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tv   Politics Nation  MSNBC  May 23, 2021 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT

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>> the most exposure there possibly when it comes to the children. david farenthold, harry litman, thank you so much. that wraps up the hour from me. i'm yasmin vossoughian. i'll be back here next saturday, sunday, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., "politicsnation" live from minneapolis with reverend al sharpton starts right now. good evening and welcome to "politicsnation," coming to you today from downtown minneapolis. tonight's lead in memorium right now for those of us who insist that black lives matter and that there can be no peace where there is no justice. we are wondering what the last year has meant as we mark the
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one-year anniversary of george floyd's death. i'm here tonight as an american, as a father, a black man, a tv host, and a president of national action network to commemorate george floyd's life with his family and his community and tonight joining me will be in a few moments he'll be his sister bridget on the first year without her brother. and on the family's upcoming -- upcoming visit with president biden at the white house, which was supposed to coincide with his signing of the police reform legislation that was bearing her brother's name. but that won't happen this week because the republicans continue to do what they can to interfere and sabotage in my opinion that bill.
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so our cities will have to continue to handle this and figure it out on their own so far until common ground is reached. in just a few minutes, we'll talk to the governor of minnesota and one of minnesota's senators about what leaders can learn from this statement in the last year. and later in the show, i'll talk with civil rights attorney ben crump and take his -- get his take on events of the past year. but we start tonight at the white house and the perfect guest to start with. joining me now is cedric richmond, senior adviser to president bush and director of the white house office of public engagement. let me ask you first, cedric richmond, the white house had to temper its expectations that the
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president would be able to give his signature to the version of the george floyd act that would have become law this week. the house now going into a three-week break. we understand that the president wants reform to be generated legislatively. but while negotiations drag on, what will the role of the white house be playing, if any to do around police reform, something he has said over and over again that he is committed to? >> thank you, reverend al for having me here today, and thank you for the work that you've been doing. it is important for the congress to come together and pass the george floyd act. the president came out very early on in support of it. the house passed it. it's now in the senate where senator booker, reapive back,
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senator scott are all working together in a meaningful way to produce a bill, one, that lives up to the moment. but two, that will prevent these things from happening and improve the relationship between the police and the communities that they police. look, we wanted it by the anniversary. the president called for it by the anniversary. but meaningful talks are still going on. and it's better to have a meaningful bill than worry about a deadline. and so the president will host the family in the oval office this week on anniversary to talk to the family and check in with them, give them update on what's happening in our world and check and see how they're coping a year later and since the trial. >> now the fact that there has been meaningful talk, and as you know, i've talked with senator booker and congresswoman karen bass who said senator scott has
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been in their opinion sincere in trying to come to common ground, which is what we want. certainly some of us have our views, but we want to see this come together, the civil rights leaders hope to talk all sides, hope to talk to the president. but again, this is not about drama. this is about change. and sometimes people are going to have to have the spirit of change as the priority. and that's what i think all sides are committed to. but let me bring you to a situation closer to home. you for many years have been a congressman from louisiana, and there has been now a tape that has come out on this as we go the anniversary of george floyd. we see something there in your home state where a proud son of your state tape has now been released that talks about ronald greene's arrest in your state two years ago before george
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floyd. the footage is not at all matching with what state police initially reported. and as the person in charge of the white house office of public engagement, what do you see when you look at cases other than what is happening here that are happening around the country? we had the wright case just about ten miles from here in brooklyn center. during the end of the trial, we had the case in elizabeth city. how do we deal with these things continuing to happen and things being revealed after the verdict, and how the white house and the legislators in washington have to deal with this issue? >> it's disturbing. and it's painful. and you feel for the families. but the other part of it, and we have to be honest about this as a country is the fact that it breeds distrust.
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if you look at the police report, it is in no way in relation to what actually happened. and so if you don't have that trust, if you don't have transparency, and you don't eventually have accountability for situations like this, then you've thrown policing out of the window. so that's why it's important when we talk about duty to intervene for other police officers to hold other police officers accountable. you had a number of law enforcement officials out there. and for that police report to read the way it did, so contrary to the facts is disturbing. and people want to know why there is a deep distrust in the african american community between the police and the community. it's because oftentimes they can't trust what the police say in a sworn police report. and that's a problem. so those things deserve and warrant investigations. and that investigation has gone on. but you've seen this justice department, which on its own
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independent of the white house launched investigations across the country, pattern and practice into police departments and specific incidents. so i believe that this justice department is being very thorough and deliberate about what they do. and i have faith in the attorney general. but we don't coordinate with them. we want an independent justice department. but watching what they're doing, i think that they are being very deliberate about these incidents and how they investigate and handle them. >> and let me be clear. i think the justice department has come with charges here against officer chauvin, who has already been convicted on state charges and the other three independent of the white house. but they have done that. and they're investigating other cases. i also want to be clear. many of us, certainly those in the civil rights leadership we
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saw the president announcing he wanted this on his desk by tuesday. but they were not able to come forward with that. we would rather see a real hard piece of legislation and a soft deadline than a hard deadline and soft legislation. so i think the president made the right decision there so far. let me ask you about something else. the growth -- the growing campaign called audits to recast the results of the last year's general election. loyalists to the former president trump have found nothing, nothing in arizona. so now they're moving this andor states, georgia and other states are talking about this, this people of color are being in many ways threatened by their votes being negated if we keep seeing these audits. it continues to undermine faith
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in the electoral system that many of us tried to push and advocate in a nonpartisan way, people come out. and we saw in january a big and to be candid, damage done with the right audience where the white house had to come down. in many ways, these audits are really chipping away at the confidence many of us said let us go out and vote. let our voices be heard. and even after the fact, we're coming with audits that are producing nothing. how you view this? and what good is this for the american people? >> it's dangerous. it's very dangerous. and i want people to understand that. this is our very democracy that we're talking about. instead of celebrating the fact that more people voted during this pandemic than ever before, no election fraud in the election, and joe biden, president biden won the election fair and square. but the fact that we have so
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many people in this country that are ignoring facts, pushing conspiracy theories, and false and alternative facts, it's dangerous. if we're going to protect this democracy, we have to start with truth and holding people accountable. when you hear us talk about facts and truth and being honest, transparent, it goes on in voting. and all of these laws that they're passing around the country to disenfranchise and make it harder for people to vote, especially people of color, that's why it's important that we pass the voting rights acts, the extension which would be hr-4, which the president has called for. hr-1 is important. so we have to pass laws in this country to protect our country. so we've seen the civil rights groups in a nonpartisan way protect people's access to the ballot box so that their vote is meaningful and it counts. as a white house, we're committed to doing that also?
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because it's important. this is not about republican or democrat. this is about just acknowledging the facts and making sure that people can vote. so we're appreciative for all of the community that has come together to fight these laws, the business community has come together. but the country has to stand up. the country has to wake up. we see troubling things all across this country, whether it's the rise in hate crimes, whether it is an insurrection at the capitol that people are now saying was not an insurrection, that it was tourists. i was in the capitol. tourists don't act like that. tourists don't present themselves like that. it was an insurrection full of criminals. and so we have to start calling it like it is. and then addressing those things that we have to fix to continue to make this a more perfect union. >> all right. well, thank you for being with, the senior adviser to president
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biden, former congressman cedric richmond. as i mentioned, tuesday marks one year since the killing of george floyd. and the millions of americans who channeled our grief into activism and wondering what will happen next. so joining me now is minnesota governor tim walz. governor, the minnesota legislature has adjourned without passing any police reform at all, mirroring the same in washington. i'm looking at the fact that the democratic controlled minnesota house passed some legislation, but it was not taken up in this senate. are we seeing this all over the country, this partisan divide? because people want to see laws changed. we've marched. we've rallied. we're continuing. there will be a very large
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peaceful rally tonight. what is it we need to do to get laws passed to address an issue that begs of it being addressed? >> yeah, well, welcome back to minnesota, reverend. i think that's one thing. you said it. there is going to be a lot of folks gathering. the floyd family is going to be speaking, and minnesota activists. we watched a year ago as george floyd's humanity was taken in front of the world. and it's forcing minnesota to have these hard conversations. we know that some of these things are not unreasonable at all, no-knock warrants. we saw donte wright be killed for an air freshener or tabs. right as we were expecting to get a little bit of justice in the chauvin trial. so these pieces of legislation that have been authored, mostly by the people of color and indigenous caucus which are right in line with what minnesotans want to see. they want to see accountability. they want to make sure that the situations of george floyd and dante wright aren't done again. they brought them before the process only to see them
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stymied. we will. i'll call them back into a special session in june. we have a budget centered in equity. we have a loft people that covid took proportionate impact on. we need to move money into those communities, and we need to do it hand in hand with police reform. our expectations is they will do this. >> now i saw you at the wright funeral, where i gave a eulogy, and you talked about that there. can we expect that when chauvin, who was convicted for the murder of george floyd is sentenced, if there is a strong sentence, and many of us feel that the time should equal the crime, if there is a strong sentence, do you think that will send a strong message to those in law enforcement that break the law? and we're not accusing all law enforcement of being lawbreaker, but to those that do, how assistant the sentencing? >> it's important. i know there were extenuating
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circumstances. the judge ruled on those. as you know, we have what i consider the best legal team led by keith ellison in the nation, and that's their expectation. but i think that's just a beginning. what we know is that this was an anomaly. we had a white police officer convicted of killing a black man. that's the first time we've ever had a trial in minnesota on it. so i think the idea that i'm -- >> let me put you there the first time in minnesota we've seen a white police officer convicted of killing a black. >> correct. >> and you've had other police killings? >> oh, yes, yes, of course. and so what i'm hearing from some folks who say well, this proves that the system works. that's all we need do. there wasn't a black minnesotan i talked to that thought he was going to be convicted. and they said that because history shows them that. so these changes we have to make before getting to the point of having to go to trial, it escalated into that situation. same with george floyd. same with you go right down the line. this legislation needs to happen. and that's the feeling.
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i think a strong -- a strong sentence will be in that case, but it's not the broader changes that need to happen. well need to stop it before it gets to that point. >> and making one trial where the verdict was mr. than most expected does not mean the system has been corrected. a broke clock is right twice a day. >> that's right. >> we need it more than one time. and we need the laws changed. >> that's correct. >> and the laws addressed. >> i think you're going hear from senator smith, strong champions for george floyd act federally. we need the federal government to act. minnesota can do what we can do. but the federal law, as well know make sure we'll have states that have unequal treatment of this. we in minnesota need to be the example for the rest of the country. well need to pass these laws. we need to make sure we hold folks accountable. but we need federal partners to get that piece done. >> you deployed minnesota national guard several times over the last year. how do you weigh a decision like
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that when we've seen law enforcement, including the national guard escalate otherwise peaceful protests across the country? >> and just to be clear, these are folks exercising their first amendment rights. and to also be very clear, we wouldn't be having the reforms we had without those voices out there. we saw after george floyd's murder, there were small numbers that took advantage of peaceful protests and burned buildings, looted. they were a small number. we couldn't allow that to happen. for me, it's trying to balance that out. i'll be the first to tell you, reverend, we've got to do better. well can't catch up people who are out there peacefully protesting or journalists who get caught in the middle of this. and that's why our post board, our standards board for police officers is going to come up with a model policy. we're internally looking at did we have officer using excessive force in these protests? we have to make sure that we want to create the space necessary for people to peacefully protest. and that's where i feel that the guard can do their best without the burning that happens and those that want to cause mayhem. >> and as you know, i was here
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with the family in and out a lot. and the overwhelming just for the record -- the overwhelming majority of the protests in minnesota were very peaceful. >> that's correct. >> and the overwhelming majority of those were calling for peaceful protests. >> that's exactly right. >> so this effort by some to criminalize all of the protesters is an erroneous claim. >> there are those that will take advantage of it. to be very clear, we've caught them and prosecuted those. those that came to commit arson, they weren't there about george floyd. they weren't there for justice. they were there to cause that that was a small percentage of them. we have to figure out how do we strike that proper balance to create safety amongst folks who are out there, because it is the folks in the street that are bringing change in the state house. it is the folks in the street who are keeping the pressure up to make a difference. and for us to not allow them a safe place to do that will make it more difficult to change the lakers all right. minnesota governor tim walz, thank you for your time. >> thank you, reverend. coming up, i'll be joined by minnesota senator tina smith to discuss the year in criminal
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justice and a fight that is still ahead. but first, my colleague richard lui with today's other top news stories. >> rev, a very good sunday to you. stories we're watching this hour. eight states now saying 70% of their adult population received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. the cdc saying nearly 40% of all adults are now fully vaccinated across the country. the president of belarus reportedly scrambled a fighter jet to force a passenger plane to make an unscheduled landing. on that plane, a prominent critic of belarus' president that he wanted arrested. european leaders condemned this action. the ryanair flight was traveling in belarus airspace on its way from greece to lithuania. air traffic controllers told pilots to land because of a supposed security threat. tomorrow the european union will discuss if this violated international aviation rules. and thousands of people in
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the democratic republic of congo are being forced to flee their homes. one of africa's most active volcanos erupted saturday after nearly two decades. the mountain is spewing lava into sky, and there ittens nearby city with nearly one million people. more "politicsnation" right after the break. re "politicsnat after the break.
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i'm proud to be joined. welcome back. i'm proud to be joined now by senator tina smith from minnesota. senator, as the one-year anniversary of george floyd's death, what do you think has changed when it comes to police reform and criminal justice? >> well, you know, i have been thinking a lot about how i do truly believe that a powerful movement has taken hold of this country over the last year, but i think it also this last year has really shown us that change
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is slow. it is painful. it doesn't happen nearly fast enough. my dear colleague senator cory booker is working so hard to get the george floyd justice in policing act through the senate. and it's hard. there is still so much work we have to do. we also know if we get that work done, it's not as if our work is done. there is so much inequity we have to address in housing and health care and education. one year after the murder of george floyd i am struck by the power of this movement, but also how power doesn't give up power easily. and that's what we're coping with right now. >> president biden has originally hoped to have the policing bill passed by the anniversary of george floyd's death. but it's clear now that will not happen. many of the lawmakers involved in the legislation are still at the table, still optimistic they can eventually come together with a deal. but many of those who marched
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and protest his death understandably concerned, as i am as one of them about the pace of the progress. this issue, what do you say to those of us that are very concerned about the pace? >> well, it was the right thing for the president to set a deadline, to create a sense of urgency, or this could just go on and on and on. but i also think it's right we shouldn't let the deadline dictate -- we have to make sure that what we do is meaningful, that it's not just something that seems nice but doesn't accomplish anything. so what i would tell you is what i tell myself every day. we have to have patience. we have to have patience. we have to persevere, but we have to tell ourselves that what we're doing is really going to make a difference in the lives of black families and families all over this country that want to know when they see that light in the rear view mirror, a sign that they're going to be safe and not at risk.
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>> president biden urged colleagues in the senate to come together and find consensus when ensuring the bill would be passed. what types of police reform do you think republicans and democrats can agree on at this point? because there are some things to me that should not be negotiable. what do you think are the things that can come together? >> i think that we need to have a clear national standard for what use of force should be. i believe our standards right now are too low. i believe that we can't give up on the idea of ending qualified immunity, or at least reforming qualified immunity. it is not acceptable -- that it is impossible, virtually impossible to hold law enforcement police officers accountable when they violate people's constitutional rights. these, of course are, the hardest things to get changed. they're entrenched. but i think that it's important that we keep on fighting on that. we keep on looking for way of getting those things done. >> and when you get into these discussions about intent or
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recklessness, 242, or you get into qualified immunity, if you don't address them, then you're really not changing anything. you're really not dealing with the core problems. >> i think if you don't address that, you don't get at the systems that allow this country to be the place where white police officers kill unarmed black people all the time in this country. we tragically saw that. we couldn't take our eyes away from the terrible video of george floyd. but it happens day after day after day in this country. >> now in your state of minnesota, new incidents of police brutality have occurred even as the case of george floyd has played out in the courts. what do you have to say to your constituents of color who still feel unsafe right here in minnesota when interfacing with police officers? >> well, right now in minnesota and all over this country, we
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have an epidemic of gun violence that is unfolding. you both i think almost an acceptance of violence in black communities, gun violence in black communities at the same time that we see ongoing police brutality. so what i say to my constituents is that we have to use our power to not just talk about this, but to get policy change. and then we have to build our power a so that we can get the real change that we need over the long run. >> do you have hope that there can be some meeting of the ground with a solid meaningful legislation passing the senate, and that we will get past the impasse that whatever senator scott is trying to get his colleagues and himself to do and yet come with something that really means something of substance in terms of addressing this real problem. >> but you have to have hope, or you don't have the momentum. you don't have the energy to keep on trying and to keep on working. i believe that senator scott is
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negotiating in good faith with senator booker and representative bass, and that they are doing their best to come up with common ground. but we need to also understand that this is the republican party, that you still have members of the party which can't say direct to the camera this election president biden was elected lawfully any country. the republican party is under -- is struggling to still address the big lie of this election. and so what are they going to do in the senate? i think we have to keep on hoping and keep on fighting, but it's going to be tough sledding. >> it's amazing to me that we can have some people try and justify an insurrection on the capitol building with them inside, but still can't deal with people that would put their knee on someone's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds and want to debate whether that could be held accountable by law so that it can't happen again. same people. it's amazing to me how they can
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play these kind of mental gymnastics. >> that's right. and it's not lost on us, right, that in the same year that we saw george floyd murdered by a police officer, we saw white supremacists attack the united states capitol. >> and attack capitol police. >> and attack capitol police. i was sitting on the senate chamber floor as i am realizing that this is happening that there is a person waving a confederate flag just steps from where we're sitting. so these things are connected. these things are related. this is about the challenge we have this country to address the systemic racism, the systems that devalue black lives. >> senator tina smith, i have to leave it there. but thank you for joining me tonight. we'll be right back. ack. [sfx: kids laughing] [sfx: bikes passing] [sfx: fire truck siren] onstar, we see them. okay. mother and child in vehicle. mother is unable to exit the vehicle. injuries are unknown.
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there's more ahead on "politicsnation." up next, the man i dubbed the attorney general of black america, civil rights attorney benjamin crump. we'll remember george floyd as tuesday will mark one year since his death, and we'll focus on the long road ahead to ensure justice and safety for black and brown communities nationwide. we'll be right back. naontiwide we'll be right back.
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as people are gathering for this memorial, with members of the floyd family and attorney ben crump, i'm here to speak, as i was here over a little over a year ago to do the eulogy for george floyd, his family, as we did later in houston for george floyd. and then i've done two other eulogies for police shooting victims since the verdict of derek chauvin for the killing of george floyd. we need real change. but that change must come by our
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find yours, on loopnet. [lazer beam and sizzling sounds] ♪♪ he was just here. welcome back to "politicsnation" one year after george floyd's murder, where it seemed like a generational reform for a moment has largely returned to the old normal. the sweeping police reform legislation that emerged in congress has stalled, leaving the president unable to sign it into law by the time the floyd family joins him tuesday in washington. and video documents of police violence continue to accumulate,
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despite last month's historic verdict in the derek chauvin murder trial. but that of course is to take the wrong view with the right intentions, because as much as george floyd's murder launched a rare moment of reflection around policing and race, it was always about the tragic and unjust death of a human being. and for his family, there is no law that can fix that. joining me now is civil rights attorney, the attorney general of black america ben crump. ben, as we are here almost a year later, bridget is here trying to make it before the show ends to join us. will be joining us at the rally at the foundation it's called. his sister, his brother terrance rallied today in brooklyn. philonise and his family will be meeting with the president and then talking to people on the hill. it seems that the movement
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brought us to a moment, but there are others that have not rose to the occasion of really trying to come with some concrete legislation. how hopeful are you that we can see the work jointly being done by senator booker and congresswoman bass and senator tim scott i'm told has made a real effort here. how hopeful are you that something concrete can come in terms of federal legislation? >> reverend al, i'm still encouraged. as you and i often talk, it's ongoing negotiations. we were saddened that it didn't happen by the 25th, which was the one-year anniversary. but i took solace in what you said that we don't want to rush a bill just to say we did it on his anniversary. we wanted to have meaning. and to be meaningful, because that has george floyd's blood on this legislation and so many
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others. so i believe that it's going to happen. the question is how much give and take is going to happen between the two sides of the aisle because it's politics. >> when you look at the that as we are in the courthouse, when we heard about daunte wright being killed, the jury was going into closing arguments, into deliberations, another killing just ten miles away from here. then after that, elizabeth city, where we had the killing there. both cases, you're involved in. national action network and i got involved in, now we have a tape out of louisiana from two years ago, but the tape just going forward. if we can't get federal legislation now, when will we get it? this is a moment that we have not seen like this before, but it can't end without some real
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concrete change and that has to come from the federal government like it did with the civil rights act in '64 and the voting rights act in '65. policing is the critical civil rights issue aside from voting protection, those two issues are the issues of the 21st century. >> absolutely, reverend al. and you know, this will be george floyd's legacy that people will always remember this federal legislation because we haven't had meaningful police reform on the federal level in 57 years. this is our opportunity. and when you talk about the civil rights act, it really has so much irony. jimmie lee jackson was killed, and that was a catalyst for that -- >> for the voting rights act. >> now george floyd being killed on may 25th of last year is the motivation to get this federal legislation. it's sad for black people, reverend al, that somebody has
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to die, somebody has to sacrifice before we can get meaningful federal regulation when others seem to get legislation with not having to even march or protest and do all these things that you know so well that we have to do just to try to get equal justice. >> when you look at the fact that rosa parks said when she sat in the front of that bus in '55, all she could think about was emmett till. when you look at jimmie lee jackson killed was the impetus for the move around voting rights in selma. it's bad that blacks die to make change. it's worse if you see these deaths like george floyd and there is no change. that's what makes it even worse. >> i think when we meet with president biden, reverend al, the family, it's going to be symbolic for all these families, but symbolism isn't enough. we have to get this bill passed. if we miss this opportunity,
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reverend al, i don't know when we will have an opportunity to get meaningful police reform in america. >> when you also look at the fact that you have to at the same time deal with the fact that the progress that many thought would be conviction here of chauvin, all of us were elated that night, though you and i had to wake up the next morning and go to the wake affdaunte wright, and his family is joining us tonight at the rally. you make a step forward, but you have to deal with the fact that unless we get these laws, we're going to keep having to deal with these things. the one thing, though, that did give me hope was that ten policemen testified in the trial against chauvin around george floyd. we saw a police chief take the stand against a policeman. and i have not seen that. and that gives me a sliver of hope that there is some changing
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when policemen are saying wait a minute, this is going too far. >> absolutely, reverend al. and it's profound when you think about attorney general keith ellison, who has this track record of being a champion on civil rights, how zealous he was in prosecuting that case and saying to the police, this is your opportunity to do the right thing. i don't know if we're going to see that in daunte wright's case. don't know if we'll see it in louisiana, so it's rare. we were hoping that would be the new precedent, but i'm not certain. we are on "politics nation," it's so profound when you think about there are 30 attorney generals that will be up for re-election in 2022, and our community and all communities who care about equal justice watch keith ellison, you have to vote for these attorney generals of these states because it could mean all the difference whether we get justice or not. and the last thing i will say, reverend al, is i hear now
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they're talking about, well, we don't know if the police unions will sign on to the george floyd justice in policing act. and they're saying blue lives matter. i think it rings hollow after what we saw on january 6th, 2021, they're not saying blue lives matter for those capitol police, or is it just blue lives matter when a black person is being killed unjustly by the police and we're demanding justice. >> i think dr. king talked about the urgency of now. now is the time. that's why a year later we're still marching all over the country, still gathering. people are saying is it the same momentum? it's going to continue until something is done. it's peaceful. but it is not quiet. and i said at the eulogy here a year ago, some people don't want peace. they want quiet. they want us to shut up and suffer in silence. we are not going to get quiet. we will be peaceful. the question is whether they will be peaceful, the ones
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breaking the peace are the ones justifying violence against unarmed blacks in this country. >> and rev, i can't tell you enough how calming a force you have been for this family and for all of us. i mean, we hope to see it on january 25th, but you said no, if it doesn't happen by then, that's fine. let's don't rush our act just to sign something. let's get something meaningful. we don't know what we're going to get this day again, where we can have police reform that hopefully will prevent you having to do so many eulogies and we see so many hashtags because these are our children. >> that's right. well, we have to leave it there. attorney ben crump, thank you for doing your live interview with us on this day. we're going over to the rally. that does it for me. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here next weekend at 5:00 p.m. eastern. my colleague alicia menendez picks up our news coverage right after the break.
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welcome to "american voices." i'm alicia menendez. we begin with breaking news. a major escalation in what appears to be an all-out war against journalists in belarus. today, the president of belarus ordered a passenger jet to the ground in order to arrest a key opposition blogger who was en route to lithuania. to get the plane to the ground, authorities in belarus scrambled a fighter jet and flagged what
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