evidence that mr. gray was involved in criminal activity. even of the selling of loose cigarettes cigarettes. >> exactly. we can look at the video and see clearly before mr. foreman gray was put into the van his body was limp. it also want to note it was brave for citizens to be equipping themselves with cameras now and taking image of
these police encounters. i was able a few years ago to work in maryland on a successful campaign and part of the work was community building. i would go to meetings to build coalitions and members in the community would come out and talk about this practice. when i first heard it two or tree three years ago and you had families with old polaroids at the meetings. it's very good. and from a lot of the stories of organizing in baltimore maryland that there's things that could have taken place before he got into the van. we should pay attention both to the van ride and also what transpired beforehand. >> so obviously at some point we're going to hear official reports from the police about what happened but given that we just saw officers in north charleston south carolina
clearly openly lie about what happened in that case why should i believe anything that police officers say. >> it's a great question but it's a rhetorical one which is so often -- which is what i love about the law. there's always two sides. there's always the he said she said and with scott in north charleston and here today i don't have two sides to give you and i usually do. there is no other side and i'm so glad you bring up the stop because that's where john and i -- this is our wheel house. 4th amendment. search and seizure. why was this kid stopped? and i don't know because there's no surrounding evidence as opposed to walter scott, there was at least an explanation. >> can i answer that? >> well a couple of quick things from a policy and practice perspective i agree to you. we have to boil this down and look at what happened in each little segment. we need to know what happened during the stop when that initially took place. we need to know what took place during the ride but what's
really key about the 4th amendment issue is the federal government says in it's decisions that wholesale flight is suspicion enough to justify a pursuit. at the state level the court decisions maybe different. for example, in new jersey it's not by itself reasonable suspicion to undertake a foot pursuit. where can we reconcile that and what were the factors that lead to this to begin with and why were some of the policies violated and what happened and when did these injuries occur. >> listen i truly do not want to be in a position of feeling like there is irreconcilable differences between the police and community, it says the images seen on television look and seem much like a link mob in that they're calling for immediate imprisonment of the
process. to use lynch mob to talk about protestors using their first amendment rights in the context of -- i have to say this james bird was stopped on a street in jasper, texas and tied to the back of the truck and dragged until he was dead. what's different about what happened to him. >> we don't know what happened. we can't certainly make that anlage. we have no idea. if i were a union official i certainly would not have chose their language. unions have their place. they're important. something that most people don't recognize is when a police officer is aaccused of a crime they don't give up their 5th or 4th amendment right simply because they're accused of a crime. so when the union tries to defend them in that way they don't necessarily do them a justice with that kind of language. if you're going to keep quite because you have a right to do
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. in baltimore yesterday he gave an update on the department's investigation into the death of freddie gray. >> we know he was not buckle in as he should have been. no excuses for that period. we know our police employees failed to give him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times. >> joining us from baltimore is the former police commissioner that served from 2004 to 2007. you said you think this case offered baltimore some sliver of hope why do you think that?
>> i think so because we have discovered a lot of things were done wrong in that incident with mr. gray. this is a time for us to make our department better. make our department come into the 21st century. it serves as an opportunity to recruit better and it serves as an opportunity to train better and train differently. it serves as an opportunity to super advise better differently and to discipline better. >> so i'm wondering in part you are just with us just now bringing into the 21st century you talked about the issue of training. i understand that when we think that what's happening is a bias question when we think what's
happening is a officer that is afraid for their own safety that's responding out of potential stereotypes they're not aware of. that doesn't seem to be the case in what's happening here. this seems to be a case of explicit choices that were made. why would training impact this? >> training would impact it because what would happen and the way i see training is you bring in the community and you have police officers actively train with the community so whatever prejudices and biases police recruits may have and whatever biases that citizens may have of police officers you start getting each other involved in meaningful dialogue and you come to find out that we're more alike than different and that all of us want the same
things things. >> i want to come to you on this. the past two police chiefs in baltimore have been african american. the past two mayors in baltimore have been african american. the sense that we are more alike than we are different, that should be true but is there something that is happening here about police rather than just being about race. >> yeah i think in your questions and the conversations we have been having off camera and before is part of what folks are picking up on is there's the exhaustion with the idea that something is subtle with what we're seeing. what we're seeing is not subtle. when you talk about irreconcilable differences my hope is that we see that ir respontaneousre they're not between the law and community.
they have to use necessary force to make the arrest. in the u.k. we have a standard of proportionality which we don't have here. we just have self-defense on use of force. we don't have proportionality. if we had that law i think there would be less daylight between the way our legal system is set up to protect and not protect certain kmuns andcommunities and the way our values are protected. >> i have to disagree. we have two components of use of force. a necessary component and proportionality component. you can't shoot and kill a jaywalker but if they're coming at you with a knife or a gun. but you wouldn't be shooting and killing them disproportionally due to what they're doing to you. >> which is the fleeing felon rule. you can't chase someone down and use deadly force unless there is the threat to you and the community. >> that's correct. >> officer ham in baltimore, i
want to get you in before commercial break. it's hard to look at what's happening in baltimore right now. there's a massive protest this afternoon. and feel a sense of hope and activism of people pushing back but the very idea that people have been pushing back now for months and months in the public space and yet these incidents are still happening, i guess i'm wondering what it takes for this activism to turn into change. >> all i can do is speak to what's going on in baltimore now. i think that the leadership of baltimore, especially the government of baltimore realizes we can't do things the way we have been doing time and time again around this country. we have seen incidences like this and i think that citizens are ready to make a complete change and see that we can stop
these incidences from happening. >> thank you to leonard ham in baltimore maryland. and up next we expand out beyond baltimore. when we come back. [cat meows] [laughs] ♪meow, meow, meow, meow...♪ ♪meow, meow, meow, meow...♪ it's more than just a meal it's meow mix mealtime. with 100% complete and balanced nutrition and the taste, textures and variety cats love, it's the only one cats ask for by name. your kids get used to sweaty odors in their room. they think it smells fine, but you smell this... eliminate all the odors you've gone noseblind to with febreze fabric refresher. mmmm... so you and your guests can breathe happy. introducing the citi® double cash card. it's a cash back win-win. with 1% when you buy and 1% as you pay. with two ways to earn on puchases, it makes a lot of other cards seem one-sided.
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breathe right lavender in the sleep aisle. >> she was 22 years old when she was shot. they paid her to settle the wrongful death suit. the officer was charged with involuntary manslaughter. the officer was off duty when he drove his car up to a group of people including boyd in a dark alley near his home. he warned them to be quite. as he started slowly driving away they saw one of the men in the group move toward his car with what he thought was a gun.
the officer said he feared for his life. the prosecutors said he quote fired five shots blindly over his shoulder into a group of people. one of the bullets hit her in the back of the head. her family believed it was a rare chance at justice. but this week before the trial was even over the judge cleared the officer of all charges. the judge said that prosecutors failed to prove that the officer had acted recklessly when he shot her and it's a requirement for a man slaughter conviction. it's common sense that firing a gun into a group of people is reckless. but it's not reckless by the legal definition. the judge explained that illinois courts found time and again that firing into a crowd constitutes an intentional act and not a reckless one so the
officer striking her in the back of the head and killing her could not be the basis for a man slaughter charge. the judge said shooting into a crowd is an act so dangerous it is beyond reckless. it is intentional and the crime, if any there be is first-degree murder. because of double joeeopardy rules the state has no recourse in the case. he is free and the union is immediately beginning the process to get him back on active duty with the chicago police. so if i live in chicago, why wouldn't i run when i see the police. >> exactly. >> no black person in america has reason to believe that they are going to be safe in the midst of police officers. there's an activity that i do whenever i talk to panels where i ask everyone to close their eyes and imagine a world where you feel safe and secure and just and i ask them to picture
who is around them. what does it feel like? usually grandmothers their home or in church. never are there police around or body cameras or more jail cells or cop cars on the streets and yet we are told that this is what justice means and this is what safety means. now while i am frustrated of course to see a system where we're asked to defer our anguish to unfairly apply the law i don't think that indictments equal justice. we have to have a conversation about what that means outside of indicting cops. >> that feels to me like such a critical point. particularly once boyd is shot and killed. the idea of whatever happens to this one police officer constituting justice or even change in the department and yet let me come to you seema on the prosecutorial question. it's also an issue of not only police community interactions but why should i trust the
system either? i don't know whether or not the judge made the right legal decision in this moment but it certainly feels fundamentally unethical. >> this trial shouldn't have been a bench trial. it should have been a jury trial. there should have been 12 people to decide this. so that's my first question. why was it a judge trial. the second issue is the prosecutors charging the involuntary manslaughter under a reckless theory because the judge said when he shot over his shoulder into the crowd, that corroborates intent. >> is it because they think that's the most you can get away with with officers? >> no it's because it's akin to prosecuting your brother or sister and that is why we need special prosecutors. >> tell me what you mean by prosecuting your brother or sister. >> because the police department is as if it's an arm or leg of the prosecutions body. whatever the da's office. so when you have that person that usually -- this is the officer that is my witness.
this is the officer that goes to crime scenes with me. this is the officer that i call at night to strat apologize and now i'm going to prosecute him. how could you do that without bias. get someone else from a different jurisdiction equally capable to look at this case through an unbiased lenses. >> you know john i hear this idea that if i close my eyes and think about what it is like to be safe officers not being in the room and not being around me but yet i think that moving toward a space where -- these are also kmuncommunities most plagued by a variety of vulnerabilities that would suggest that they as tax paying citizens have a right to the security that police offer. the fabric is so frayed at this and i am usually an optimist and losing hope very swiftly here. >> let me say one thing.
a couple of things. i don't agree with the verdict. they should have let it play itself out and heard the defense's argument. and number two the superintendent in the chicago police department has an opportunity to hold that officer acountiable through a disciplinary conference and let that officer now mount a deference and see where that goes. >> why would they say let's get him back on the force as soon as possible. >> that's the union perspective. >> that's from the union perspective. that's understandable. they have the ability to undertake a disciplinary conference and let that come out and find out if he violated department policy it's although they can't try him again on a state level. >> do you carry proof of purchase when you ride your bike? you know in case the police stop you and ask for a receipt?
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[chorus singing:] ♪ roundup max control 365 ♪ with no more weeds it's your year. >> more on the breaking news we have been following out of nepal. the death toll continues to climb after an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8 hit the area. the last report was 876 but the search for survivors is on going. many people are feared to be trapped inside the ruins. joining me now on the phone is alina shrestha. from world vision. a humanitarian organization that focuses on children and families. you were with your young son when the earthquake struck. how are you doing now? what's happening around you?
>> my son is in the car. >> alina, i know that many people -- it sounds like you're offering some shelter what are the things people need to do in order to be safe at this moment. >> i cannot hear you. >> what things are people doing to try to be safe in this moment. >> at the moment what we're doing is ensuring people have
things. people are already affected. they fear after shocks because. [ inaudible ] >> alina shrestha joining us by phone. please be safe. we'll have another update in the next hour. >> now to another story making headlines here in the united states. it may have been the most anticipated se anticipated celebrity interview of the year so far. bruce jenner who rose to fame as an olympic hero and went on to be more famous as part of the kardashians ended months of speculation about a clear change of appearance. jenner opened up to diane sawyer in a two hour interview that aired last night.
>> for all purposes i am a woman. people look at me differently. they see you as this macho male but my heart and soul and everything that i do in life. it's part of me. that female side is part of me. that's who i am. >> jenner who says that he prefers to go by the pronoun he revealed he struggled with gender identity for years. he has been undergoing hormone therapy for a year and a half but has not made up his mind about reassignment surgery. we'll have more from his interview and what it means for thousands of other transgender americans in our next hour. and up next what's going on with the bike rides in tampa florida? but here's the thing, about half of men over 40 have some degree of erectile dysfunction. well, viagra helps guys with ed get and keep an erection. and you only take it when you need it. ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex.
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neighborhoods for stopped based on obscure bike laws. the tickets are for things like running stop signs or not having lights. the tampa police write a lot of these tickets. over the past three years tampa has issued more bike tickets than the city's of jacksonville miami, st. petersburg and orlando combined. even when they're not writing tickets they use traffic regulations to stop question and detain residents of what the department says are high crime areas neighborhoods where they're often poor or black. they went through 10,000 issued over the past 12 years an found disturbing stories. money african american man was stopped and handcuffed while the police verified he had borrowed and not stolen the lawn mower he was towing with his bike.
another had his bike confiscated and impounded for 90 days because he couldn't produce proof that the bike was his. something the officer deemed suspicious because the bike is worth over $500. the tampa police chief is defending the practice crediting the practice with bringing down crime rates. joining me now is one of the reporters that broke the story. camille stanley and we're having technical issues with our remote studio so this morning she'll be joining us by phone. you found that the officers are being pushed to target people riding bikes in these neighborhoods. why? >> so we found that officers are encouraged to use this as a practice to come into contact with people that may be criminals in these high crime neighborhoods so we found units
where certain squads were awarded for doing these bike stops and they really use it as a way to come into contact with a lot of people they think might be at the stop. >> is there anyway to see that as good policing? the chief is saying crime has gone down but is it? >> crime is going down but it has gone down for several decades. when we asked the police chief if she was attributing these directly to bike stops she said no but this is clearly one thing they feel like they had in their tool box to use. >> now are similar kinds of violations, these questions about, you know having -- you know, how close you're riding to the curb and whether or not you have lights on your bike are they being as heavily policed in white neighborhoods or in wealthier neighborhoods?
>> they are not. over the past dozen years there's been more than 10,000 tickets issued by the tampa police department. what we found was that they are not being handed out for the most part in affluent parts of town. >> so since we just have you on the phone here i just want to ask you one more question here and that is so this police chief went to the president's task force on policing and said at that time every encounter is an opportunity to build a positive partnership in the community. it creates trust that must be the foundation of our relationship with our citizens. if your reporting have you found that these bike stops create a foundation of trust with the citizens of tampa?
>> we spent months talking to these people. everyone from young kids to older men that tell the same stories about getting stopped on the bikes and having officers flip them over to see if they're stolen and check the cerealserial number or more interested in what they have in their pockets. this is not something that residents see as positive. >> thank you for joining us by phone. when we come back i'll ask about the tampa police department and bring in the rest of my panel to figure out if there is something we august to be doing differently. on) oh no... can you fix it, dad? yeah, i can fix that. (dad) i wanted a car that could handle anything. i fixed it!
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it kind of ridiculous almost that like biking while black of it all i think that most distressing thing for me is knowing that this police chief had been at the -- because you and i have talked multiple times about the idea that this white house, this report coming out from d.o.j. after ferguson and now new policing techniques and i go oh but if the people who were there are doing these practices at home i'm looking for something to hold on to. >> they listened to 130 experts -- i think you're right. there's opportunities to do that. the problem comes when bicycle stops are for the safety of
teenagers riding without helmet. >> safety for the cyclists. >> and the same way that traffic enforcement is a reasonable thing you want to do that to make sure that in the areas where there's high accidents you say stop doing these things that are dangerous. the thing that's so important about the reporting is it looks to me as if they looked to see where the bike accident is happening and where are the stops happening and when they don line-up that's a reason for reporters and communities to be concerned tharsz concerned. that's where your values are right. your actions may not line-up with it. that's the area where there's a problem. >> it feels to me like part of what's happening here is -- when i say biking while black, we talked about walking while black, in the case in the freddie gray watching the video and seeing and hearing his agony i keep wondering is there no
benefit of a doubt given to a black person in public space. if that is true if riding an expensive bike in black body inherently generates suspicion then that is the new jim crow. that's what jim crow was is that black bodies in public space are inherently suspicion. >> yes. i want to mention two things -- i think it's so ingrained that you don't have to have a white person around to have white supremacy play out. >> just pause for a second. what you just said there is going to be difficult for some folks to hear because the discourse of white supremacy can often mean academic discourse. but for ordinary people sitting at home may say did she call all white people racist. >> so tease that out a little bit. >> i will do my best. >> i recognize that it's hard on
a tv show. >> with an institution like american policing that i believe is founded on anti-blackness, on slave patrols there are things so institutionally ingrained in terms of how we police communities that are anti-black. they may not say in the language that they'll stop and target black people but when you do this type of proactive policing much akined to stop and risk this effects black and brown and poor communities. this would be almost comical this story in tampa if it wasn't so scare. you have 11 year olds boys as young as 11 being stopped on their bikes in tampa. this is introducing children to the criminal justice system at an early age. >> this is part -- i'm glad you paused on that because part of what is important here and this
gives me the least sense of optimism. it's not about individual bad actors walking around with negative believes. now those people may exist but that that's not required for the system to reproduce a kind of racial equality. all of you all, like how then to get beyond the idea that we put a few bad officers away. that sort of thing. >> it's not about the bad officers or the bad apples. it's the apple barrel. it's the situation where they have to go in. when i try and explain what the science can bring to anything what i try and say is bigotry has never been the problem. bigotry is a problem but it's never been the problem. it's the chronic situations that happen over and over and over again. you were talking about biking while black and driving while black, how about just being afraid while black because when you're afraid when you don't feel safe in your own skin you do things like avert your gaze
you move and run away. those are all the things that guilty people supposedly are doing but that's what a system that doesn't trust black people causes black people to do. >> right. there's that incredible research where they just show the outline of a person and determine whether or not there's shifty movement but if you could see the catigorization. we won't have answers here but it's important to recognize there aren't easy answers to this. seema is going to be back in our next hour. but i want to say thank you. in our next hour what are we to take away from bruce jenner's interview with dianne sawyer but should the state be in the business of killing people that live here in the united states. more at the top of the hour.
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we have new information on the devastating earthquake that violently racked nepal this morning. rescues are still searching for survivors. it leveled century's old temples and triggered avalanches in the himalayas. tremors were felt hundreds of miles away. kelly has been following the developments from london. kelly. what kind of updates are we getting from people in the area that are able to access the internet? >> it's been difficult to get much information out of nepal. some people have been able to post updates on twitter for example and we have also been able to speak to some people through text messages talking to them as they're on mount everest. that quake triggered an avalanche which buried part of the base camp. at least ten people have been killed on everest. one climber describing hiding behind a huge bolder to protect
himself from falling rocks. another climber who was caught up in the avalanche told us it felt like wind in the back but more powerful. then he said he was just surrounded by snow. i couldn't see my own hands. of course melissa he is one of the survivors. lots of people injured on the mountain and throughout the country. >> what is the latest from the red cross and it's efforts. >> well the red cross is mounting a relief effort in nepal. the red cross director for asia pacific said they haven't been able to reach a lot of their staff in the more remote villages. access roads are damaged or blocked by landslides, kmun kags communication lines are down. one man that lives about 50 miles told the associated press that he said quote, our village has been almost wiped out. most of the houses are either buried by landslides or damaged by shaking. half the village folks are either missing or dead.
he said they don't know what to do and they're feeling helpless. at least four countries melissa are affected by this. nepal primarily but also india, tibet and bangladesh. >> thank you to kelly in london. msnbc is going to continue to follow developments in nepal throughout the day today. now we turn now to news here in the u.s. this week we were reminded in graphic detail of the terrifying aftermath of the boston marathon bombing that killed three people caused 16 to lose their legs, and wounded hundreds more. during the penalty phase for convicted bomber tsarnaev victims and a dozen amputees gave testimony of the horror that occurred at the finish line. they heard from the professional dancer that called through
broken glass dragging her bloody leg along the pavement. i just kept singing that i was a ballroom dancer. and then healthther abbott that's leg was amputated. they heard too from david king who testified that martin richard, an 8-year-old boy did not die instantly. and that quote, he felt pain much more primal. steve, whose leg had been severed also spoke of the youngest victims testifying that his 3-year-old son was bleeding from the head. it smelled like burning hair blood, and sulfur. adding i was completely terrified. i didn't know if i was ever going to see my son again. the penalty phase will continue well into next week and potentially beyond and earlier this month the jury found that tsarnaev now 21 is guilty on all
counts in the bombing trial. process cue tors brought these victims to the stand for one reason. to convince the jurors that tsarnaev deserved the death penalty. in order for that to happen the verdict must be unanimous. in court papers prosecutors site many reasons for seeking the harshest penalty. one that tsarnaev has a lack of remorse. an argument reinforced when the u.s. authority's office released video of the defendant flashing his middle finger at a security camera in his holding cell. jurors saw a still frame during the prosecutions opening statements and then again on wednesday when the defense played several minutes of the video. and even for the most hated man in boston the state of massachusetts, like the country, remains divided. in fact massachusetts made the death penalty illegal more than 30 years ago and the majority of bostonians oppose it. a poll conducted five months after the bombing said 50% of people supported a life sentence
while 33% favored death. still similar to timothy mcvey he is considered a defendant whose crimes engrajranged the nation. this is a case that tests the arguments of those that oppose capital punishment. when guilt is unquestioned. when the crimes are horrifying. when the possibility for redemption seems slim is this the time to allow for the death penalty? and if it is what happens to all of us when our government kills solely as an act of revenge? joining me now is former prosecutor and now criminal defense attorney. the executive religion editor at the huffington post. journalist for the intercept and board member of the campaign to end the death penalty and a criminal law professor at the new york law school. so lillian, let me start with you. is this the time to allow for the death penalty? >> i would say no as somebody
that is opposed to the death penalty but i would also say this is certainly not the time to respond to a traumatic event with re-embracing of a public policy that's a failed public policy. it's failed at every level and i think that we have decades of criminal justice policy that has been passed in the wake of a traumatic event, a horrifying murder. the death of a beloved public figure and in the wake of these events we pass public policies that we tell ourselves and we tell other people are going to keep us safe, protect us from these tragedies, and, in fact the opposite is true. it leads to more tragic results and we have seen that with mandatory minimums. we've seen that with sex offender registries which are a disaster. we've seen that with the drug war and any number of failed public policies. >> so i hear you and i am very
strongly in opposition to the death penalty but let me say this, i don't think in this moment that we think the purpose of putting tsarnaev to death is about protection or deturrent. it's about retribution. >> yes but not revenge. it's about limited but proportional punishment. revenge needs no limits and can be wrongly directed. this is a case about correctly delivering the correct punishment for the correct person. that's an act of retribution and not revenge. >> why is that different from the citizen who may be taking the life of this individual. >> you didn't identify the public. this is a federal crime and federal prosecution and therefore the public opinion polls we need to think about if we're thinking about the moral
judgment is the people of the united states. if you're talk about how to correctly anticipate and predict the outcome then of course it's the people of massachusetts but it's only people exposed to the evidence this jury has been exposed to around people qualified which this jury is and the people of massachusetts are not. >> i have to be honest. so i am pro death penalty but on a case by case basis. i think there's so few of us in the world who spend every day this close to evil and when you are this close to evil working with evil, defending evil trying to put evil back in the streets you have a different perspective. >> what makes tsarnaev evil? >> i don't think he should get the death penalty. because of his age. his brain is not fully
developed. we know that his brother was involved. the defense is going to show that the brother was the creator of this crime. >> let's say that he was 30. he's not but let's just say he was 30 and there wasn't a brother involved and all the other fact of the case were true. would you then believe that he was evil? so for me i guess the problem is we just spent an hour talking about police officers who have been responsible for the death of people who are unarmed and the responsibility of the death for those individuals is terrorizing to those communities. >> sure. >> right. it may not happen as an act of terror purposely which is a different thing but it's terrifying and terrorizing for those kmuncommunities. we do not and should not identify those officers and evil. so i guess for me part of it is
i worry there's a social construction of evil here that presumes that certain kinds of victims and certain kinds of violent crimes are those we have a right to behave in an act of retribution toward. >> i just want to quote pope francis which is someone that has spoken clearly about the death penalty. he says there's a populism that comes into effect where we identify evil and decide we can destroy evil by destroying a life which is completely misunderstanding what evil is. it doesn't live inside one person. it's within our society in various manifestations. evil will not go away because this young man is put to death or not. >> yeah. >> but i think we do need to pause and recognize the pain. and frankly i have to be real and say i would be so tempted
toward this kind of revenge -- i think it is kind of a revenge -- >> but i want to point out that the parents of the 8-year-old boy -- >> that's right. >> you talk about the relevant public here and i think this is important, i promise i'll let you weigh in on it but i want to tell people that the parents of the 8-year-old who stood there and had to actually triage their own family said that they are not in favor in this case of the death penalty. in part because they believe it will continue to reopen wounds because of the rights to appeal. >> but it's not up to them. >> no it isn't but i'm saying paul is saying i would be tempted in this moment. >> the emotion. this is a real real issue. but i do think that that's where we can turn to the moral leadership in fact the bishops and catholic bishops and also i think opinion is changing in america. the opinion polls have
completely reversed. it is still more on the side of pro death penalty but they are closing. i will also say interesting in these polls, black and latino religious kmunltcommunities are opposed to the death penalty why white are not. >> there's a very clear set of reasons we'll stop here. we'll stay on exactly this topic as soon as we come back. i'll let you right back in. ere they grow. a barrier forms so weeds can't appear - serious weed prevention up to a year. [chorus singings:] ♪ roundup max control 365 ♪ so i'm fighting weeds on opening day and preventing weeds while i get away. weeds stay dead as we carve this beast, and they still aren't back when i cook this feast. [chorus singings:] ♪ roundup max control 365 ♪ one more time let me make it clear. with no more weeds it's your year. this is an allen family production. and here's why we love chex. one, choices like chocolate, vanilla and honey nut. two, no artificial colors or flavors. three..it's gluten free.
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the killing was especially heinous and acruel. the betrayal of the united states. the selection of the site. the lack of remorse. we could go on. the aggravating circumstances are heenormous. he's 19 years old or he was then. think about that for a second. suppose a 19-year-old or 18-year-old or 16-year-old runs into a burning building to save children up alive. do we say oh that was impulsive, that was the product of a not yell fully formed brain. no of course not we celebrate the good character and heroism and rightly so. we can celebrate to good character and heroism of our best young adults surely we can condemn the cowardness and selfishness and viciousness of our worst. you heard about -- the pope was mentioned. yes the pope is against the death penalty. that's right. what you didn't mention is the
pope has also come out against life without parole and any life sentence whatsoever. so we're not only abollishing life without parole but the death penalty and life in prison. then you heard about the tragedy in the 8-year-old's parents and that raises the question of the survivors and what their views are and whether they should count. they came out against the death penalty not because they were against it in principle but because they didn't want to continue to suffer. they wanted to put an end to this. they're not going to put an end to it for themselves. what they will put an end to is tsarnaev. their opinion should count. the one that should count the most is the victim him or herself. what it says is if i am ever -- if i die as a result of a violent crime i request that the person or persons who are found guilty for my killing should not be subject to or put in jeopardy
of the death penalty. i think that should be admitted in evidence. this should count. we should care what the victims want. but it's not by the way. >> i appreciate the point that the victims and victims families should matter but ultimately i do think this is a question that is beyond the individuals impacted and is about who we are as a state. the most troubling for me is the idea that the united states of america being under attack is part of how we take into account the decision about whether or not someone is kind of eligible for this sort of retribution. so at various moments the notion of the social construction of the state that is the united states of america may or may not be in line with what i think are the fundamental moral and ethical principles of humanity. it may or may not.
those that attack the state and the u.s. are somehow more vulnerable to the death penalty. >> we need to look at the death penalty as it is carried out. look at the first-person we executed this year in the state of georgia. severe ptsd. this was a vietnam veteran living on the margins of society. he constructed a cabin in the woods and modelled it after what he recalled his barracks in vietnam to be a damaged person frankly. cecil clayton was missing 20% of his frontal lobe. in real life on this issue, these are the people that are executed in the name of the state. >> in other words it's rarely as clean as the tsarnaev. >> absolutely. >> i appreciate what you're saying but there is a process to
get to the penalty and those would not have been put to death if it had been proven that they were mentally incompetent and couldn't have been put to death. >> what's hard for me i hear you, i do but what's hard for me to connect is hour one of mhp show and hour two of mhp show. i can't spend an hour questions whether our criminal justice system is even slightly fair and then say i need to hand you the ability to take the life of people. >> are you asking the question of if the officer like the one that executed walter scott in that park today does he adeserve the death penalty. >> for me the answer is of course not. >> my answer is different. >> i understand that and i even respect this is such a critical issues that differences of opinion can come from good people of all kinds but what i am saying is we actually don't ask that question. so i think for me if we asked it the answer would be no of
course not. if we asked it the answer for you would be yes, absolutely. but we don't even ask it. we know that if the victim is a person of color. if the victim is someone poor or officer of the law we don't ask it. that makes me think what are we doing when we put someone to death. >> we are very concerned about race in the death penalty. >> we have to go. we'll take a commercial break and come right back right on this topic.
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when i'm shopping for a used car, i want to be comfortable. i don't want an aggressive salesperson breathing down my neck pressuring me into a decision. when i go to the supermarket there's no one pushing me to buy the more expensive cereal. i just want to shop like i do everywhere else. ♪ ♪ as long as people drive cars carmax will be the best way to buy them. >> governor would you favor a death penalty for the killer. >> i don't. i oppose the death penalty all of my life. i don't see evidence that it's a
deturn and there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime. we have done so in my own state and it's one of the reasons we've had the biggest drop in crime of any industrial state in the america. why we have the lowest murder rate of any industrial state in america. >> that was the then governor in the second presidential debate against george h.w. bush in 1988. it remains the most memorable exchange of the entire debate and some people watching at home were outraged. they viewed his response to his wife's hypothetical rape and murder as dismissive and dispassionate. it hurt his white house hopes. he testified on behalf of a friend of tsarnaev who was eventually convicted of lying to fbi agents in the boston marathon bombing probe. he served as a character witness and shared he had taken him to the 2004 democratic national
convention. so i cut you off just before the commercial break. >> it's all part of the same thing. you said more than once in the name of the state. in the name of the state. it's being done in the name of the state. not in the name of an abstract entity the state. and evil is real. you see more of this distraction. that's why the people turned against him because instead of talking about what the killer and rapist would deserve he talked about deturrents. that's not why he should be executed. not to keep us safe. tsarnaev should be executed because the past counts. to keep a covenant with the dead. for the sake of one word justice. >> for me of course evil is real but the idea it can be killed in an individual is the notion that that action actually generates more evil in the world
rather than less. >> i appreciate it. i appreciate justice. i'm not sure justice is served. on my behalf i do not want him killed. i want him imprisoned and i just think the idea of killing a human life is never a good idea. it never solves anything. it -- we don know. i'm so angry about boston as well. we don't know what 20 years from now this young man could turn into someone who actually is a spokesperson for reconciling islam with america and -- we don't know what this life is going to lead to. so the idea of ending any life for any reason is for me just not something i want done in my name. >> can i just point one thing out? i have a few clients serving life sentences, life without
parole. one is doing two consecutive sentences. he spends time in and out of solitary but his life doesn't suck. he actually has a pretty good life. he is a high ranking gang member. he runs his gang business. he has one of the other inmates acts as his chef he gets french toast and bacon and has a good life. that's the point, right? the punishment issue because you want to take away the joy that that person stole from so many other people. that is the point. the punishment. >> i couldn't agree with you more. i spent thousands of hours inside maximum security prisons and on death row interviewing convicted and condemned killers. the fact is just what you say. life begins when the sentence of life begins. i asked the corrections officers what's your mission and they answer one word safety. i want to keep the people safe from these guys. i want to keep these guys safe from each other. i want to keep the staff. so what about the fact that the killers are playing volleyball
and softball and watching first run movies and getting good food. their answer is what a guy did out there is none of my business. i only care how he behaves when he is inside. we make it easy for them because it's easy for us when it's easy for them. you talk about the reality of the death penalty. let's look at the reality of what daily life is for those serving life. it's not worse than death because if it were how come the suicide rate among lifers is neglible because they could kill themselves and they choose to live. >> i have spent time in prisons and interviewing people that worked on death rowand just in the prisons and what i have been struck by and we're talking about proximity to evil this idea of evil is i they part of it it's not just that it makes their life easier it's that they actually see these people as human beings. they're not these monsters they have -- they are human beings
who have committed in many cases terrible crimes and both things can be true and that's really at the heart of what we're discussing here. so the idea that proper punishment and that justice means infinite punishment basically torture i completely reject that. i reject that idea. if i could just say every time we have a debate about the death penalty we go back to this moment in 1988 and this cautionary tale for people seeking public office. it's very important to remember this is not 1988 anymore. so much has changed. as of this month 152 people have been exonerated from death row. anthony hen on the, poor black man from alabama. 30 years on death row. in the past week alone we've seen an incredible story in the washington post that shows that the tip of the iceberg of what bad forensics can lead to. we've learned so much about the evidence that sends people to death rowand how flawed the system is at every level.
adaptive steering. ♪ the 328 horsepower q50 from infiniti. >> before bruce jenner's interview last night 2015 was a milestone year for transgender awareness. president obama became the first-person to use the word transgender in a state of the union address when he condemned the use of the abuse of people gay, lesbian or transgender. and transgender actress laverne cox was recently cast in a new network tv drama. but bruce jenner's revelation before millions of tv viewers
may be the biggest sign of a cultural shift. in an exclusive interview with dianne sawyer he ended months of speculation about the reason behind his changing appearance. >> for all intents and purposes i am a woman. people look at me differently. they see you as this macho male but my heart and my soul and everything that i do in life it is part of me. that female side is part of me. that's who i am. why now? i just can't pull the curtain any longer okay? i have built a nice little life. i just can't again, bruce lives a life. she is not a lie. i can't do it anymore. >> the former olympic icon and reality tv star who approved the use of the pronoun he during the interview revealed that for decades he struggled with gender identity. he says he has been undergoing
hormone therapy but has not made up his mind about reassignment surgery. the lbgt advocacy group had this response, bruce jenner shined a light on what it means to be transgender and live authentically in the face of unimaginable public skrutcrutiny. stories like this help create a world in which everyone can express their gender identity without fear of violence. for more on what this means for the americans that identify as transgender, the executive director of the national center for transgender equality joins me this morning. so obviously there's months of speculation about jenner's gender identity and a lot of that has been occurring in tabloids. i'm wondering if you believe that the interview and discussion of the emotion and life experiences that jenner has been experiencing will bring a greater awareness to transgender
lives. >> i sure do. you know i think most importantly for me is i know last night there were trans people children there were teenagers, senior citizens watching this and saying that's me and it's going to be okay and i have a chance. that's the most important thing but also just america got to see somebody tell their own story. somebody who they wanted to listen to. who was just so honest and full of integrity. i thought it was a home run. >> transgender activists talked about this hypervisibility and invisibility. so all of this curiosity about physicality and imbodiment without a lot of understanding of the legal and economic and social discrimination associated with it. i'm wondering how we take kind of jenner's hypervisibility and
bring attention to policy issues that impact transgender women and men. >> yeah, that's really the question that we have been struggling with over the last few weeks and when we have decided to do is just take the ball and run with it. we have op eds going up that talk about these horrible bathroom bounty bills cropping up in state governments and what they mean to transpeople. to focus people on an understanding that we are facing real serious violence problem now in the united states. and real serious economic problems problems. so while it's spectacular that bruce general bruce got to tell the story we have tried to get as many people as possible to tell their stories. who has helped us a lot with that is all of the local affiliates of not just abc but other networks as well that brought other people to tell their stories as well. >> i want to map out some of the
realities in transgender lives. transgender workers report unemployment at twice the rate of the population as a whole. you talked about violence. it's worth pointing out that we talked about black lives matter as much this year. that seven transgender women have been murdered in 2015 and very few people are talking about that. that there is a housing and homelessness problem. even 55% of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals saying they get harassed by shelter staff. how do we take story telling and turn it into policy that affects these realities. >> well, you know our organization is really mostly about policy but what we know is we can't do that work without these stories happening. without people going to their
mosques and churches and telling people there about their truth and their classmates about their truth. so the stories are really the most important part. the part that's going to make americans really understand that they know transpeople. that's what is going to do it and i just really honestly have to do a call out to you for the amazing pioneering work you have done with let trans people have voice on your show. it has mattered so much melissa. >> mara i greatly appreciate that today. thank you. >> you're welcome. >> and up next how to be funny in washington. on purpose.
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celebrities. it's a notough room for the comedians that host the event and the presidents that try their hand at stand up comedy for one night. >> these days the house republicans actually give john boehner a harder time than they give me. which means orange really is the new black. some folks still don't think i spend enough time with congress. why don't you get a drink with mitch mcconnell they ask. really? why don't you get a drink with mitch mcconnell? we gather in the midst of a heated election season and axel rod tells me i should never miss a chance to reintroduce myself to the american people. so tonight, this is how i'd like to begin. my name is barrack obama. my mother was born in kansas. my father was born in kenya.
and i was born of course in hawaii. >> this year saturday night live's cecily strong will be the fourth woman to tackle the job of headlining the event. she talked about her strategy to keep the crowd entertained. >> you've got one of the most powerful audiences in the room. you have the leader of the free world right there. >> i'm going to ask for a lot of favors. >> ask for favors. it's also a very corrupt room. >> i want an ambassadorship. >> belgium here you come. >> yes, waffles. >> waffle diplomacy very porn. >> that's what you want to do is point out the stupid things. there's a lot of stupid going on. >> joining me is someone that knows all about what it takes to crack up an audience. actress and comedian judy gold. she is currently playing eleanor roosevelt in clinton the musical that has a new podcast called kill me now. you're doing political comedy. what is it to do good political
comedy. >> good political comedy is smart. let's start with the fact that obama is a great comic. he has perfect timing and do you know what the thing is he's self-afacing. he doesn't say hey i'm teflon. he sort of using this as a way to say everything he needs to say in a funny way and when you're trying to get a point across the most palatable way to do that is through humor and i always say, you know i was on the road for years and years and these guy comics i mean dressed in sweat pants and, you know, the hair coming out of the ears, the girls are all over them because funny really trumps everything. meanwhile i had to get a ride home from someone. >> funny is good. and for me it is always my favorite moment of the year with this president because it's the moment when he mentions to us
that he noticed all the bs. >> right exactly. >> and sometimes you're watching it because he's no drama obama and this president is very cool sometimes you think does he know -- and he's like yes, i know. >> i have been listening to everything you have been saying and i am -- you know he does do it in such -- it's class syy the way he does it and it's funny. the key is that it is really funny and we all -- come on you have to love the guy. >> i'm hoping given that we're in the last couple of years of the second term that maybe he'll be full like obama unplugged and it will go like really -- >> he has nothing to lose here. >> nothing left to lose here and i'm sure he'll go off on the lame duck and cecily strong that, you know for her, she has to follow the president and it's all about the joke writing and being prepared and not looking at these people and saying oh my
gosh i'm in front of this one and that one. they're just people too and a lot of them can't take a joke. those are the best jokes. the donald trump jokes, the chris christy jokes. it's so great to have all of these people there. you know what you know let's take it all off now. and a lot of people don't know this, it's more difficult when you're going to them rather than when they're coming to you. >> your house. your table. >> so if i'm in a club i have no idea who these people are. they just want a great show. that's great. but when you have the court jestujest jester there's so much pressure. >> i suspect cecily strong will -- >> it's great. >> it will be a good night. >> i think it will be great. >> thank you to judy gold and if you're in new york be sure to catch her as eleanor roosevelt in clinton the musical.
you can catch the white house correspondence center tonight on msnbc with live coverage of the event from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. eastern and you can catch crystal ball and janet mott live from the red carpet streaming on shift. up next we have some fabulous news to report on the favorite 6-year-old doctor.
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this is doc mcstuffens and not her first appearance on mhp. in fact she's a regular around here. but just in case you are new, allow me to introduce her. the lead character of a hit cartoon op disney junior that carries the same name. at 6 years old she is a doctor to her stuffed animals and toys. her stethoscope magically brings them to life. now doc's mother is an actual people doctor and quite clearly doc's inspiration. >> then i'm going to paste this
patch on again. wrap it up. and then i think we should check you into the clinic for the night. >> great. did you say i had to stay here? >> overnight? >> i know it seems scary but sometimes it's good to be near your doctors and nurses in case you need help. i had a bad fever once and i had to stay in the hospital overnight. >> you did? were you scared? >> a little at first, but they took really good care of me. i was home before i knew it. >> such a good bedside manner. allow me to make another introduction introduction, this is lucy in this video. she's 2 years old there and lucy is being held by her dad who happens to be this show's producer. lucy and her dad are really big fans of doc mcstuffens and
lucy's dad was trying to convince me that doc mcstuffens was a big deal a pop culture rarity that could have a real social impact but i needed a little bit of independent sourcing so i called my daughter parker who was 10 at the time and asked if she heard of doc mcstuffens. well she hadp. parker told me doc is awesome, smart and cool and yes doc is a little black girl like her. parker felt an african-american girl as a central character in a mainstream children's program was inspired and parker wasn't alone. little doc was also a point of pride to some real-life doc mcstuffens. black women doctors like aisha taylor in texas found inspiration in the doc character. she and others formed a society which now has a membership of more than 4700 women physicians of color worldwide. the show was pitched initially without fae artwork and it was disney's idea to make the doc
character african-american. the show's creator chris knee who had the idea doc's dad would be the one at home most of the time. back in september of 2013 chris was on this show and explained it was because clearly doc's mom was at work. >> it was this moment i had to really check myself and say okay, if she's a doctor and she's a successful doctor dad needs to be at home. some day we'll learn he has a catering business but i also think it's great he's at home and cooking and taking care of the kid. >> the show rates among the top five series for kids 2 to 5. the toy line was named one of the most influ wengsal of all time by "time" magazine and the doc line of band-aids became the number one licensed band-aid brand among girls. we are pleased to tell you doc and her creator chris can add one more item to their long list of acomments.
citing for disarming inspiring story telling doc mcstuffens will receive the peabody award on may 31st. congratulations to doc and everyone who helps bringing her to life. that's our show for today. thanks to you at home for watching. msnbc show will be on again tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. eastern. kenjo will be here ahead of tuesday's supreme court arguments on marriage equality and a segment not to be missed. right now it's time for a preview of "weekends with alex witt". >> hello. thank you so much. everyone, of course, bruce jenner breaking his silence, new reaction from step daughter kim kardashian how their family is handling their announcement and read some of your tweets and facebook posts about what you think. also the debate about drones and the growing calls for an in depth review of the program. and the fall of saigon 40 years ago. former senator bob kerrey and later tom hayden join me live. don't go anywhere. i will be right back from
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. breaking news overnight at this hour. a devastating and deadly earthquake in nepal. new and dramatic pictures rescue operations under way with reports of many trapped. we have a live report ahead. jo stormy skies could be a weekend of potentially dangerous weather in parts of the country. where might the worst hit, the forecast in minutes. s the bruce jenna saga new reaction today to what many are calling a powerful and poignant interview about his future. in tech trends it has changed the way we view the internet and some ways life. the future of youtube on this a big anniversary. >> it's high noon in the east 9:00 a.m. out west welcome to "weekends with alex