tv The Reid Report MSNBC November 24, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm PST
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legal sa, lisa, we don't know what the announcement is, but is it normal to have the preannouncement announcement saying we think the announcement is imminent, but no specifics. >> just the way you said that it's highly unusual just like everything else in this case. i don't know if that means we'll get an announcement of a decision or announcement the decision will be revealed tomorrow or the next day. we previously have been told 48 hours' notice. that could be changing. we don't know at this point. but it sounds like it's today. >> we don't know if that announcement is going to be a decision. walk us through so our viewers understand, if a decision is reached, assuming that happens, how does this roll out when a grand jury make this is kind of a decision. >> this will be very simple. there will be an indictment or no indictment. sometimes called a true bill or no true bill. this is all, of course, about whether officer darren wilson will be charged with a crime. not finding him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. that will be for later at a
trial if he is charged. simply the question before the grand jury, all of these months has been whether there's probable cause for them to charge him with the crime. that's the lowest standard we have in our legal system. just probable cause. meaning if there's reasonable suspicion to charge him with a crime. that would be a homicide crime. either murder, first-degree murder, second-degree murder, which would be the intentional, premeditated killing of mike brown or a manslaughter charge such as voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter which are essentially taking of a human life intentionally but without premeditation. that's the range before this jury. >> lisa, once actually the announcement is made and we now know, let's say there's not, would the grand jury be released, free to go about their business and, let's say, talk to the public if they wanted or what would typically happen with a grand jury? >> yes and no. they will be released to go back to their lives. they'll be admonished not to
speak to the public. under missouri law they are not supposed to speak. as to whether some of them do and if they get prosecuted for that, that remains to be seen. i'm sure they will be hounded by every news producer in the country to come and talk. under missouri law, they are not supposed to talk. >> it's been 108 days since michael brown was killed in ferguson. maria -- state senator, we hear this will be an announcement today. how is your community preparing? >> well, have i to tell you, we have been having meetings every single day. in fact, there's a meeting this evening on how we are going to respond. i will tell you that people on the ground are going to stay out and continue to protest because they want their voices heard.
i have to tell you, now we're going into phase three. phase three is either an indictment or no indictment. there is not an indictment, we need to figure out legislatively what we are going to do so that this -- this situation is not repeated again. so, i'm quite concerned but i do believe and have faith on the people in the ground that they are going to act responsibly and look towards the future so that we can make sure that justice is served and we no longer have another mike brown. >> state senator, are schools, in fact, closed or are they open in st. louis county today. >> well, i will tell you the school district in which i serve in, that is open today. university city. we were told that school board members that we would get a three-hour notice if there is a decision within the school day or school week. if it was on the weekend, it would be a 24-hour notice. i do know and it has been reported on your station that
the jenning school district has taken a couple days off because of the thanksgiving break, but right now, as a school board member, i will tell you i have not received any information from my school district. >> i want to bring in trymaine lee, who is covering this case for us in missouri. what do we know about, number one, the preparations that are being made on the ground once this announcement is made? and just how many people do you get the sense are gathering in and around ferguson preparing for it? >> well, i've spoken with a number of protesters earlier. at this point it's unclear when the announcement would be made. but they had strategic places they planned on gathering. one being in clayton. others being around ferguson, the police department and what have been ground zero, west florrisant ever, shaw avenue. i just spoke with the family's attorney moments ago, the family wasn't notified. so, folks are still preparing
for this announcement at this point that seems imminent. >> i want to talk with lisa bloom about how this works with the grand jury. evidence presented to the grand jury, lots and lots of it, not necessarily in narrative form, but lots of it. typically when a grand jury decision is announced, does that information become public record or how does that work? >> only the indictment form would become publicly typically. there's a simple form the grand jurors would have to fill out. if it's no indictment, they just sign their names to that and they're done. if there is an indictment, they have to sign their names as to what exactly the charges are they are finding against darren wilson. and then that would be made public. typically the grand jury transcripts are not made public. now, in this case the prosecutor has said he wants them all to be made public. of course, he doesn't have the power to just put them all out in the public record. a judge would have to approve that. i don't know whether a judge would approve it or not so i
don't know whether those transcripts will, in fact, be made public. >> if there is -- let's say there was an indictment, then that information, would that be bound right over to a trial jury or how would that work? >> well, the indictment would be a matter of public record. darren wilson would be immediately arrested and processed through the system pursuant to those charges. then the trial date would be set for his full-blown trial. >> let me go back quickly to trymaine lee. we mentioned the prosecutor, bob mccullough. are you hearing on the ground in missouri that he has any plans to speak with this announcement coming personally from him or his office? >> reporter: at this point i haven't heard one way or the other. we just know there will be an announcement. the last few days they've been making preparations for a press conference, but as of right now, i'm not sure one way or the other. >> i want to ask the same question to state senator marie chappelle nadal. do you have any indication that the prosecutor plans to make any
public statement about this case? >> i'm pretty sure he would. i have not spoken to him whatsoever, but in this kind of situation, i do not see anything being any different than doing a public statement. simply doing a press release. it is just not what's called for in this kind of chaos we're in right now. >> hold on for me, everyone. i want to bring in amanda, msnbc reporter, who's been in missouri taking a look at the preparations being made on the ground. first of all, where are you in location or in relation to ferguson, amanda? >> hi, joy. i'm in ferguson right now. i'm at the epicenter of where the protests were on west florissant but we don't know what type of announcement is coming today. we just know there is an announceme announcement. the entire community has been waiting on edge. there have been several false alarms. the rumor mill has been churning for quite some time as people await this decision. and regardless of whether there
will be an indictment for darren wilson, it is expected for some type of protest to break out. people have been anxious. they've been prepping in so many different ways that we should expect some type of action later today. >> let's go back to you, state senator, talking about those preparations. specifically because we are not sure, as you said, some kids are in school, some are not. a lot of the protesters have been drawn from students, from very young people. are there preparations in place, state senator, to deal with the fact that you could have a lot of young people out on the streets, a lot of young people protesting and marching? >> yes, absolutely. in fact, i'm proud as a school board member we have prepared our students together for this. we are changing our curriculum. we are providing safe spaces for our students in this school district so they can protest. not necessarily being at ground zero but within our own communities. we want our children to experience their first amendment right.
and they're eager to do that. but we want to make sure that they are in a safe situation and there are protocols we have put in place in the last month. certainly significant any nice we are going to allow them to have their free speech and they're going to be spaf. >> authorities are making preparation for large large marches, depending on the outcome. we are expecting an announcement out of ferguson, missouri, the shooting death of that 18-year-old 108 days ago by officer darren wilson. i want to bring in ari, co-host of "the cycle" and conveniently an attorney. you talked to eric holder in the past. the attorney general has been very engaged in terms of interacting with police department in st. louis county and ferguson, about what the rules of engagement would be. what do you know about how involved and multi-agency it's going snob. >> there's been a lot of coordination and we know the
justice department has reached out directly to governor nixon and to the local authorities. we also know they have their own independent review. this announcement we are now waiting on today is only about this local grand jury. it doesn't speak to those other ongoing reviews. the rules you mentioned, though, there's 19 of them. we have them. and they've been released. that's one little transparency and they speak to some controversies that occurred the last time there were nonviolent events and protests as well as criticism of police conduct. for example, there's a reference here. police will wear only the attire minimally required for their safety. that speaks directly to the critique that by looking overmilitarized and coming out in what reminded people of a war zone footing, that was actually incendiary or counterproductive. so, those are the kind of things the rules speak to and try to give everyone who we know there will be at least some assembly, just as there were peaceful protest this is weekend, give everyone an understanding of what the ground rules are on
both sides. >> trymaine, do the people on the ground in ferguson have a sense those rules exist, do they concur and did they get support from the activists on the ground? >> reporter: certainly. in reasonable weeks as protests had kind of matured, they've ben also been talking with law enforcement. some rules of engagement are protecting -- making sure you protect the sanctity of human life. others were hoping the safe houses wouldn't be violated by law enforcement. these efforts and, you know, the back and forth seemed to be made in good faith. but there's still this undercurrent among many protesters who experienced those rough early days of the protests, when there was the tear gad gas and the rubber bullets that they don't necessarily trust that the police will maintain a sense of peace. now, of course, we also know there were some protesters who got a little rowdy and were also violent. now that everyone is kind of gearing up for this, you know, we'll see. >> and amanda, i want to bring you in on the same point because you are in ferguson. some of the rules that were
actually -- became the subject of a lot of tension as well as court litigation were things like the five-second rule, saying protesters couldn't stop and continue to protest. is there an understanding from where you are that people in ferguson understand the rules and feel comfortable with them? >> reporter: you know that, five-second rule was shot down by a district judge, both here in ferguson and throughout st. louis. people are saying this fighting back and bringing up these issues is causing some type of change as far as them being able to practice their first amendment rights. also this looming decision has been really roiling the community as they prepare. these rules of engagement are centered around these churches where they're able to take safe haven, where they can call safe space. they're hoping to have both mental health experts there, to have medical experts there in case people are injured, in case they need any type of resources. they have an entire list of supplies that protesters should bring along with them to make
sure they have batteries, they have a buddy. so, they're really taking a very practical approach to this as well as really gaining for any type of potential unrest. >> ari, i think in a lot of ways, not only is this decision, whatever the grand jury decides, really under the microscope of people really all around the world, but so is the response of this community. both st. louis county and ferguson. >> yeah. what is somewhat unusual about this situation is that you've had this long period where you have the grand jury doing its job, which we're not prejudging. everyone is waiting to see what these jurors ultimately decide. it would take nine votes to do an indictment. they have a range of charges before them, from murder, a very serious charge, against anyone, including a police officer, all the way down to an involuntary manslaughter charge. a bit of unusual for this type of thing. we think of that more like a car accident. that would be a situation where you unintentionally cause the taking of a life, the legal term, and you would go ahead and charge on that. what intersects here to your
point about all the preparations is, this is being managed carefully. and this announcement that we're now reporting, there will be an announcement locally today, we don't know at this juncture what that announcement may contain. it may contain an update. it may contain a result, that's what everyone is interested in. or it could contain some sort of preview or plan. for example, this prosecutor would be within his rights to say, i've taken the votes today. it's binding. i'm announcing today we have this decision but we are not going to announce the results of it until we do some other things. do our meetings with the family. missouri has a victims law that is triggered regardless if charges are filed or not. and as you've been reporting, all the other safety precautions. while it's a big development everyone is interested in, that there's going to be an announcement, whether that even means in and much itself the decision is reached is not confirmed. that's what some people are drawing as conclusions out of that announcement or out of the reporting. we just don't know yet exactly
what we're going to hear later today. >> lisa bloom, i want to bring you back in here. you and i have had this ongoing conversation about the unusual nature of these proceedings. i wonder if police officer shootings cases are different than the way they handle a potential homicide. >> no question they're different. i handle through my law firm excessive authority. on the civil side they're not all that difficult to prevail on behalf of the victim. on the criminal side, very, very difficult. you can really count on one hand successful criminal prosecutions of police officers who shot unarmed people in america and got serious convictions by which i mean a manslaughter or a murder conviction against them. typically, it just doesn't happen. and what's so unusual about in case, joy, is the way that the police and the prosecutors have handled this from the beginning. the prshgs let's all remember, could have filed charges himself months ago. he could have said, you know what, i have six eyewitnesss who say, mike brown was shot with
his hands up. five of those people didn't know either man in this case. that is well over the line for probable cause. he could have filed the charges. the case could have gone to trial. darren wilson could have presented his defense there. he not onned nopted not do to t. he opted for secret grand jury which has gone on for months and months, and which a number of leaks, all favored darren wilson. that raised suspicion and outrage in the community. of course it would. the other problem here is that he said -- i don't know any other case where any prosecutor has said this -- i am not recommending any particular charges to these grand jurors. i'm going to give them all the evidence and let them sort it out. and i have been tweeting about this a lot over the last week. does anybody out there know of any other case where this has ever happened? still, no one has given me an example. that's what's highly unusual about this case. and i think that gives the grand jurors the very clear signal, we, the prosecutor, don't really want charges here. we're not going to advocate for
them as we did in the other cases that we presented to you -- >> but we don't know -- >> -- ladies and gentlemen of the grand jury months ago. >> i think ari wants to get in. >> let's be clear, we don't know what signals these jurors have received yet from this prosecutor. we know, to lisa's point, it's factually true that what is more common is to issue a direct recommendation. we know prosecutors can be very assertive in that way. having said that and reported that, we don't yet know this. this is an eye of the beholder question. eric holder made the visit. he has a lot of credibility there. he used to be a prosecutor. if you do the thought experiment and say what if eric holder in this situation decided only to put charges before the jurors and not have a recommendation, people might draw different inferences, which is what the law is all about, looking at the facts and the law and drawing inferences. i don't know if we can isolate one particular choice thus far and say that's where we're going. >> i respectfully disagree. i think it sends a very clear signal. this grand jury wasn't
impanelled just for the mike brown/darren wilson case. they've been impanelled for a number of criminal cases they heard before this. and in those, the standard operating procedure applied, which is the prosecutor recommends particular charges, gives them a sheet with the charges that the prosecutor is advocating. when the prosecutor here has said publicly, we are not advocating for any particular charges, i think that sends an unmistakable message to this jury. >> i wanted to put a top on it. that may be your decision but we may see the jurors found a different conclusion. reporting at this point -- it's fair to report about standard operating procedure. precedent is supposed to govern all of these type of things. that's how we look for uniformity in the law. but we don't know right now, sitting here reporting on this what the jurors' conclusions are. >> let me bring in state senator maria chappelle nadal on this.
i think what's causing a lot of anxiety in the community -- we also have anthea butler -- lisa bloom points out the things that feel unusual to folks has caused a lot of anxiety because there doesn't seem to be a predisposition among the prosecutor to see the charges filed. state senator, would that be accurate to say people's feelings is -- their feel is this prosecutor has not been a zealous advocate for prosecution? >> you know, i have to tell you, he has done everything different from any time before. this is the first time where a grand jury was given all of the evidence that has not happened before. this is the first time where he said, i am not going to test any kind of penalty. and i can't speak for him either, but i think what he is trying to do is just wash his hands from the responsibility. so, that means that these 12 people, who are making a determination in the coming hours, they are going to have to
make the tough decision. they are the arbitrators in this. they have to figure out, hey, are we going to do an indictment or not. i believe in high heart there will be an indictment. but i could be totally wrong. i think because of friday and what happened on friday, it certainly indicates there's more thought processes that is going into the final -- the final thought or the final idea that people are thinking of. >> some of the things that have happened, as you've drawn closer to the conclusion, the grand jury stayed on very long. they did request to see the private autopsy that was done by michael brown's family. i want everyone to stay with me. lisa, ari, state senator, we'll bring anthea butler in on the other side. we need to take a break. stay with us. we're covering what seems to be an -- a pending announcement any time now from ferguson, missouri, in the michael brown case. a brand new start. your chance to rise and shine.
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i think in his interview with abc, i think the president delivered a pretty forceful message about his view. that those individuals in reaction to the -- to the grand jury's decision that want to protest should do so peacefully. and he cited the words of mr. brown's parents, who indicated that the proper way to remember and pay tribute to their son's memory is for people to express their views peacefully. and that is a view the president has wholeheartedly. >> josh earnest. apparently an announcement by the st. louis county prosecutor and expected in the grand jury investigation of darren wilson of the shooting of unarmed michael brown. we have full coverage on. we have our reporters trymaine lee at courthouse in st. louis, amanda sukuma in ferguson,
missouri, and lisa bloom, msnbc legal analyst, and ari melber from from "the cycle." i'm going to bring in anthea butler to talk about this as well. i want to go back to trymaine about what we just heard from the white house. this emphasis on peaceful protest. that has been the call from officials both within missouri, from the family as well as all the way from washington, d.c. when you've talked to protesters on the ground, how do they feel? how do they read this constant emphasis on them being peaceful? >> reporter: the vast majority have always been peaceful. they always have a desire their movement is a peaceful one and doesn't turn violent. again, they feel while the eyes are on them and all the warnings seem to be turned toward them, the government reassuring residents saying, we're going to make sure these protesters don't get out of hand and it doesn't turn violent, they take great offense to this. the mobilizing of the national
guard, state of emergency, has come before the first chant has been made. a lot are concerned, if there's a presumption of violence, law enforcement will also be gearing up for war. if they're looking for trouble, they're going to get it. >> i want to go to you, amanda, on the same question in ferguson. we have heard the same sort of rejoiner about peaceful protests but when you talk to business owners, people that live in ferguson, who could be impacted by demonstrations, marches, are they more concerned about the protesters or more concerned about a repeat of what people saw as highly militarized police response to the first set of protesters? >> reporter: this has had ripple effects through all different layers of life here. this morning i was in jennings and their school district was closed. i talked to a single mom who holds two jobs. she had to take her 6-year-old to work with her today in order to make ends meet. she has to bring her little son to mcdonald's. she doesn't think her other job will be able to handle it or be okay with her bringing her son
there. it's just another example of how this entire process has really disrupted everyday life for people. and business owners around here are not only bracing for both sides, but just bracing for this entire process to last a long time. >> i want to bring in anthea butler, professor of study of african-american religions. thank you for being here. the multiple anxieties you see around this case, around the michael brown case, very similar to what you saw similar to the try von martin case with the added element of police. >> i think so what's happened, joy, the focus on protesters take as way from the highly militarized presence of police. i was surprised to see jay nixon
put in a week early. it already ratchets up an already tense situation there in ferguson. when you hear how much ammunition was bought, tear gas, smoke bombs, from the very beginning the heavy police presence and the way in which the police there have positioned themselves has made the stressful situation much more intense on the ground in ferguson. it's already bad, but this was worse. >> indeed. lisa bloom, just looking back at past cases where you have had a very contentious situation, then you have a release of information that's on a friday, which i think the rodney king situation was released on a friday afternoon, this lack of information and understanding about the process, do you feel that that general lack of understanding of the legal system and people's discomfort with it is part of what feeds the -- feeds people's anxiety? >> absolutely. let's be clear about what's
really fueling these protests. an unarmed african-american kid was shot and killed and there has still been no accountability more than 100 days later. darren wilson still has his job. he's still drawing a paycheck. since that time, despite all of the protests, which have been 99% peaceful, two more african-american young men have been shot and killed in st. louis county. there has not been a single police officer who has been injured or killed, thank goodness, during these protests. let's keep that in mind. when we talk about incitement, what incites the protesters, incites so many of us who are passionate and outraged about this story is the killing of mike brown, who according to six witnesses had his hands up at the time he was shot. that's the root issue here. >> and ari melber, one of the other things is -- it's very difficult to indict a police officer in a shooting like this. it's very rare to see such an indictment. and that's a reality that a lot of people do confront. but i think for a lot of people, they don't understand why that
is. why there does seem to be much more largesse when it comes to force. >> under traditional doctrine a police officer has a wide latitude to unjustified force. if you don't like the sound of that, you might want to change that law, change the balance. we know under motte state laws, this is a state law, under supreme court precedent, if an officer determines an individual is of great risk of causing bodily harm or death under their reasonable understanding, in the moment, in the moment, joy, then that officer is authorized to use deadly force. the extra wrinkle here we haven't heard as much about and we don't know, as i said, exactly what the grand jury will ultimately base its decision on. the extra wrinkle, though, is missouri uses a state law and related jury instructions which have been reportedly made available, according to the prosecutor's office to this grand jury, that further say you can use deadly force. an officer can use deadly force simply for an individual who is
fleeing. if they are fleeing absent that kind of threat that i just mentioned, the usual trigger, this state law says they can still use deadly force. now, that is probably many law professor's believe is unconstitutional, has not been tested. this is an area where people are rightfully concerned about the secrecy of the grand jury because we just don't know. yet, that's how it's supposed to work. it is supposed to be typically this secret process where the prosecutor comes in, makes the case one-sided and the grand jurors make this simple determination at a very low standard, is there probable cause? did this probably happen? with an officer here, because we have the also pretty special circumstance of the officer having testified, we don't know what he said, but if he testified in his own defense, he may have said, look, whether i was right or wrong in hind sight at the time, i reasonably had this fear, i acted on it and here are the facts that back that up. >> at this point i want to also bring in pamela means from the national bar association. we've talked to you on and off. thank you for coming back. i think a lot of people don't feel 100% comfortable with the
idea of this extra latitude that's given to police officers. but that is the reality. you have been calling for federal authorities, the organization has, to come in and take more control of this process. how do you assess where we are right now? do you believe the federal authorities have weighed in enough? >> joy, thank you so much for having us back. i absolutely believe the federal authorities have not come in. and i think the confusion with the process only goes to show why it was we needed a third party to come in. you bring up excellent points on this. your last speaker indicated, if you don't like this thing, change it. the national bar association has been advocating since we waged our war on police brutality before there was a mike brown situation, that we must change the definition of excessive force and what it means to elevate force, because until we do that, we'll continue to have these conversations with a young 12-year-old that just died over the weekend and the two
individuals that died in st. louis county after mike brown. i think if the federal government had come in, even though there's a different standard and a tougher standard to proving bad acts and whether or not there was evil intent connected with it, i think there would have been more of a trust of the process and so we are still calling for a couple of things, an independent investigation to start immediately. we know they're doing some of it on the federal level but to remove it out of the hands of the local people. i'm here on the ground. i grew up here. and i agree with your earlier speaker, lisa bloom. look, nobody's looking at what the response has been by the police officers. not one single police officer has been injured to the same level. and applying this heightened sense of scrutiny to individuals who are exercising their first amendment rights. and doing it 98% of the time. in compliance with the law, the
wrong light to shed. we have a national epidemic. and somehow, ferguson has just been utilized as the mississippi of its time, as it relates to this issue. >> pamela means, thank you so much. hopefully you can hang on us, from the national bar association. i want to quickly go to trymaine lee at the clayton county courthouse. i understand you have some new information regarding the governor. >> reporter: yes. i just spoke with, you know, community organizations, a number of clergy. the governor called a 4 p.m. meeting with clergy ahead of whatever the prosecutor's announcement will be. again, at 4:00 the governor will be convening some sort of meeting with clergy. we know the clergy has played a heavy role, especially in the recent weeks of trying to keep tensions low, trying to cool the tension that had been kind of rising and cranking up a bit. so, as soon as we figure out what that meeting is about, we'll make sure we get it out there. >> hold on for me a little bit. let's bring in tori russell,
co-founder of hands up united, who joins me now. i don't know if you were able to hear trymaine lee's reporting, but the governor called for a meeting at 4 p.m. eastern time with members of the clergy. tell me how you and your fellow activists -- you know, how are you feeling in anticipation of this announcement? >> we just want justice, man. we just want simple justice. same thing we marched for was an indictment. we were anxious and we want an indictment. we want some justice, some systematic things must change. so, we're just -- we're just waiting just like everyone else. >> what if there is not an indictment? what is the next step for hands up united, for your activism in the case or in the event there is no indictment of this officer? >> we're going to go out and protest, the same thing if it is an indictment. there are many things. systematic racism, racial bias locally and nationally with the police force.
can you look at vonderic myers, is it-year-old just killed. we want people to know ferguson is everywhere. it's not just one place. these things have to change. >> do you anticipate that your protests, your activism is going to continue once this case is resolved? if so, what is it you to want do? what do you want to see changed nationally? >> we want systematic change. can you go to the dream defenders or -- a lot of groups who have come here who echoed the same thing we're saying. the educational system, the judicial system, the policing, it's a lot of things. even the political system on how it's set up. we need changes that are tangible and we need tangible things to change for us. first step is getting an indictment on darren wilson. >> one last question, do you plan to include in that activism the elections that are coming up next year, odd year elections in missouri, including for some
members of the city council, do you plan to be involved in that? >> most definitely. i think people think young people are not politically minded. i want to send a reminder out, if the police is harassing us every day, you just seen the same thing in november, police harassed us on the way to the polls, out of the polls. >> i don't know if you can hold on for me, but i thank you for being here. i want to go to anthea butler because you have some institutional memory to talk about. where this activism has gone. these are very young people. they see their activism as much broader than ferguson. what difference do you suppose they've made in these 108 days? >> i think they've made a profound difference. the way they've used social media to get out the message that publication of a newsletter every day about what's happening there in ferguson. the ways in which people from all over the country have come in on buses to be there for ferguson days of action. at the university of pennsylvania, i have a group of students who every friday they do ferguson fridays and they do
sort of reenactments of what the historical things that are surrounding what is happening in ferguson right now. so, what i think this is, is a new movement. i think it's very interesting, jay nixon, to call in all the clergy, because what he hopes is the clergy is going to be able to tamp down any anger. but i actually think that in this instance, that perhaps that's not really the point. the point really is, is that -- what the governor wants is to make this -- using religion as this tool to make sure that people aren't righteously angry. and i think there's a right to be righteously angry when we have three young men dead and no justice in ferguson. and in the city of st. louis. so, you know, i really have not liked the manner in which the government officials have tried to use religious ways and means to try to tamp down what has happened. i think it is a travesty what they have done. if i were clernlg y i wouldn't even be there. >> professor butler is
mentioning the activism. that's a separate part of this story. it's a positive part of this story when you look at what most of this peaceful activism has done. we are covering this today as national news. the president spoke out about it this weekend, as have attorney general, and republican leaders like senator rand paul. why? because of the activists, because of the organizing, because of the ground swell. when you take a step back, as the nation watches this, that's the difference between the local and national story. it's a national story because it has percolated around the nation, because people care about it. you mentioned the elections. i was down covering a midterm race in a different state in texas. i was in african -- predominantly african-american churches and ferguson was an issue people were talking about. not because it was literally a local issue that was going to be addressed there, but because it had become yet another example, yet another name. and to systematic reform, part of the positive part of this discussion, a place where people are saying, i've learneded what the laws are, i learn how the system is working and whether or not in this instance that is fair or not, and we don't know
all the facts and results yet, people coming together and saying, let's make it a national issue. let's make it last. let's not be forgotten and talk about change. so, it's so sis as you know, and you've been covering this with tons of effort and tons of sources from around the country. it's so easy sometimes to be looking at what is the next thing and what is scary here and all the precautions we've been covering, people trying to make sure that whatever happens over the coming days are peaceful and not violent. yet as you've said, most of the activism has been peaceful and some of it amidst a tragedy, loss of life, some has been positive. >> and we're going to thank you very much, ari, i know you have a whole other show you have to do, it turns out, after this show. when we come back, lisa, i want to come to you and ask you a little about that. you did write a book "suspicion nation" that came after the last time we had this national issue that galvanized the country and people thought we would have a deep and serious discussion about the young men and boys in the country. i want to ask you whether you
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covering the news of the impending announcement from missouri in the indicates of michael brown, i asked anthea a question before the break but i want to go to ben krum. has the family learned this announcement is coming and have they had any communication as yet with the d.a.? >> they have not, joy. they've been notified of any decision. >> and so the family is essentially hearing from media reports. they haven't had any official communication about this announcement, its timing or what its content might be? >> none whatsoever, joy. it's extremely painful to this family to have to learn that there may be a decision today whether the killer of an unarmed child will be convicted or not. >> what about communication from
the governor, have any officials been in communication with this family, to your knowledge, ben? >> no, no officials have been in communication with this family. they have been huddled up with their family, as you would imagine, on pins and needles, praying for justice and trying to explain to their children what's going on. >> and, ben, has the family talked to you? obviously, these are very sensitive conversations. about what will be next for them if, in fact, there is no indictment of darren wilson? >> well, they're praying for an indictment and they're trying to put their faith in the justice system that it will work for their child, too, equally like it will work for everybody else. if there is no indictment, the federal government is investigating the matter. so, they will want to know if there are any federal charges. fnlt, then the only remedy they will have yet is civil matter.
we're going to explore every legal avenue to give them some sense of justice. they greatly don't to want have their child's death be in vein. they want people to help them stand up, make change to system. not just to make noise, but to make a difference so this doesn't happen to anybody else's child. >> how does the family feel about the protesters? there's been so much advocacy around their departed son. how do they feel about all the activism that spring up? >> it's encouraging to them, joy. again, they want everybody to be peaceful, nonviolent because they don't think you can address issues of violence by being violent. they do want them to speak up for our children and they do want them to not just make noise, but let's make change. let's don't be talking about the death of another black or brown boy next week. let's make real change with the police and the government leaders. let's make them hear us. >> benjamin crump, attorney for
the family of michael brown. thank you for being here. >> thank you, joy. >> and i want to bring back our panel, lisa bloom, anthea butler, and trymaine lee at the courthouse. after the trayvon situation and george zimmerman trial, there was discussion about whether or not we needed to have a bigger picture conversation about race. do you feel maybe that discussion was -- just never happened or why do you feel like we found ourselves here once again? >> well, we need more than a discussion. we need concrete change. i agree with attorney crump on that. after the trayvon martin case, i was so disturbed by the injustices of that case. i wrote an entire book about it. mainly, it was about the horrible mistakes the prosecution made in that case. really bungle iing the case.
here i'm seeing a lot of the mistakes repeated. we don't know for sure because we don't know exactly what went on inside that grand jury room. we have real danger signs on behalf of this prosecution about whether they are really advocating for mike brown in that grand jury room as we would expect a prosecutor to do. the prosecutor didn't recuse himself although tens of thousands of people signed a petition saying he was too close to law enforcement. he didn't file charges directly even though we had a great deal of eyewitness testimony that mike brown was shot with his hands up. he chose a system that is very slow and seekt rettivcretive. he said the grand jury documents would be secret. now we hear that might not happen. whatever the grand jury comes back with today, it will highly unlikely be what the prosecutors wanted. if the prosecutors want charges, we'll get charges. if they don't want charges, they'll signal that as well. 95% of the time the grand jury does what prosecutors want. >> in the trayvon martin case, one thing you did see, along
with faults of the prosecution, there was communication with the family of the young man who had died. i've repeatedly asked attorneys, not just ben crump but other attorneys working with this family, if they've had any communication at all with the prosecutor. they always say no. is it unusual to you as a trial lawyer for the prosecution not to have communicated -- it's been 108 days. they seem to have had no communication with the family. is that unusual? >> that's absolutely unheard of. the prosecution usually has close ties with the family. they work with the family. their advocates for the family. and to essentially be turning their back on the family for the family they're supposed to be advocating for -- yes, they're supposed to be add voe vvocatese victim. darren wilson had a voice immediately. he lawyered up. he has the right to do all of that. who is will speaking for mike brown who was shot and killed unarmed in streets? was there really an advocate for mike brown in the grand jury
room? if we see those transcripts, we'll get the answer to that question. >> trymaine lee at the clayton county courthouse, we're expecting an announcement this afternoon, we don't know exactly when or the content will be, but trymaine, speak to that a little bit. because the communication with the family is one thing. lisa bloom saying that is unusual. but has there been a great deal of communication, communiques coming from the prosecutor's office to the public, the protesters, the people who have made this the center case of their advocacy? >> reporter: no, there hasn't. that's been kind of the problem. one of the thing that sparked this whole thing was the large abyss between the establishment and the community. now there seems to be a wider gap. there hasn't been much information from the prosecutor's office about the process. i spoke to a community organizer who was very instrumental and kind of organizing and galvanizing protesters. we wasn't sure how the grand jury process worked. he wasn't sure where we were, what stage. game, and what ultimately their
parameters would be. now, i just spoke to a local community -- a community leader who spoke -- who said that the schools are now -- other school districts, besides the jennings school district, had already closed school for monday and tuesday, are already planning to shut down school. so, again, as we were getting closer to this announcement, whatever may be, the community is hunkering down and getting ready. >> when you say schools are planning to be closed. we did hear earlier there would be schools closed monday and tuesday r you saying now all of the school districts other than jennings are definitely, definitively going to be closed as well, regardless of what's announced today? >> i'm not saying that. jennings has already confirmed they will be close. the community leader in consultation with other school superintendents and they're preparing to do so. ahead of this announcement, they are preparing. >> an these, yeah i want to come back to you on the question of sort of taking all of this in. what is your sense of whether or not this process has actually helped people to better understand the system, at least the system as we see it in
missouri, or whether or not there's still some confusion as to this process. >> i think there's a lot of confusion. grand juries meet in secret. you don't know what's happening. we've seen darren wilson was able to come in. we had a lot of leaks about what people said the grand jury was doing or what they were not doing. so, this whole process has been clouded in confusion. i think confusion is there for a reason. because they want to put people off of keeping their minds on the focus of the main issue. which is not try mike brown, but deciding whether or not darren wilson should be held accountable for shooting mike brown. that is the question. so, when you have all the confusion that has been put out there, i think, it's been very difficult for people to understand the work of the grand jury. and people like lisa bloom have been very helpful to point out how this -- how the ways in which prosecutors and how the grand -- how these things have been fed to the grand jury in such a way that will create a certain kind of a scene that many of us believe will result in a nonindictment.
so, i think it's been about confusion from day one. >> lisa, you have been very helpful in trying to understand how the process normally plays out and how it's played out here. briefly f there is no indictment, talk about ben crump said it could become a civil matter. there's the possibility of a federal investigation. what happens next, including for officer wilson in the event there is no indictment? >> well, if there's no indictment, he remains free. he remains free to go back to work. there have been some speculation he wouldn't go back to work. certainly a civil case would be appropriate. of course, that's only for money damages. at the end of that thing you're not getting real justice, which would be incarceration of a killer. you can certainly control a civil case. that's why i do civil cases in this field, because the family has control. you have control over when it's filed, over the depositions, over the discovery, over the witnesses that are subpoenaed, over the evidence that's reviewed, over the experts, over the trial itself. so, that's a tremendous advantage. and i think a civil case would be appropriate. of course, yes, a federal investigation. you know, many people were so delighted when eric holder went out there.
i'm, frankly, less enthusiastic about the job the feds have done so far. have they taken the lead? time after time we've seen leaks from local authorities, and feds say, that shouldn't happen. who is in charge out there? who is running this thing? clearly, it's not the feds. if there is no indictment, will they take over? will they file civil rights charges? we didn't see that in the trayvon martin case. it remains to be seen whether we'll see that in here. >> not to throw one more potential wild card out there four, but is it possible and has it ever happened a grand jury could be a hung jury? >> you know, i have not heard of that. i'm sure it has happened. i think it's less likely because they only need a 9-3 vote. they don't have to be unanimous. i think it's easier for them to get to nine than a traditional jury to get to 12. >> clarity to the end. thank you for hanging in with us. that does wrap things up for
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break news leads "the cycle." i'm toure. ferguson and the nation could soon know whether the police officer, darren wilson, will be charged in the death of unarmed michael brown. msnbc can announce an announcement by st. louis county prosecutor is expected later today in connection with that grand jury decision. we do not know what the announcement will be, or even if there is an announcement of verdict or whether or not officer wilson will be indicted. officials have been preparing for this moment and possible demonstrations in response to any grand jury decision for weeks. many community leaders are urging strictly nonpry lent protests, which was the case this weekend. others are worried about the occurrence of violence that erupted in august. let's get to craig melvin outside the courthouse. craig, ever since that moment a couple of hours ago when we learned there would be an announcement from st. louis county prosecutor's office, has anything changed? are people coming out in
preparation for what that might be? >> reporter: toure, in the past two or three minutes we've seen preparations around the courthouse. in fact, i was just walking down the block. i can tell you that right across the street at the courthouse, they're covering up the world war i memorial. we've seen the barricades go up here over the past five, ten minutes or so. i can also tell you -- i'm just getting word that a decision has been made. we've been reporting that an announce -- we would be getting this announcement in a couple of hours. i can tell you that a decision has been reached. and we are going to be getting record that decision during the course of the announcement, just getting that just a few moments ago. toure, i can also tell you governor nixon is in st. louis, meeting with members of clergy at 4:00. i spent some time at well spring church yesterday. the minister there is set to