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tv   Washington Journal Lawrence O Donnell  CSPAN  July 3, 2018 10:03pm-11:04pm EDT

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the educational policy, politics, history and current events. >> be sure to join us july 21 and 22nd when we will feature our journey to alaska. on c-span,a we can or listen on the c-span radio app. >> next, author and msnbc host lawrence o'donnell at his newly updated book. first published in 1983, which chronicles the 1975 police shooting of an unarmed black and in boston. this is about one hour. host: in 1983, lawrence o'donnell published his book, "deadly force." the msnbc host joins us now from boston. that book was reissued in paperback last week. lawrence o'donnell, why did you think now is the time to revisit this particular story? guest: the problem with police
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use of deadly force has continued in the four decades since i started studying it. the first thing i ever wrote was an op-ed piece in the new york times in 1979 about the problems involving police use of deadly force. that was the very first time that the new york times printed anything about police using deadly force. anything analytical or anything critical. the subject has not changed over time, but it has become something people are more aware of in the last few years because of cable news, the internet, and because of personal handheld videos. we all have video cameras in our pockets now. some police activity which would have happened in the dark of night and could not be proved to be misconduct is now shown through video to be misconduct. that is what we saw in the case of antwon rose, where he was in
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east pittsburgh, running away from a police officer. posing no threat to the police officer. unarmed. officer shot him in the back. that officer has now been shot n the back. that officer has now been criminally charged in that incident because, entirely because, there is video that shows exactly what i just described. my book is an updated version of what i wrote in the 1980's, bringing the story of james bowden which happened here in boston, he was killed by boston police officers, and bringing that story into its modern context now. where people are much more attuned to what these problems are involving police use of deadly force. i want to say, as a statistical overview, and i've been studying this for decades, we have a soft picture of the statistics of police use of deadly force because the fbi crime statistics do not include this number.
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there is no government agency that is collecting the total number of people killed by police. but, having studied it as best we can over this period of time, it is my view that most of the shootings done by police are what police call good shootings. meaning there was no choice. that the other person did indeed have a gun or some kind of legal -- lethal threat being posed to the police officer or somebody else, and that the shooting was by all police rules the right thing to do. so i am not talking about most police shootings. i'm talking about the problem cases, and i am definitely talking about the unarmed cases. and in particular, the case of unarmed black men, which is a real problem area in the police use of deadly force. and the case i talk about in my book is one of the cases of an unarmed black man in boston.
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it turned into a very dramatic trial. my father was the lawyer in the case. the widow of james bowden, who was killed by police, came to my father and asked him to take the case. the boston police were surprised because my father used to be a boston police officer. he started his work life as a boston police officer and he ended up working hard and full-time as a police officer, but going to law school, college and law school during the nights here in boston. so he was able to take on that case with the unique perspective of being a police officer himself. and he got into a multiyear very dramatic war with his own police department. and that is the story i tell in the book. and i do think that in those days, probably no other lawyer could have successfully handled that case. because there was no video showing how he was shot in the back.
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and it took everything that he knew as the ex cop and a trial lawyer to bring the truth to the jury in that case. which he did in that case. host: i want to talk about the statistics. and also invite our viewers to call in if they want to join the discussion. democrats, (202) 748-8000. republicans, (202) 748-8001. independent, (202) 748-8002. but before we get to those statistics, who was james bowden and where was he, what happened that night in 1975? guest: he was 25 years old. he was working full-time as a maintenance worker at boston city hospital. he was married and had two children. a four-year-old daughter and six-month-old son. and one of the big surprises for the police on smith street in y ins vary in -- roxbur
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boston in the middle of the housing project, after they shot him, was the discovery that he had no criminal record. and that is the thing that really changes the nature of a police investigation of a police shooting. what they expect in these instances, even if it is a bad shooting, is that they find someone with a criminal record and they are going to be able to say, he was a bad guy, and it will be easier to tell the story that he somehow threatened them, even though he was unarmed. and none of that worked in this case. in what was a boston police department cover up. and it took years for us to dismantle that. and by us i mean my father and my whole family. my older brothers were lawyers and they all worked on this case with my father. i investigated this along with him and i ended up speaking to more police officers in boston about the case then my father was able to bring in to the case legally, because my book covers more territory than just the court case.
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and so in that investigation, both the courtroom investigation and my own, we discover that the police knew right away that this was a very bad shooting. and the word went out that we are going to have to tell a story about this one. and they got together -- that thing about police coverups in this situation is that they are all imperfect, to put it mildly. and in those days, most of them never got examined by anyone. so if we hadn't studied it, we wouldn't have been able to show just how badly this police cover-up was put together. and that is why it unraveled in front of a jury in court. host: so your father was a police officer before he went into law. why did he take the case? guest: because he was a police officer, that's one was one reason. when he heard this story and read the newspaper article about
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it, because there was only one newspaper article about it, he saw enough. he had a very strong suspicion that this was a bad shooting. host: what did he see? guest: it was primarily what he knew about james bowden. that he had no criminal record. and the profile that i just gave you. when he heard that, when he heard that from his widow, the first thing that any cop thinks is that well, this isn't the kind of guy who gets into this time of trouble. by the time he is 25 years old and he has no criminal record, he probably plays life pretty straight. and so he started to suspect right away there was something wrong. but there is another personal and emotional side of this. that is, when my father was 11 years old, he lost his father in tragic circumstances so he was sitting there in his office in boston, talking to a widow with
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two children at home. and what he says in me after he had decided to take the case, actually years later when i asked about, why did you take the case, he said i could not let that widow go home that day without a lawyer. host: the widow you mention is patricia. jamail is the son. what happened to them at the end of the case? guest: the case took several years to go through court. it went to trial once. and in the city of boston appealed, because my father won the case for the family. the appeal took seven years. it went all the way to the supreme court. it went back for another trial. my father tried the case again and won again. and this is part of the new material in the book. it took years to collect the civil rights judgment that the jury gave the family in federal court. because the city of boston was
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under no obligation to pay it. as most cities at that time were. they were under no legal obligation to pay a judgment for any family that brought a case like this. and so it took years. and it took political pressure, which is not something that the o'donnell family could exercise in boston, because we were not politically connected in any way at that time. but the african-american community in boston rallied around this cause. local preachers, especially got involved. and in they brought the pressure to city hall. especially after the mayor change. we had a mayoral election and there was a new mayor and that was the one who actually pay the judgment that the city owed and was hit with during the time of the previous mayor. so that took quite a while. when we see these cases today and we see the really bad
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shootings, the really bad killings -- eric garner on staten island -- one of the things we see that is now almost routine, especially if there is video, like there was video of eric garner -- within a relatively short amount of time compared to the seven year saga that i talk about in my book, within a relatively short amount of time, approximately one year, you will see the city involved make a financial settlement with the family in usually a matter of millions of dollars. in the case of eric garner, $5 million. that came from the city of new york. in the 1980's, when this case was going through the court, there were none of those settlements. none of them. and no one had ever really won one of these verdicts, taken it to trial and won the verdict in federal court. so the system has changed in
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that way. it has improved in that way. there are many spots of isolated improvement that i can identify in the problems associated with police use of deadly force. and i am happy to say being in boston today that the boston police department is one of the areas of improvement. and bill evans, who is the current police commissioner in boston, is one of the best police leaders -- if not the best police leader -- currently working in the united states. and i do not believe that the story that i tell in my book that happened with the boston police department in the 1970's and 1980's could happen in today's boston police department and i hope i am right about that. host: you mentioned the family, the dedication in the book, "deadly force: a police shooting." you can see the dedication there. lawrence o'donnell is joining us
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to talk about the release of his book. again, phone lines for democrats, republicans and independents. if you want to join the conversation. we will start with art in painesville, ohio. mine for democrats. -- line for democrats. art, good morning. caller: this isn't why i am calling. but you can't strangle a guy in 15 seconds. like you saw in that film. and number two, from what i have read 900 police shootings a year. 600 of them are white. under 200 are black. the others are hispanic. number three, what happened to the white lady killed in minnesota when she called the police and she was in her pajamas? how come you don't play up that story? host: i will let you take that on. guest: there are more than 900. 900 is an approximation. and "the washington post," since the killing of michael brown, has dedicated an effort every year to try to figure out and
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account for the total number of people killed by police. and we still don't have it. but "the washington post" approximation is the best and it is well over 1000 at this point. host: fatal force is what they call that effort to stay on top of the numbers each year. so far in 2018, the number is 516 people have been killed so far this year. guest: and we are halfway through the year. back when i was studying, we didn't have the internet. we literally, when i was first starting it, we had to literally cut with scissors articles out of newspapers around the country, the big city newspapers that we could get, and that eliminated all the smaller towns where this was happening. the highest number we could get back in the 1970's, the highest approximation was 600. now, it is very likely that
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there were many more shootings in the 1970's and 1980's that n there are now. we have seen with large individual police departments, the number of shootings by police have declined steadily. but at the same time, the number of killings of police officers has declined also. so the overall rate of gunfire around police officers seems to have declined rather significantly over the last 30 years or so, but it is a real struggle to get at what the numbers are. and every questionable case out there is something that people can argue about. and struggle with, and try to figure out exactly what happened. so the aftermath that we really want to see are good, honest investigations. investigations with the best of
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intentions from beginning to end. and in some cases, and it is a minority of the cases, we want to see a jury in a courtroom make a decision about what they believe happened. host: 516 police shootings so far this year. 21 more than a same time last year in 2017, according to "the washington post." 987 people were fatally shot. -- fatally shot by police, that compares to 963 and 2016. 2015 it was lawrence o'donnell, 995. has there been an effort -- guest: if i could just stop you on the approximations. remember, this is an approximation. this is the number that "the washington post" has been able to actually document. the real number is something higher than that. host: has there been an effort to get the federal government to track this officially?
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guest: yes. just a fewars, democrats in congress have tried to get the justice department to do this. the justice department has specifically refused to do it. host: dennis in austin, texas. line for democrats, go ahead. caller: yes, my name is denise. i am calling to say that i feel like policing is completely off-balance. i remember when there was not a shoot to kill policy. but i feel like as a black woman, the police are not there to protect me. they are more threatening and they are more likely to kill me. and i feel like with all of these call ins, that white people feel like they are there to protect and serve them only. that is my comment. thanks. guest: listen, i hear that all the time and all i can say is i
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can completely understand how someone would feel that way. host: you point out in your book that a problem in the 1970's, many police departments didn't have deadly force rules. do they all have that now? guest: yes, they pretty much all have deadly force rules now. and the rules are almost all good rules. they are with the most advanced rules were in the 1970's and they are defense of life rules. meaning, the rule in most departments is specified. some departments that do not specify it are controlled by the state law from where they are. so it is a defense of life rule. you cannot shoot somebody just because they are running away from you. in fact, one year after my book came out, the supreme court ruled you cannot shoot someone just because that person is running away from you, just because you are a police
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officer. some states used to specifically thatfleeing felon laws said a police officer can legally shoot anyone who they suspect of a felony who is running away from them. did not matter if they were armed, unarmed, it didn't matter if they were a threat to anyone. but that has been struck down. so the basic rule, it has to be in defense of life. i don't think anybody disputes that. and i fully support police officers using deadly force in the defense of their lives or others. it is that area where after-the-fact we look at it and we say, well, what was the threat to life here? those are the cases that really have to be thoroughly investigated. host: the book "deadly force," the author, lawrence o'donnell is with us for the next 30
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minutes. join us. we have phone numbers for democrats, republicans and independent callers. derek is in independent in minnesota. caller: good morning, c-span. good morning, america. i have a question at the end, but i will veer off because you put this person on air and i think the rhetoric and the propaganda that has been coming out ever since donald trump was elected, i personally hold people like your guest responsible for the congressional shooting of our congressmen at the baseball game because of this rhetoric and talk. i have tuned into your show and you, rachel maddow, chris matthews, you are so disgusted with the president that i have never heard so much negativity. and just outright violent talk. coming out of your mouth. so i would say two things. one question is, name two things
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you love about our current president. that is all i will say. guest: what we do with my hour of television, the only one that i can explain, is we deal with the truth as we see it. and most of the time, most days, the president of the united states, in most instances, is not only not on the side of truth, but he is provably says -- saying things that are not true. the lies of the president of the united states is now a category of journalistic tracking and journalistic statistical analysis. how often and how much he lies. we have never lived with a presidency like this. so the job of covering this presidency is unlike the job of covering any presidency that we
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have ever had to cover. so for people who are thrilled with this presidency and who want to pretend that the president doesn't lie every day about the tiniest things -- the tiniest things and the biggest things -- that there are no more nuclear threats from north korea, things like that. if you want to believe that, this is the country where you can believe that. and there's not a thing that i am ever going to say that will end or upset your beliefs in that. host: your book, "playing with fire, the transformation of american politics." what lessons can we take today from looking back 50 years ago to that campaign? guest: 50 years ago, we see the beginnings of the politics that we live with now. 50 years ago in that campaign,
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that was the presidential campaign where roger ailes entered his work life in politics. he was in show business. richard nixon lured him into the campaign to help with the tv side of the campaign. and he did a great job of that. he went on to work on other successful republican campaigns, and then run fox news for many years. so roger ailes, who was brought into politics in 1968 had a longer-lasting effect on presidential politics than even richard nixon. we saw in 1968 an opening on the left side of the democratic party that we hadn't seen before, that was the jean mccarthy campaign. followed by the bobby kennedy campaign. those were insurgent campaigns on the left side of the party, running against the more moderate democratic establishment. we saw that model again with bernie sanders in 2016.
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so there are all sorts of dynamics that began in 1968, that we continue to see in our politics today. host: coming off of that question that we asked our democratic viewers in the first segment of "washington journal" today, you see that same opening happening in the form of cortez and what happened last week in new york? guest: it is really hard to say, especially in house races. there are so many of them. and there is always a rush, as soon as anything like this happens, there is always a rush to attach a large and important explanation to it which has nothing to do with local politics. and that is always countered by the tip o'neill saying that all politics is local. and it takes a while to figure out and find out what these things mean. i mean, i was working in the
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united states senate in 1994 in the midterm congressional election of the clinton presidency's first term, and the speaker of the house, the democratic speaker of the house was defeated back home in his own reelection campaign. and no one knew what to read into that because it was so shocking. and it turned out there really wasn't much to read into it. there wasn't much to change about the way the democrats were running their campaigns. and what was going on was an energy that was against the progressivism of the current cash of the clinton presidency. -- of the clinton presidency. and the clinton presidency from that point forward, after its first two progressive years became a very moderate, slow-moving presidency. because at that point it was
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completely controlled by a republican congress. bill clinton became the editor of the republican legislation, to the effect that he could. and it is very hard to tell. and i was fascinated by the bronx, queens district. i know it well. and in some ways, i am surprised joe crowley was able to hold onto it for as long as he did. because of the demographic change in the district. but i'm going to wait and be patient about that, to see what it means to the party. and it could be something that is a large and important trend. i will admit to not being one who thought bernie sanders was going to do well at all as a democratic challenger to hillary clinton for the nomination. bernie sanders started off at 3% and i remember privately
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thinking that ok, maybe 6% or 9%? maybe? and so i sat back and i watched that sanders surge with real surprise and that kind of i kind of patiently studied it in real time. and so i am one who will have to wait. i cannot make judgments about what these things mean instantaneously. host: a question from twitter. what is the difference between socialism and democratic socialism? guest: semantics. socialism in the 1950's in america became a bad word and we then became anti-intellectual about socialism. we as a country stopped thinking about what it actually is and we adopted, for the most part, a posture of fear against the word and the concept of socialism.
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and so when medicare was proposed in the 1960's, the argument against it was essentially, it is socialism. that was the entire argument. and it was kind of surprising that that argument didn't work, especially because it was true. medicare is socialism. and everyone on medicare is the beneficiary of a very smart socialistic program called medicare. and to deny that it is socialism is to deny economic literacy. but that is what our politics does. so socialism, it turns out, is not terrifying if you know what it is. the other thing about socialism is it is all around us in the united states and it has been for most of the 20th century. and our country would not work without it. every country in the world is now what economists call a mixed
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economy. meaning they are mixes, to varying degrees, of capitalism and socialism. and cuba is at one extreme of socialism, with very little capitalism. and the united states is in an area that is much more toward the middle. i mean, think about our health care system. almost half of the spending in the american health care system is government spending. that is socialistic spending. every single penny. so is our health care system socialist? no. is our health care system capitalist? no. is our health care system socialistic? yes. does our health care system have capitalistic elements? yes, it does. and so people have to grow up, they have to drop their fear of the word, they have to look at
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the socialism that they like, they have to look at the socialism they think is smart. they have to look at it like social security and other socialistic programs that they do not even know are socialistic programs, and relax about the word, and make adult decisions about just how much socialism is the right mix for this economy and how much capitalism is the right mix. and the truth of it is, we cannot run this country without both of them. host: lawrence o'donnell. joining us from boston this morning. and robert is joining us from connecticut. an independent. go ahead. caller: yes, every year in america, twice as many white people are shot and killed by the police. why is it that we don't see many crying white mothers on tv? why is it always black? and why did hillary clinton put
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the mothers of the black victims, but with the white police officers who killed, where were their mothers? you think there should be something? i have a few friends who are cops and they show me the statistics on black men and how they murder people at a rate that is 10 times more than whites and latinos put together. but it is always about the black. where are the crying white mothers? guest: every case has to be analyzed individually. and when you do that, you do discover that there is a peculiar phenomenon involved with the unarmed black male victim. that in statistical terms, we see more of those. than we do of white victims. and let's remember what i said at the beginning, when you wonder about the cases that get protested and the ones that don't get protested, what i said at the beginning is that it is
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my belief that most shooting by police, most of it, is justified. so most of it does not provoke any protests at all. we see a very tiny number of protest, if we talk about 1000 or more killings by police in a given year and we see a typical maximum less than a dozen over police use of deadly force, we're talking tiny a really, really piece of the total. so you cannot draw conclusions about what is happening overall with the police use of deadly force just by looking at the cases that get protested. host: a passage from your book, we wanted you to expand on. you write, "black america has known there was a problem.
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a friend, a neighbor, a cousin casessed or heard about of unjustified use of police deadly forced and passed the word. but it took a series of technological developments for white america to hear the stories. cable news, body cam video, a camera phone in everyone's pocket." guest: it also took the shooting of michael brown, because that was the first one that was protested in a major way. during the era of cable news and the internet. prior to that, it would have gone a significant distance in we had a major protest. i know people get the feeling that all of these cases are protested, but that is not even close. what the michael brown case did was it focused menus media on -- the news media on this issue very first time in the
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age of cable news. and because the protesting in ferguson, missouri, turned into rioting, the cable networks were hours a day, people covering it on the internet were 24 hours a and the subject of police use of deadly force was suddenly front and center because of those developments. and especially the aftermath for a few weeks in ferguson. and that was the moment where -- no matter what you think of that particular shooting -- that was the moment where america kind of stopped and went and realized, we will need to have to pay attention to this. host: from alabama. democrats. good morning. caller: good morning. lawrence o'donnell, i can't believe i have a chance to speak to you. thank you so much for speaking and standing up for us who have no public voice. man, you are so special. this element of fascism and racism that has taken over the
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country is bringing fear to everybody who has common sense. but what i'm asking you to do -- most of all, is to take and define how these republicans are actually defining what the democrats are about. we allow them to call us baby killers. man, we hate abortions. we are the real pro-life people. i will let you get back to saying what you were saying, because what you are saying is so important in every way. thank you so much. guest: that is a good point. it is a difficult thing that -- the politics of abortion are difficult. and one of the things that's hard on the democratic pro-choice side of it, is to talk about abortion specifically. because i have never met anyone who is pro-choice who takes
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abortion lightly and doesn't think this is a difficult thing for people to go through. but that part of it -- it is hard to find the public rhetoric for that discussion. i certainly have never found the public rhetoric for that side of the discussion. but abortion is obviously what the next supreme court confirmation process is going to be all about. democrats are going to try to do everything they can to bring attention to the possibility that roe v. wade is at risk in this confirmation process. and that means that they are going to strategically be trying to put enormous pressure on republicans. susan collins from maine and the republican lisa murkowski of alaska who are the only two thechoice republicans in united states senate.
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and the democrats do not have any procedural or parliamentary trick that they can play on the senate floor or in the judiciary committee that could block this nomination. the democrats in the senate know that the only way the nomination could be stopped is with republican votes. and they know that senator and they know that senators murkowski and collins are the two most likely republican votes for them to try to attract. so they will be spending all of their time doing that. host: should harry reid have used the fluoroption in 2013 to the vote threshold and get rid of the judicial filibuster except for supreme court justices? guest: i worked in the senate for seven years. and at that time in the 1990's, we respected every one of the rules. and each side had used the rules to their own advantage at some time. side knew on the day that we were being frustrated by
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that thereter rule would be another day down the road that we would be using the filibuster rule in exactly the way our opponents were using it day. and so i was extremely reluctant, i was very slow to join in the chorus of get rid of it. people have to remember, harry reid was under tremendous pressure to get rid of it. my voice was not included in that pressure. that is another thing where i just kind of sat back and watched and it did not have a strong feeling about it. what i do believe now is that if majority leader harry reid had not done it then, then mitch mcconnell would do it now. i don't see any reason why mitch mcconnell would not have done thing right now. host: caller from ohio is next. republican. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. i would like to say that in the
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1950's, they didn't have miranda rights until an illegal person, a mexican person, was jailed for rape. and later on they took it to the supreme court. and that is where the miranda rights came from. and later on they found out he was guilty of rape. you might be familiar with the case. also, i wanted to say that the thin blue line is getting thinner all the time. and i kind of wonder if the real goal here isn't to disarm our police officers. you know, the killing in dallas with the police officers, the way those guys were taken down, that triangleular shooting, that hit job,fessional lawrence. i don't know if you realize that. that was not just some ordinary shooting that happened when that
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guy opened up on those people in that parking garage. and killed them like that. o'donnell.ce guest: i agree. it was. and we all were outraged at that. and there wasn't anyone in america supporting what happened to those police officers. those police officers did heroic work and the police officers who tried to stop that killing, stop that killer, 100% of them that night, every single police officer in and around that work. was doing heroic for a long time they had no idea where the shots were coming from. and i will never forget that night and covering it. and i was watching nothing but heroic police work that night. and i never heard a comment anywhere in this country that said anything different. that night.e saw the loss of those police officers was a terrible tragedy and a terrible tragedy for their
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families and for the country. glad to say that is really what all of the news time deliveredt at the time. host: ed in jackson, tennessee. independent. good morning. caller: we can have justice when those who have not been injured by injustice are as outraged by it as those who have been. that was written like 2000 years ago. good to talk to you, lawrence. the difference is, the question the guy asked earlier about, where is the outrage when white cops get killed? and these people get killed. the outrage is that the police are hardly ever held accountable. the black guys that killed these certain people, they are put in prison for life, the death penalty. that is the difference. and what i want to mention -- i don't know if you mentioned this. police in other countries, our
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country kills 1000 people a year. some of these other countries, they haven't killed 50 people in 50 years. did you see that in "the guardian?" they have all of these numbers. for example, wails, england, population 56 million people. 55 fatal police shootings in 24 years. the united states, 59 fatal police shootings in the first 2015.s of guest: yes. that is the life of guns in america. look, the reason to concentrate on the subject is that police officers are the government workers who have more power over you than any other government workers, including the president of the united states, including the supreme court, including every member of congress. alone among those government workers, the police officer can
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kill you. and can shoot and kill you on the spot with no trial. no jury. death penalty. on the street. that power is enormous. that power is a power that we cannot trust is being employed judiciously and carefully all the time. it is as simple as that. when you invest that enormous power in human beings, you have to be ready to deal with the possible mistakes that those human beings can make. host: a question asked in a recent nbc news article, after two officers were charged in two fatal police shootings, are arrests happening faster? guest: in general, certainly by a giant order of magnitude, they are happening much faster than when i first started
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studying the subject in the 1970's and 1980's. they basically were not happening at all. there would just be a couple of arrests at most, in the course of a year. sometimes zero. because the evidence wasn't there. the kind of evidence that was irrefutable. remember, the evidence you need in prosecuting a police officer is a much higher bar. juries are inclined to favor and sympathize with a police officer, as so many of our callers do this morning. and some will sympathize with the police officer to the point of thinking that the police officer can do no wrong. so it is a high standard of bringing charges against police officers in these cases, and those charges are rare. but we certainly see more of those prosecutions now than we used to and a lot of that is thanks to the personal videos that people are able to make of the shooting incidents. host: what was the crucial evidence in the james bowden case? guest: it was the accumulation
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of evidence that you needed at that time. the autopsy report, for example, it showed he was shot in the back and back of the neck. police story wases that james bowden seemed to be them.ening and looked like he was holding a gun in his hand and he was aiming at them. and the devastating question in cross-examination was that if he was looking at you and aiming a gun at you, how did you shoot him in the back and the back of the head? and then the gun that james bowden, according to police officers, was using that night was found very far from the location of the shooting and the next question becomes, if james that gun, how did he throw it so far away after he was shot in the back and the the head and was dead? because he would've had to throw the gun far away after he was dead.
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the gun that they claimed he used was an automatic pistol and they eject shells when they are fired and there was no ejected shell found inside james bowden's car. so that was just the tip of the iceberg of the evidence pile that took a couple of weeks to present to a jury. no gun powder residue on james bowden's hands. no james bowden fingerprints on the gun that was found way down the street after the shooting. the police officer who found the gun told me -- he didn't testify in the court case -- but he told me he believed it was planted by other police officers because he found it two hours after the shooting. he arrived to the scene late and was told specifically by the sergeant to go "look over there" -- in effect go look under the car. and he looked under a car and there it was. and he told me right away that he thought it was a dirty gun. this is what they call in those throw-away gun.
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host: the entire case discussed, and the shooting, in his book "deadly force: a police shooting and my family's search for the truth" rereleased last week. lawrence o'donnell is with us for the next 10 minutes to take questions. good morning. caller: i would like to thank lawrence o'donnell because i watch msnbc all the time and i believe just about everything they report. but i also -- i don't really think there is a solution to this problem as far as the police killing black youths. because i think it is because the police are going into these areas with attitudes, you know, they go into impoverished areas with attitudes and think that these guys possess weapons already. and they may have an attitude, or they may be part of a gang, and they go in there and it suddenly tempers flare. and guns erupt, or what?
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guest: yeah, i think attitude is the central explainer ultimately police usecases of of deadly force. and it is completely human. the attitude is fear. it is fear of the situation. fear of the place they are in, if it is a community that is alien to them. it is fear of the person they are confronting. and it turns out after the fact that the fear is not justified, in so many cases, but fear is what you see when you study the cases. in the case of james bowden, the two police officers jump out of their car, they run up to his car and they immediately, within three seconds, start firing. they do not yell, "we are police officers, get out of your car." they don't do anything. they were terrified. and they were unjustifiably terrified about what they were confronting. and police officers never want to say, i was afraid.
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police officers never want to because i what i did was afraid. just, for a moment, try to get into their situation and imagine what it is they're truth of it is, it is fear. the bad cases are cases of police officers quickly overreacting to their fear. host: call from illinois. valdez is an independent. good morning. caller: i am a retired police officer out of california. and for 23 years i was a police trainer so i've had an opportunity to look at these shootings. and sadly, when i started my career in 1981, you never drew your gun on any unarmed person for any reason, unless it was so extreme that you had no choice. but what i see these days sadly is so many things i cannot even begin to explain.
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how we got here. other than i have been hearing words fear, the demographic change. the reality is that if you look history, anybody who can change.ople don't like and people who have been in control for so long, they see the demographic shift. and so they are injecting fear into the people who look not like me. brown, black, poor whites. so what is happening is something that will absolutely going to happen, using a model, you go 50 years ago, you know, mexicans were hat in hand. of you go to the state california, good luck trying to virtuallybecause it's controlled by mexican people. is that good or bad, i cannot say, but back to the police shootings i can tell you this -- i wish we could sit and talk, because after analyzing most of these shootings, there is no
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reason for perception to become a reality when you are a police officer. you cannot say, i thought he had a gun. did you see one? no, i didn't. well, why did you think he had one then? host: stay on the line for a second. chancewrence o'donnell a to jump in here.'s a very good i want to add one thing that i confirm caller can about police work. this is one of the challenges for modern police training. when my father became a police officer, there were no cop shows tv. he learned how to be a police officer through training. everyone who shows up for police work now goes through a minimum of 20 years of very bad training showsevision watching cop and watching movies with dramatic cop stories in them. the truth of police work is that most police officers in america career never fire their guns, they are never shot at. and every police officer is shot
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at and fires their gun in every tv.ce show every night on so the police officers coming get tostem before they training are overtrained on the and the likelihood of use of firearms. host: is that something you saw in your experience? caller: yes, spot on as far as be havingays going to a healthy fear, you should. but when it gets to the point that you're so afraid and i attribute it as a police training and most of my life as grapplingarts, sports, what have you, i always alwaysealthy fear but i kept myself fit. i see that lacking in a lot of dments. 1981.ted in my friend were saying, you have to get yourself into shape, because we were expected to train quarterly, which is not nearly enough. but i challenge anybody to go around the country and if they have training once a year, that
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is a lot. wantse people just don't to train. it costs money so you have cops shape, sot in good they become afraid. if you don't feel comfortable in yourself, you will have that fear. and what happens, you have these shootings that are, in my opinion, from what i've seen -- i don't have the reports in they have been grossly wrong in the outcome. host: think you for sharing your experience. guest: i want to add to that and say that there are no better analysts of bad police shootings than police officers and former police officers like the caller heard. they know what a bad one looks like. and they know what a good one looks like. host: elizabeth is here in d.c., republican. morning. caller: good morning. terms of theng in police shootings, the most recent one, if the man had car instead of
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fleeing, if that would have outcome?he guest: we have no idea. antwon rose got out of the car and ran away from police and the officer shot him in his back. we have seen young unarmed men -- black men stay in the car, be car, as they're sitting in the car. what is really difficult about this is it is very hard to try to figure out what recommendation, what behavioral recommendation would you make to young unarmed black men in encounters. and having studied this for decades, i am very sorry to say that i do not know what to say. i cannot look at what rose jr. did and say, he should have done that, why did he do that, or did he know that being an unarmed and running away from a police officer was going to get him shot in the back in this country? that is against the law.
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host: time for one or two more calls. to louisville, kentucky. go ahead. caller: yes, i want to really commend lawrence o'donnell. because i look at his program. and i want to also say that the officer who called in from california and he told you he sinceen on an officer 1981. and i have been an officer since 1961. 20 years. and i never shot anybody. i never killed anybody. anybody.sed and i came in at a time when had throw down knives and throw down guns. that's a fact. and anyone who is afraid of police should not get a job as a police officer. you can get any kind of job that you want out there. to i'm saying this, "washington journal." the washington journal is a program that you can look at and you see what the real america is.
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because you have people calling in and saying the types of things that they say. lawrence o'donnell is about the truth. been in had our national convention there. the national black police association, i'm one of the founders. we were founded in 1972. and that is the time when police were shooting people and all of this stuff. so i would commend lawrence and also rachel, on that program. the thing is, the truth, the truth -- the opposite of the truth is a lie. to not show any of the truth is a lie. you can't deny- that the president lies. that's wrong, y'all. you tell your children and you talk about the bible and that kind of stuff, it says tell the truth. shelby ins
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louisville, kentucky. lawrence o'donnell, give you the last 60 seconds. guest: you are hearing from an experienced former police officer there who is telling you the way that things were. he talked about what they used to call a throwdown knife or a throwdown gun. that was evidence they could plant in these situations suspect wasrmed killed. and that is the story i tell in my book, the 1975 killing in boston. very dramatic story and unfortunately it's a story us.'s still with what happened to james bowden's mother, losing her son, is the same thing that happened to antwon rose's mother, who lost her son two weeks ago. there are marginal ways in which we have gotten better in dealing with this phenomenon, and we have become more honest in dealing with the phenomenon, but those marginal improvements are no consolation to the mother of
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antwon rose jr. today. host:the book, "deadly force: a police shooting and my family's truth," thehe author, lawrence o'donnell. thanks so much for your time morning. [captions performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] announcer: challenges facing american democracy. watch "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern wednesday morning. join the discussion. announcer: this week, you're watching c-span programs in eastern,, at 8:00 p.m. wednesday, goldman sachs chair lloyd blank fine. fiat you could go for that currency why couldn't you have a consensus currency? for me.
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i don't do it. and goldman bitcoin sachs as far as i know has no bitcoin but if it does work out, the historicalu path why that could happen. announcer: thursday, racism in america. >> black fears of white people are totally justified. aree fears of black people not. announcer: and friday, actor and cameron, attorney general jeff sessions and corey gardener speaking at in the year's western conservative summit in colorado. >> we at the department are hammering the criminals and violent groups especially ms13, the vicious gang, one of most violent and inhumane groups in the world. kill,motto, get this, rape and control. announcer: this week in c-span.e on and on the free app.n radio mexican ambassador geronimo
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discussedfernandez current relations with the united states after sunday's presidential election. included future nafta negotiations and u.s. mexico issues.ecurity the hudson institute hosted this 50-minute event. >> good


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