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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  July 8, 2016 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT

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washington and new york and as the evening goes west with the time zones, in cities across this country. our coverage continues here, of course. for the top of the next hour, we will throw it to chris hayes in dallas, texas. chris? brian, thank you very much. good evening from dallas. i'm chris hayes. this is msnbc's continuing live coverage of the deadly ambush attacks on police in this city last night. not too far from where we are right now. as peaceful protests continue tonight in cities across the country like you are seeing, tonight in atlanta, last night here in dallas, a gunman opened fire on 12 officers, killing five of them. two civilians were also wounded in the attack. the events unfolded at the end of a protest march over the recent police shootings of african-american men in louisiana and minnesota. cell phone video from the scene last night captured the rapid barrage of gunfire as police rushed to the scene.
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[ gunfire ] >> the suspected gunman is dead, identified today as 25-year-old micah xavier johnson, u.s. army reservist who served in afghanistan and had no criminal history. a search of his home in a dallas suburb found bomb making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition as well as a personal journal of combat tactics. investigators believe he was the lone gunman, as authorities said this morning police had cornered johnson in a parking garage last night but after hours of negotiating, they say they had no other option but to detonate a bomb to end the standoff. moments ago, dallas mayor mike rawlings described how police delivered the bomb that killed the shooter. >> the same automated robot equipment to detonate and defuse
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bombs was used to place c-4 in place and to detonate that. this was a man that we gave plenty of options to to give himself up peacefully and we spent a lot of time talking. he had a choice to come out and we would not harm him, or stay in and we would. he picked the latter. >> dallas police chief david brown said this morning that during the standoff the shooter told officers he was angry about the deadly police shootings in louisiana and minnesota, that he wanted to target white police officers. >> he was upset about black lives matter. he said he was upset about the recent police shootings. the suspect said he was upset at white people. the suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.
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>> nbc's craig melvin has been covering the story here in dallas all day long and joins me now with more. for folks that are getting home right now from work and tuning in to a story that maybe they left this morning or last night, let's just sort of compare what we thought happened last night and what we know now. >> at one point last night it appeared as if there were multiple shooters, for instance. at this point according to officials at least, one lone shooter, it looks like this 25-year-old managed to go from floor to floor in one building. he was shooting and moving. at one point it looked like there were multiple weapons involved. at this point it looks like, this is some information we have just gotten in the last hour, it was an sks rifle and hand gun. an sks rifle is one of these long guns, typically used in a semiautomatic fashion. it's from the '40s originally, traces back to the old soviet union. but this was his weapon of choice. the investigation behind this, very much an active crime scene. you have 20 blocks of downtown
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dallas still shut down for the better part of the morning and the afternoon. you had police officers literally walking around looking for shell casings, picking up the shell casings. >> last night also there had been indications that the shooter had when cornered threatened that there were ieds that were unexploded, that were left all around the city. my sense is that that has essentially been cleared by police. >> police this morning said they found two suspicious devices. we did not hear that those devices even had to be detonated. yeah, it sounded like -- sounds as if there were no bombs planted. >> we had -- the other thing we heard this morning, it was confusing throughout the day, are there other suspects. this line from the chief last night that i think everyone found chilling in the extreme which was multiple shooters triang la triangu lating. the other three suspects, one has been charged with an unrelated weapons charge but they have also been cleared? >> that is our understanding. however, during that news conference, there still seemed
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to be a bit of ambiguitie. but they insist he acted alone, lone gunman, but this was also clearly based on what was hauled out of that apartment today, according to officials, this guy had been planning this for some time and it's actually a bit surprising to a lot of folks that more people didn't lose their lives here in dallas. >> craig melvin, thank you for that. always good to have you on the scene. thank you very much. last night's violence interrupted what had been a peaceful demonstration in the wake of recent police involved shootings. dallas officers on the scene were even posing for pictures with protesters during the march. soon after the shots broke out, dallas police wrongly identified demonstrator mark hughes, who was legally carrying a rifle during the protest as a suspect in the case. after the shooting, hughes promptly turned over his legal firearm to authorities and later turned himself in to authorities once he learned take his photograph had been made public in connection with the shooting. i'm joined by mark hughes along with his -- along with sarah of
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the dallas morning news. great to have you here. you were on the scene last night, right? >> right. i got there about 30 minutes after the shooting began. immediate aftermath. >> what was the scene like? >> it was really tense. at that point, officers did not know whether the scene was secure. it was not secure. that's why they didn't know where the suspect was. so there were a lot of tense interactions between police who were trying to protect the public and the public, who were still upset from the protest and media who were trying to get closer to see what was going on. at one point, there were media, i was one of them, lying on a hill, a grassy hill, getting down because the officers were instructing us to get down because we didn't know if there would be more violence but still trying to capture what was going on. >> you could today, you can appreciate the raw level of chaos that it appears this one individual armed with two guns, with it appears some degree of training, served in afghanistan, we will talk a little about that, the sense that i have seen
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from every witness, from everyone on the ground was that this was a coordinated attack by multiple individuals. did it feel that way in the aftermath? >> right. it did. because at the time, we didn't know -- there was no identified shooter or suspect. we were hearing multiple suspects. there were arrests on i-35 interstate at the same time as being a shooter who was trapped in the parking garage. there were multiple things going on. i was told by witnesses at the time of the shooting bullets were bouncing around, just sounded like there might have been multiple people shooting. >> what was your sense of the atmosphere among the police officers who must have been at the peak level of adrenaline, also in the wake as the news comes back, i have seen some heartwrenching photos and total grief. >> i mean, they were very very stoic. a lot of them really were just standing guard stoically all night and in the tense moments they were very concerned about protecting those still on the
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scene, still watching. one screamed, said get back, get back, this is not a video game, we don't want more casualties here. they just wanted people to take it seriously. >> sarah mervosh, thank you very much. really appreciate it. we are learning more about the victims of the attack, among those who lost their lives in tr tragedy are michael krol, from michigan, who spent the last eight years with the dallas police. patrick zamarripa of the dallas police department, father of two who spent eight years on active duty with the u.s. navy serving three tours of duty in iraq. and 43-year-old brent thompson, a dallas area rapid transit authority officer who had married a colleague just two weeks ago. i'm joined by the d.a.r.t. police chief, james spiller. i want to first express our condolences for your loss. >> thank you very much. >> how are you doing? >> we are hanging in there. it's been a long day. same thing for our officers. but everyone's hanging in there. they still have their heads held high. we are going to get through this.
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we took a good shot. we'll bounce back. >> what was going through your mind as this played out last night, as you were starting to get the initial reports? >> you know, it was almost unbelievable. because you think not in dallas. that's just not something we are known for in dallas. but you know, reality sets in, that's the world that we deal with today. so we quickly, the officers quickly responded with the way they had been trained. i think what was really great was you saw two different departments perform as if they were one. they immediately made sure the protesters were trying to get them to safety, so while others were running away, they were running in, then trying to get back to the officers, engage the suspect. it was a total team approach the way we expect them to train. i have to tell you, our department, d.a.r.t. police department, dallas police
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department, performed admirably and had they not reacted the way they did, i think we would have seen far greater casualties and injuries with persons that were there for that march. >> this comes on i think i got to say one of the worst weeks i have ever covered in american life. it feels profoundly upsetting what's happened this week. how are you feeling and what do you want to tell folks that are watching this develop? >> you know, i tell you, it's heartbreaking. just what you see in america today with the way police -- let's say granted, there are some things we haven't performed admirably all the time but we made sure we have taken actions to correct those. we are continuously taking those actions. the president came out with a task force with what did he call his task force, 21st century policing with different pillars that everyone is seeking to
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adhere to. i was just recently at the white house participating in the discussion on those pillars. we are training to those pillars in that department, i know here in the north texas region they are all training to those. but we can't train to what we are seeing from the public. >> what do you mean by that? >> the incident last night. there seemed to be a total disregard for what police are here to do. i say we lost two individuals last night that are veterans that served in iraq. so they went and served our country by helping other countries and yet, they come back to our soil and they are killed not by someone on a foreign soil. that's disturbing. >> it's unbearably disturbing. do you think about that as this lone individual with an axe to grind, with a sick set of beliefs that he acted upon? do you think that that is something you attach to the broader public? >> i don't think it's the broader public because i can tell by the support that we have
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gotten today, yesterday and that we continually get from the north texas area, the state of texas. i have gotten e-mails, calls from throughout the united states, toronto, canada, london, england. so it's not prevalent but we have to figure out how do we tackle these type of individuals. there are a lot of things that we have to deal with. if individuals need help we need to make sure that we have the social service organizations that's willing to give them help and we have to address the broader issue. you know, this was a lone individual but this is a bigger issue. >> chief spiller, i really appreciate you taking the time. >> i appreciate you having us. thank you. >> send my regards to all your officers. >> we sure will. thanks a lot for having me. >> as we mentioned, nbc news has confirmed the identity of the suspected shooter as former army reservist micah xavier johnson from mesquite, texas.
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authorities are trying to piece together what happened last night and what drove the alleged shooter to commit this mass murder. for more on that i turned to msnbc's jacob rascone outside the shooter's house in mesquite. what have we learned about this individual? >> reporter: we have actually learned a lot in the last hour or so because we have had detectives and atf agents going inside the house for several hours today. we just learned what they found. this is the mesquite neighborhood where neighbors say he grew up, then behind me, i'm going to show you, this is the home where neighbors say he lived with his mother for many years. as i said, detectives and agents were in and out for many hours. they found bomb making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition, and some sort of journal that documented some tactical training that he was undergoing. one of the neighbors who we talked to lived just behind the gunmans house, says that he noticed that in the backyard, the gunman would dress up in his
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army uniform and carry his rifle and would go through sort of obstacle courses that he would build in his backyard. now we know that police are telling us that he was training heavily from some sort of attack that may very well have been inspired this week by the shootings that he saw, officer-involved shootings of black men. his aunt tells nbc news that she believes that's what drove him to do what he did. chris? >> jacob, my understanding is as of now, investigators have been fairly definitive about no links to other groups, no sort of plot, no sort of conspiracy, that this appears to be the work of this one individual. >> reporter: in fact, that's true. we had all morning, we thought, because the police chief and others were saying that there might have been more than one sniper shooting from above, but in fact, multiple senior law enforcement officials during the day told nbc news that they
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believed after looking at more of the evidence and what they found inside of this home, that he was the lone gunman and in fact, just an hour ago or so, the mayor came out and said that we believe he was the lone gunman and the city is safe. what the investigation is now looking into is whether there were any co-conspirators or anybody like his mother, a neighbor, anybody who might have known about the attack beforehand. that investigation is ongoing. >> all right. we should stress we have no evidence in that direction. thank you very much. as we mentioned earlier, soon after the shots broke out last night, dallas police wrongly identified demonstrator mark hughes, who is legally carrying a rifle during the protest, as a suspect in the case. after the shooting, hughes promptly turned over his legal firearm to authorities, who later turned himself in to authorities once he learned his photograph had been made public in connection with the shooting. joining me now is mark hughes and his brother, cory. i want to start by saying it is great relief to see you safe
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after lft night. that was a terrifying moment. >> absolutely. >> take me through what happened last night. >> well, i decided to come to a protest. i wore my firearm. everything was peaceful. it was an enjoyable moment and then chaos broke out. once the chaos broke out, i was -- i found out i was a suspect in murdering police officers. >> how did you find out your picture was circulating as a suspect? >> i received a phone call. i received a phone call that i had just been seen on a media outlet which it did surprise me because my brother had just did an interview and i was in the background so i took it as they were telling me they seen me on the news, and they notified me that no, you were a suspect in the shooting. >> you saw that image of your
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brother circulating and what did do you then? >> well, i went into panic mode, number one. then i went into defense mode. i thought that it was imperative at that time for me to reach out to the authorities and let the authorities know that hey, my brother was accounted for, the weapon that he brought down, he turned over to the law enforcement when chaos broke out and i thought it was important for me to clear his name immediately because i was afraid for his life. like i have been telling people all day, we were here protesting a young man that was killed by the cops because he was legally carrying a firearm. so to heighten things, cops were being shot at here in dallas, he's a young black man with a gun, let me hurry up and let them know that it wasn't him. >> what was going, when the shots rang out, it seems so, from the folks we talked to and the coverage we have seen, it just seemed so unthinkable to everyone there. what was flashing through your mind when you heard that sound? >> well, i actually didn't hear
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the sound. while i was in the crowd, we couldn't hear it. we just seen a multitude of people running back. i actually thought it was maybe a fight that had happened. so i actually didn't hear any shots rang out. >> i heard them. it was quite scary. i was in the front of the protest with some of the other organizers and we were actually ending a peaceful night of protesting and then you heard just rapid fire. some louder, some quicker in succession, and you know, the first thing i thought was orlando. i thought someone had come in and started shooting and i didn't know what direction he was coming from. so once i kind of got my bearings, i took off running and started instructing people to go back the opposite direction. after that, my next thought was let me find him so we can make sure we get this firearm into the authorities' possession. >> you described the night of protests as peaceful which everyone has talked about and shown pictures of. talk about the protest before those shots rang out. >> well, i think it was just a
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moment of us being in unity and letting the citizens of dallas know that we stand with ferguson, we stand with louisiana, we stand with minnesota, because some of the same issues they have there, we have here except for a lot of them haven't been caught on camera. we wanted to let people know that we stand in solidarity with them and that we are provoking change as well. so it was a great time. it was a great time. it was blacks, whites, latinos, different faith based organizations were here, and it was one of those moments where the crowd was energized, there was a lot of momentum. we were marching. the cops were friendly with us because they understood our cry. then just chaos broke out. >> i want to ask you a question. i have covered the open carry movement here in texas and have actually interviewed open carry activists, texas, the 45th state to institute open carry. a lot of people saw that picture and thought why would you bring that gun to a protest? >> because it's my right. i have the right to bear arms.
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i didn't see an issue with it. that's leike asking me why woul i put a shirt on. i have the right to put a shirt on. >> let me speak further to that. we have had the privilege of traveling to other protests and there's always a group of white men with guns exercising their second amendment right and it's never a threat, never a problem, they are never targeted. but it just seems to me to be quite a coincidence or maybe not so much coincidence that the one young black man that had a gun becomes a prime suspect for the country when something like this happens. >> all right. cory hughes, mark hughes, i'm very glad you're safe. >> thank you very much. >> when we come back, i will be joined by the secretary of homeland security, jeh johnson, exclusive new details from the final standoff between the dallas police and the shooter. our coverage continues from dallas right after this. don't go anywhere.
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news just in to us. the white house has announced president obama will cut short his european trip by a day. he's going to visit here in dallas early next week. joining me from new york is the secretary of homeland security, jeh johnson. mr. secretary, first, i just want to get your reaction to what we have seen here in dallas. >> well, thanks for having me on your show, chris. i just came from police plaza here in manhattan where we did a press conference with the police commissioner and the mayor. i wanted to today demonstrate solidarity with our law enforcement community, our police officers. i think it's important that all of us in dallas, in texas and across the country stand with police officers who serve and protect us. in terms of what's happening now in dallas, i think it's important for us to note just as the shooter last night is not
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representative of the movement to peaceably bring about change with certain police practices, police officers who engage in excessive force are not at all representative of the broader police force that serves and protects us on a daily basis across this country that happens in communities large and small. police officers serve and protect the public. they are public safety officers, sworn to possibly risk their lives at a moment's notice, and so on a day like this, it's important not to paint with a broad brush those who are seeking change through peaceable means as directing violence and hatred toward police officers and it's important not to brand all police officers for the actions of a few. >> you head up a department that
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was of course somewhat controversially created in the wake of 9/11. it is part of your job in the government along with i would say the department of justice and the fbi to protect america from terrorism. there are many people who call after various mass shootings, i have been in charleston and in san bernardino and orlando and now here in dallas, this term, what does it mean to you? was this an act of terrorism? >> well, there are many different definitions of terrorism. this was clearly an act of hate. we know that from the statements the individual made himself about the police, about white people. the investigation is still early, it's less than 24 hours old. i think we want to know a bit more about this individual's affiliations, who he may have been in contact with. we can i think say at this point as you noted earlier on the show that the individual does not
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appear to have any links or affiliations with any foreign terrorist organizations, isil or al qaeda, but it's still early in the investigation and i think we want to know a lot more. law enforcement, federal, state and local is working overtime right now to learn everything possible there is about this individual before we put that type of label on this particular act. that is not to say that what happened last night in dallas is any less terrible than an act of terror but there's more to learn, i believe. >> i just mentioned having gone through the massacre in charleston, by and about white supremacists, two mass shootings, san bernardino and orlando by people that pledged allegiance to isis, last night's mass murder in dallas by someone who said they wanted to kill police officers, white police officers. >> let me say this, chris. i have said this for some time now. the global terrorist threat that
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we face is evolving to include terrorist inspired attacks. those who self-radicalize and for their own reasons, commit actions of mass violence. very often, the label we choose to put on something depends solely on the motive. though the actions could be the same, the weapons could be the same, the victims could be the same, so in that respect, it's becoming more complicated to put labels on a lot of the mass violence that we see and it reflects the evolving nature of the threat we face here in the homeland. >> this gets precisely i think to my point about your job, which is you are tasked with preventing and the fbi and many arms of government are tasked with preventing attacks and how can you prevent a lone
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individual, self-radicalizing along whichever ideology, armed with a weapon perhaps legally obtained from carrying something like this out? >> chris, it's a whole of government approach. in fact, when you were conducting one of your last interviews i saw one of my vehicles drive by in the backdrop there, one of our federal protective service vehicles. it's a whole of government approach. militarily, we take the fight to terrorist organizations overseas. we are going to continue to do that. we are taking bacteria tok terr killing leaders of the islamic state, those focused on external attacks. here at home it includes the law enforcement effort, federal, state and local. i also believe it is critical that public vigilance, public awareness is something that we continue at, public vigilance and public awareness can and has made a difference. it's important that we continue to build bridges to various communities across this country, not just the american muslim community but a number of
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communities where there is somebody in their midst who may be turning toward violence. this is a whole of government effort and we are going to keep at this. but you are correct to note that the situation and the environment has changed since the department of homeland security was created in 2003. we have got to adjust to that and we are adjusting to it. >> secretary of homeland security, jeh johnson, thank you for joining us. appreciate it. up next, exclusive new details about what happened in that final confrontation between police and the shooter. later, reaction from the community here in dallas including local president of the naacp here. it's in the quiet moments when you see why she does this. for hillary, it's always been about kids. and when millions couldn't get health care, this first lady worked with republicans and democrats to fix it. creating the children's health insurance program, so that every child gets the health care that child
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for more on what happened in the final confrontation between the gunman and police, let's bring in scott freeman, lead investigative reporter at nbc station kxas in dallas, doing amazing work all night long. thank you for making some time. it must have been an incredible scene. what happened? >> i wasn't there right as the shots started but we got there shortly afterward and it was still just an incredibly tense scene. as we tried to walk into the area we had officers guns drawn coming right at us saying get down or move to the side. they were trying to move people out of the way for their safety but in the darkness and the chaos there, very scary situation. they couldn't tell where the shots were coming from. that's what was frustrating them the most.
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the sounds in the downtown area bouncing off of the buildings, very very hard for them to tell the direction of fire. >> at a certain point, they corner this individual in essentially a warehouse, right? >> in a college building. yes. law enforcement source with knowledge of what went on inside there tonight tells us that the suspect during this hours-long standoff with police -- >> it went several hours? >> several hours. it was not anxious or afraid. in fact, it was singing, laughing at times with police. continued to reiterate his dislike for police officers, particularly white police officers. talked with them about the fact that he had military training so they were aware that they were dealing with somebody who knew how to handle a weapon and who also was wearing a military style bulletproof vest during that situation. he also told officers that he had been training for this, working out and preparing specifically for an attack like this. >> the decision today when chief
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brown said this morning in the press conference that we used essentially a remote device, a robot, to send a bomb in and kill the suspect, i think there was a lot of people saying is that something that -- i mean, is that something they have done before? is that something new? >> to our knowledge, it is not something they have done here in dallas before. i'm not sure if it's been done other places in the country. officers i talked to today said it simply was the safest way in their opinion to end this situation versus risking another officer's life by trying to go around a wall that was in between them. i'm told that the suspect continued to threaten them that he was going to come around the wall and charge them. at points during this confrontation. so they just felt there was no way they could risk additional lives and they made that decision to send the robot in. >> we saw the video of course of him essentially rushing a police officer, sort of assaulting through combat veterans have been describing it.
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so clearly, they knew what they were dealing with. >> absolutely. one source i talked to said that the officers had obviously seen what had gone on in the street, they had seen the precision with which this person was firing and that really had their attention. a source describes to me sitting on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of intensity, last night was a 30. >> thank you so much. i really appreciate you taking the time tonight. scott friedman, lead investigative reporter at our nbc affiliate here today. i should note one thing. that tactic of using essentially remote control device with an explosive has been used in iraq but as far as we can tell, never here in the u.s. until last night. earlier today, attorney general loretta lynch voiced support for protesters. >> to those who seek to improve our country through peaceful protest and protected speech, i want you to know that your voice is important. do not be discouraged by those who would use your lawful actions as a cover for their heinous violence.
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>> black lives matter network participated in the protest in dallas yesterday, tweeted black lives matter advocates dignity, justice and freedom, not murder. joining me, arthur fleming, president of the dallas area naacp. mr. fleming, let me just start asking you by how you are feeling in the wake of what happened yesterday. >> of course, we are saddened by what happened. nobody wanted that to happen. the march was peaceful and it's unfortunate that one troubled ex-soldier felt that he needed to do that. >> what is your feeling about the relationship between folks, particularly people of color in dallas, and the police department? there has been lots of attention paid to chief brown, reforms he's instituted and a lot of people have pointed to dallas in some ways as a kind of model of certain kinds of police reform. what's your read on it? >> i want to give him credit for actually implementing community policing program but there's clearly a lot more work that need to be done. i'm hoping he will continue to
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do that, engage more of the community leaders. that's what i like to see him do. >> have you been in conversations with the chief? i know he also has had -- he has sort of been getting critiqued by officers themselves, police unions have actually been quite vocal in their criticism of him. how are those sort of political relationships with this man who sort of seems to be in the center of a lot? >> well, you know, he came up through the ranks and so i guess it probably left a lot of political bad taste in some of the people's mouths, i guess. that's what i'm hearing. but as far as the way he's handling this situation i think he did a pretty good job. >> we are seeing, i don't know if we can show them in the control room, we are seeing protests tonight in a number of cities, including atlanta, georgia. there is also protests in new york. what do you think about when you think about when a protest, peaceful protest like the one that happened last night, would look like in this city given the way last night ended?
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>> are you saying another protest, if we had one here? look, i believe that we protfted for 30 years here. this is the first time we have ever had anything like this. the dallas naacp, i'm working with some area chapters. what we are going to do, we want to right this so we are going to be looking at doing another type of assembly to try to get everybody back on track and focused. >> mr. fleming, thank you so much for taking the time. >> thank you, sir. >> arthur fleming, president of the dallas area naacp. up next, the political reaction to what happened in dallas including lester holt's interview with hillary clinton. gary, gary, gary... i am proud of you, my man. making simple, smart cash back choices... with quicksilver from capital one. you're earning unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, everywhere. like on that new laptop. quicksilver keeps things simple, gary. and smart, like you!
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i believe that i speak for every single american when i say that we are horrified over these events and that we stand united with the people and the police department in dallas. let's be clear.
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there's no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement. i would ask all americans to say a prayer for these officers and their families, keep them in your thoughts and as a nation, let's remember to express our profound gratitude to our men and women in blue, not just today, but every day. >> welcome back. that was president obama today speaking about the deadly ambush on police here in dallas. the president currently attending a nato summit in poland although he will be heading back early to visit dallas. here at home the attack sidelined campaign events by hillary clinton and donald trump. clinton postponed her first appearance with vice president joe biden. she did address, however, the shootings in an event of the african methodist episcopal convention in philadelphia. she also spoke with nbc's lester holt this afternoon. here's some of that interview. >> president obama has spent eight years on this and hasn't been able to move the needle. how will you move the needle on race relations? >> here's what i believe.
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i believe we need a national conversation and we start showing respect toward one another, seeing each other, walking in each other's shoes. i think we have to show our support for our police under very difficult circumstances, particularly as we have seen in the last day, the bravery of police officers running toward danger and being shot down. at the same time, we have got to do criminal justice reform and we need national guidelines about the use of force, particularly lethal force. so routine traffic stops don't escalate into killings. >> let me talk about the climate in this country. in this campaign specifically, it's been very heated. mayor rawlings here in dallas talked about asking people to stop fighting each other in this country from the pulpit, from the political spectrum, to choose words carefully. do you think the environment, the heated campaign, the rhetoric, has at all contributed to the climate that allowed this
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to happen? >> i think the mayor is right, lester. i think that something has been unleashed in our nation where people are saying cruel and hateful things about one another from all kinds of vantage points. >> meanwhile, donald trump canceled his trip to miami, where he was set to meet with hispanic business and community leaders. in a tweet he offered prayers and condolences to all the families, so thoroughly devastated by the horrors we watch take place in our country. joining me is congressman hakim jeffreys of new york. congressman, that lester holt question, there does seem to be this year some feeling deep in the kind of pit of the stomach of a lot of folks i talk to, certainly people of color, also white folks, conservatives, liberals, that there's some kind of ugliness that has been
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unleashed this year, whether it's the violence we have seen or some of the rhetoric i would say particularly coming from one side of the campaign. do you feel that way? >> well, this has been a particularly tough week, filled with unspeakable pain, suffering, tragedy and loss. it's difficult to really answer that question in a dispassionate fashion while we are still in the midst of trying to grapple with what has happened in baton rouge, louisiana, in minnesota and in dallas. but it certainly is the case that the intensity does seem to have been racheted up going back to what happened in san bernardino and a few months before that in charleston, south carolina, when those nine individuals were tragically killed in the church down in that state. then of course, the situation that happened in orlando and the fact that members of the lgbt community seem to have been particularly targeted. it's been very complex involving
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issues of race, of sexual orientation, of religious challenges that we confront, the rise of isis and their willingness to strike here in the country, and so these are some complex issues. it's a leadership moment. i'm confident that both president obama and secretary clinton will rise to the occasion. america's a resilient country but we have to pull together and not retreat into our respective corners. >> the congressional black caucus today reiterated its call for a vote on gun safety legislation. that's something they have been -- the entire democratic caucus has been pushing for since orlando and takingun precedented step of sitting in on the floor of the house. are you hopeful that there will be some sort of movement on that, given the fact the one uniting thread from mass shooting to mass shooting to mass shooting across ideology,
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across geography, has been access to the weapon? >> i think it will be important for congress to act and to act in a meaningful fashion as you point out. if you go all the way back to the tragedy in newtown, connecticut where one individual was able to kill 26 people including 20 children, and then of course san bernardino, you had two individuals were able to kill 14 people in a holiday party, in orlando, one individual because of the fact that he had a weapon of war, was able to kill 49 individuals, in charleston, south carolina, in an instant, one individual able to kill nine god-fearing americans, what unites these particular tragedies is the presence and access of guns to individuals who should not have them and the fact that they have been able to purchase weapons of war and then unleash them on the american people is something that we have to deal with in the
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united states congress. and i'm hopeful that my colleagues, democrats and republicans, will see fit to do so soon. >> i have been interviewing a lot of police officers over whether that is a justified sense or not, that is definitely a profound sense that i found, widespread. what do you say to police officers who are saying that's how they feel? >> a majority of police officers are hard working individuals, they're there to protect and serve. as we just witnessed by the bravery of the dallas police department and those officers who were running toward danger, not running away from danger, and there actually to protect and respect the ability of people to peaceably assemble and
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to exercise their first amendment right to protest, police departments all across the country are to be respected and to be admired. but at the same time, we can't ignore the fact that we do have a problem with the excessive use of police force, often directed at african american men, resulting in tragedy. whether that's the eric garner case, tamir rice, walter scott, freddie gray in baltimore and of course the two instances that occurred just this week. and what is painful to a lot of folks, often, notwithstanding the presence of strong videotape evidence, these officers escape accountability from the criminal justice system. and so we have to deal with that very real problem as well if we're going to move past the type of pain and suffering that we've seen this week in america. >> all right, thank you, congressman, appreciate it. >> thank you, chris. >> told you earlier about donald
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trump's statement about the shooting late today, he posted a video statement to facebook. take a look. >> the shooting of the 12 police officers in dallas, texas, has shaken the soul of our nation. just a few weeks ago, i met with many of the men and women in the dallas police force during my visit to texas. they're not just police officers, they're mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, and they're all on my mind today. they're on everybody's mind. a brutal attack on our police force is knoan attack on our country and an attack on our families. we must stand in solidarity with law enforcement, which we must remember is the force between civilization and total chaos. every american has the right to live in safety and peace. the deaths of alton sterling in louisiana and philando castile
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in minnesota also make clear how much more work we have to do to make every american feel that their safety is protected. too many americans are living in terrible poverty and violence. we need jobs and we're going to produce those jobs. racial divisions have gotten worse, not better. too many headlines flash across our screens every day about the rising crime and rising death tolls in our cities. now is the time for prayers, love, unity and leadership. our children deserve a better future than what we're making them live through today. but to get them there, we must work together and stand together. we will make america safe again. >> i'm joined now by marq claxton, retired nypd detective, director of the black law
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enforcement alliance. someone pointed out to me, in the wake of the two new york city police officers in 2014 who were assassinated, in the wake of this horrendous murder that happened here, there is no debate, there is no one saying, well, everyone understands, recognizes it, for the horror that it is. earlier in the week, when we see those videos of those two individuals in falcon heights, minnesota, and baton rouge, louisiana, there are people who say, they didn't comply, they did this wrong, they did that wrong. as a police officer yourself, why can't there be the same exchange of empathy in both directions? >> it's a feeling and sensation me personally, i believe that. i believe there should be equal empathy for situations involving senseless violence and random violence, criminal activity, et
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cetera. i think the police mentality, in large part, because of the insular nature of many police organizations requires there be an us against them mind-set, or they are against us in some way. that's played out in many different forms, whether it be at the labor negotiation table, the political conferences, or whether it be talking about issues that relate to police reform, et cetera. it's the very nature of police agencies, police departments and officers to be resistant to change and to really feed off that feeling, that sensation that it is us against them and we can only explain that ourselves. >> and is that because there's a sense -- you know, i've been thinking about the fact that the police officer in many ways, johnny cochran, as one of his arguments, he said police officers are the most powerful person in the criminal justice system, they can take your life from you. the prosecutor, the judge can't
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do it. and yet, people say they're quite powerless, as micromanaged, beset on all sides by critics. is that part of the psychology that gets us into this bunker mentality we see so often? >> definitely. without a doubt. i think any police officer will tell you, we have a tremendous amount, an awesome amount of authority, but there's a tremendous amount of responsibility on individual police officers. so that mentality is very real, and that's shared across the board. >> marq claxton, always a pleasure to talk to you. much more from dallas in our next hour. our coverage continues after this. i'm just a guy who wants to buy that truck.
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>> it is now 8:00 p.m. on the east coast, 7:00 here in dallas, where we continue our live reports on last night's horrific ambush attack on police that left five officers dead and seven wounded. the officers were attacked while guarding a peaceful black lives matter protest, one that broke out across the country and its outrage over the deaths of two black men at the hands of police. their final moments both captured in videos that shocked the conscience of the nation. in the aftermath, we've seen some dispiriting responses including from a handful of


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