tv Politics Nation MSNBC March 19, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
>> okay. james warren jonathan alter, appreciate the time tonight. thank you for joining us. that is "the ed show." "politics nation" with reverend al sharpton starts right now. good evening, rev. \s. >> good evening, ed. i'm live in chicago tonight. breaking news tonight. we're awaiting a statement from the attorney for 20-year-old martis johnson. he's the 20-year-old university of virginia student whose arrest is making national headlines. it was this picture that went viral, showing his face bloodied while handcuffed this week that is triggering protests around uva and renewing questions about policing in this country. the incident occurring early wednesday morning outside a bar near campus. two agents from the department of alcoholic beverage control made an arrest handcuffing
johnson and bringing him to the ground. >> i go to uva. i go to uva, you [ bleep ]. i go to uva, [ bleep ]. how is this happening? how did this happen? >> they were just like yo -- >> johnson is charged on two counts -- obstruction of justice without force, and public swearing or intoxication. the arrest report describes johnson as quote, very agitated and belligerent, but a friend who shot the video says johnson wasn't being aggressive at all, and the incident triggered immediate protests with over 1,000 protesters on the strides of uva last night. after getting stitches in the hospital johnson himself spoke, urging protesters to remain calm. >> i want the remainder of the students up here to share their
opinions and share their feelings, so i beg for you guys regardless of your personal opinions and the way you feel about subjects to please respect everyone here. we're all part of one community, and we deserve to respect each other, especially in times like this. thank you. >> fellow students say johnson is well known on campus. he's a vice chair for the school's honor committee. the two agents who made the arrest have been assigned to administrative work pending the investigation. the agencies released a statement, quote -- a determination was made by the agents to further detain the individual based on their observation and further questions. the individual received treatment for his injuries at a local hospital and was released. there's still a lot we don't know and there's a criminal
under investigation under way, trying to answer what exactly happen. how did he end up like this? again, any minute now, we will see johnson with his attorney. joins me is -- at uva, eugene o'donnell, professor of long and police -- and criminal defense attorney. what has he told you about what happened? >> that's correct. let me put in perspective what i'll do. i want to make sure that people know where i'm getting my information from. i am a professor of emergency medicine served as the chair at
uva for over ten years and -- i'mle an administrator, as you said vice i've been on this committee for 20 years. i spoke with some other students who were here on the corner and other student leaders. the information that i received from him is he was not intoxicated. there was a breathalyzer test that was done. he was not physically obstructing the officers from arresting him. and he had a valid i.d. what i understand escalated the situation was when he was asked for his i.d. he showed his i.d., the officers asked about the zip code and gave the zip code of his new address in illinois, but the i.d. he has,
which is current, with the age of country had a different zip, so therefore the officer evidently thought he had a fake i.d. or falsifying the information. any then it escalated from there. the according to him, the officer pushed hi neck done to the hard surface, that's when he received the las railings an he received ten stitches. >> you're saying he was not intoxicated in. >> that. >> i don't have access to his records, but he told me the test indicated he was not arrested. >> do you consider this
excessive force? >> i certainly do. i think this could have been de-escalated. i don't think the force was necessary to get to the information that the officers needed it. that's corroborated by other students who i have spoken with as well. as an emergency physician -- i've seen him a couple times in the last few days i saw the images. i actually you know examined hess wounds and could see where the ten stitches were placed forehead into the scalp, and that shouldn't happen. i mean in my 30 years of emergency medicine, this is an unusual treatment. i've taken gunshot wounds, stabbings, intubated students -- b. you way this was described to me i believe the force was
unnecessary. >> eugene what's your take on this? >> this is a recipe for disaster. uniformed agents in the midst of kids that are exhume rant may be drinking challenges they kids. to de-escalate and disengage, but you can't think of a wort scenario than creating these frontal conversations. so once again, what's the mission here? what is the agency doing? wheres the legislature to define it and control it? what is the alternatives that if you're going to go after underage drinking which indeed you should how do you make this kind of confrontation the absolute minimum policy.
obviously there's something to do gosh this seems like a very bad idea. >> we're waiting any moment. what are state investigators looking at right now? >> well certainly investigators should be looking at how did this event start? the police should be in a position of saying i don't believes in a legitimate police activity. thfsz not a bad kid at the front, basically saying that i was not belligerent.
i view them as kind of they obstruction of justice, these are things that they associate basically with alcohol, whether it's true or not, so these are standard languages. what the police have to do is see if there's rangely independent corroboration for what the officers have said. if not, then these charges really should be dismissed and they should not go forward. it's clear civil rights violation from my point of view. a use of excessive force, but i think training is the big issue here. are we really? a business -- these are -- officers should have backed off once they realized they had the right organization. when you have police officers particularly who are not that well trained in dealing with everyday police business.
what is the feeling around campus today? bass martice is majoring in italian and media, the vice chars of community relations, and he's an executive board member of the black student alliance so he's a part of this community. >> absolutely. he's a one of the young man, contributed in a number of ways. he's worked as an orientation leader for new student rivals. i met him when he arrived here and kind of follow his progress. he's a imagine contributor. we work hard to make the university of virginia a welcoming community. this type of aggress shouldn't be brought upon anyone.
martese hopefully will have these charges dropped and also have the charge of intoxicated in public dropped. he doesn't deserve this. >> what is the mood on campus? what are the students saying? >> there was a rally last night in the amphitheater here about 1500 students or so. the students spoke their minds, very emotional. including staff, students and faculty. individuals were quite emotional, were tearful, not only students but staff and faculty. they don't want to see this type of thing happen here. . it's a wonderful university outstanding university. president sullivan has asked for independent investigation of the governor's office. that will le moving forward. she's a wonderful leader has
her heart in the right place. we don't want to see these types of things happen here. it took 1, 2, or 3 individuals from the abc agency to come in and tear it apart. >> we're waiting for the lawyer and mar tese to appear. let me ask you, eugene the governor of virginia is demanding answers, listen to what he said. >> just to see the photos i can tell you, i have a son about the same age in college. i have a daughter in college, so i was very disturbed by the pictures i saw yesterday. >> the state has launched an administrative as well as criminal investigation, eugene. these are the steps toward the things that you say that the state ought to be alonging into at this point? >> yeah and in ferguson -- dynamic here, political leadership. they should be investigating
themselves. how do you have they agents to be full frontally confrontational with the kids. the university could leverage its resources. we should be absolutely minimizing the law enforcement footprint, and there's clear evidence in that state, this is an agency that's had the issue before because the mission is screwed up actually to be putting them out, confronting kids that are exuberant. you have armed police people there. we need to minimize those kinds of interactions. thank you. we'll be right back. we are awaiting the press conference in virginia from martese johnson, and his attorney.
at approximately 12:30 a.m. on wednesday morning, martese was standing on the sidewalk near trinity irish pub. an employee approached him and asked him for i had fix. he presented a valid illinois state identification card. he then asked him for his zip code. he reported his mother's zip code address, which is difference that was -- at no time throughout the encounter did marte -- at no time throughout the encounter, did he present, as some reported a fake i.d. nevertheless virginia a.b.c.
officers questioned my client about the false identification. it resulted in my client being thrown to the ground the officer's knees presented into his back, his face and skull needing one, a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice without force, and, two, profane swearing and/or public intoxication which upon conviction requires only the payment of a fine. he's an upstanding man with a bright future. he grew up on the south side of chicago, raised by a single mother, now in his third year at the university of virginia on a full scholarship based on financial need. he's worked hard to become a leader on campus and make a difference in the community. martese is a member of the honor committee with no criminal record whatsoever.
he's worked hard to ensure his bright future. we intend to fight the criminal charges against him with the utmost vigor. our primary goals are make sure he receives due process, and to protect his good name. this asp martese and i spoke briefly about the investigation into this incident. martese, his family and i med with the university of virginia president teresa sullivan and the conversation was very productive. president sullivan expressed her remorse regarding this terrible situation and told martese he has her support. to that end, he's received outcoming encouragement and support from professors university officials, students community members, even perfect strangers. walking on the grounds with him this afternoon, we were amazed and touched as people approached martese numerous times and
offered pats on the back and well wishes. martese and his family intend to take the next few days to continue to recover, and thoughtful prayer and contemp place. i will close can a statement with -- >> i'll stand here today as a member of the university of virginia and charlottesville communities. i'm shocked that my face was slammed into the brick payment just across the street from where i attend school. three officers then pinned me to the ground pressing their knees in my back while blood flowed freely from the gash to my head. as the officers held me down one thought raced through my mind -- how could this happen? my head lay bloody but unbowed. i still believe in our community. i know this community will support me during this time. i trust that the scars on my face and head will one day heal
but the trach from what the a.b.c. officers did yesterday will stay with me forever. i believe we as a community are better than this. we cannot allow the actions of a few officers -- excuse me -- we cannot allow the actions of a few officer to ruin the community of trust we have so. >> >> reporter: why didn't you let him speak? >> we just heard from the attorney watkins, and martese did not speak, but he read a statement from him. clearly this young man has taken the high road saying that though he has been bloodied he remains unbowed and that his scars will heal the trauma will not, but that these are a few bad incidents, a few bad officers, possibly. it should not reflect on a community that has worked so hard to come together taking a
very positive and very high tone for this young man who seems to have an outstanding background there, as we have said in our first segment, and as his attorney reflected. back with me now, eugene o'donnell, professor of law and police study at john jay college of criminal justice and criminal defense, and attorney john burris s john this young man seems to be in a -- an exemplary student, and really setting a high tone despite the fact that many feel he's been wrongfully treated. >> very impressive. i mean just to take that kind of position. most people if that happened to them they would be very vengeful at this moment in time. i think the most impressive thing to me is he so willingly talked to not only the president, but to the state police. generally if you've felt you've done something wrong and you want to cover for it you wouldn't talk to the police and certainly wouldn't talk to the
president. what you have is a person who trongly feels in his innocence, he carries himself like he's innocent, and i think at the end of the day, he will be vindicated and no charges will really go forward. what i would only say about charge, the more serious aspect of this once african-american male gets a charge like this and even convicted, if that happened, it could have a very negative impact on his full employment and future life. this is more significant than just the event now. it has long-term ramifications. when i see cases like this it's very important to not only got the charges dismissed, but a finding of innocence, to have these charges exonerated totally so it does not show up on your record. >> eugene going broader than the particulars of this case when you see this young man and this video in the context of the chokehold case in staten island new york and the situation in
ferguson and the case in cleveland, isn't it understandable that many of us are raising the question with how we are dealing with policing? granted, all of these situations may not pale on the to be concluded that the way that many feel, but there's not a mass hallucination going here where you have all of these situations seeming to beg for a review of how we deal with policing. >> there's nothing to see here mentality is really being laid -- again, we're looking at the fundamentals here. we don't have to get into the facts. if you put police people at every bar -- worst endings repeatedly, is there nobody in authority? is there nobody elected? the prosecutor? where are they in terms of saying these things can almost -- they're going to end badly. where is the review of this? there's a lot to see, a lot of questions to ask, and really disturbing answers.
you would think it would be some foreseeable look-see at these things before they occur, but all too often, when talking about ferguson damaging policies, and the -- wrong at all. and so yes -- >> isn't that the point, that a lot of us in the civil rights communitier raising that we've got to deal with accountability and transparency and yes, at the same time we cannot indict all law enforcement or even most but clearly there needs to be some kind of measures of reform that builds the trust and builds accountability on all sides? >> absolutely. i haven't been involved in the reform efforts, i know what a challenge it is, but a leadership within a department and leadership within the city are really the focal points of how this can occur, the city like this president, has taken a leadership here at the university but nationally we
see all these particular cases, we show a real direct light on it, so you don't have to have so many witnesses in the past so i think we are at a point now, not only with ferguson but all other cases that happen around the country, where real form can take place, but there has to be a political will to do this a commitment on the command staff within the departments, and to some extend the black community has to show them the way as well. we need the police but at the same time we don't want to be abused by them. >> that ultimately means now a the a critical time that we can in fact at a localized way look at these issues that personal to a department, and bring about the kind of reform that's necessary, the mayor, police chief, and the command staff have to be on board to hold officers accountable. i think eugene it takes a leadership the political
leadership to respond in a responsible and immediate way, as we're seeing at uva apparently, and i think that ats the concerns. saying wait a minute we smu continue to have a community built on trust. this is about doing what is. >> absolutely. >> collaboration is key. they need to be treed as kids not some sort of desperato. >> but to criminalize this young person in this situation is silly, and so systematically do this is a recipe.
with the underlying policies it's a very bad idea. thank you both for your time this even. >> we're also following developing stories tonight including the secret service under -- tapes that were erased. how did the secret service head respond to that today? and there will be no vote on loretta lynch's confirmation this week. it might be drag on for weeks. today tempers flared on the senate floor. please stay with us.
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senior republicans are privately warning it could be held up until at least mid april. it comes as a war of words eruptsds results on the senate floor. it started with an explosionive accommodation from illinois democrat dick durbin. >> lo redia lynch, the first african- african-american woman, is asked to sit at the back of the bus when it comes to the senate calendar. that is unfair. it is unjust. it's beneath the decorum and dignity of the united states senate. today senator mccain is calling right back calling the words offensive. >> what is beneath the decorum and dignity of the united states senate, i would say to the senator from illinois is for him to come to this floor and use that imagery and suggest
that racist tactics are being employed to delay ms. lynch's confirmation vote. it was offensive and unnecessary, and i think he owes this body ms. lynch, and all americans an apology. >> president obama nominated lynch 131 days ago. that's longer than any other recent attorney general. it seems every time republicans are ready to schedule a society, what is the holdup? why are we waiting for mid april now? joining me now are clarence page from "the chicago tribune" and mary stitch from emily's list. thank you both for being here. clarence.
bottom line what is taking so long? >> the -- not the nomination in the republican leader in the senate wants to pass this trafficking bill first, which democrats have the hyde amendment. it's got a provision that would bar funding for abortions, and this is something that democrats will not tolerate and republicans won't tolerate removing it and mcconnell is going to hold up lo redia lynch's nomination. that's why dick durbin stepped forth and pulled up the imagery of rosa parks, saying it's like pushing her to the back of the bus.
that caused tempers to flare even higher. >> mary when you look at the facts, the republicans won the midterm in november the nomination has been 131 days which is longer as i said than any attorney general in recent memory and recent history, recent american history. they first said they wanted to deal with the president on his immigration executive action now it's the sex trafficking bill, which now they want to come in with an abortion part. what is going on here? and why would they use a sex trafficking bill to try to deal with abortion and use loretta lynch's nomination as their leverage of saying we're not going to that until we do this. >> absolutely rev. it is a new low for this republican congress. they took the wheel this past
january, and they have driven this congress into the ground. they're stopping at nothing. >> that was bipartisan and looked to serve, they've done things like try to -- or defund homeland security. the republicans just don't have the right priorities in mind. the american people don't trust them. to make sure that we have someone in that top cop position in loretta lynch with the attorney general nominee, and they just can't seem to remember. >> clarence it seems also the is they claim to be so against the present attorney general eric holder yet they keep prolonging her confirmation in keep holder in. it's sort of like a
contradictory position for the same people denouncing holder are the ones holding up the confirmation of loretta lynch, who none of them have been able to say anything negative about her record at all. >> here's a case of you could say negative priorities. they hate abortion even more than eric holder because the right wing of the republicans does not want to allow this trafficking to measure to pass without having the provision that would ban abortion funds or federal money being used for abortion funds. they would rather hold that up than to let lynch's appointment go through, even though it means they'll have eric holder around even longer. that's why i say this has gotten stalled in a weird kind of way. >> when do you think well will have a vote marcie?
>> i hope as soon as possible. if republicans can look at the headlines and what's happening, they're not doing themselves any favors right now. if they're smart about it it will be next week and we'll have loretta lynch confirmed as attorney general. >> clarence page and marcie stech, thank you for your time tonight. coming up over 17 million people tuned into the "empire" season finalist. we'll talk to one of the show's stars, ahead. sunday dinners at my house... it's a full day for me, and i love it. but when i started having back pain my sister had to come help. i don't like asking for help. i took tylenol but i had to take six pills to get through the day. so my daughter brought over some aleve. it's just two pills, all day! and now, i'm back! aleve. two pills. all day strong, all day long. and now introducing aleve pm for a better am.
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(mom) when our little girl was born we got a subaru. it's where she said her first word. (little girl) no! saw her first day of school. (little girl) bye bye! made a best friend forever. the back seat of my subaru is where she grew up. what? (announcer) the 2015 subaru forester (girl) what? (announcer) built to be there for your family. love. it's what makes a subaru a subaru. time now for "conversation nation." joining me tonight, zerlina maxwell, jason johnson, and victoria defran chez co.-soto. more questions to the secret service. after agents drove their car into a white house barricade
after a night of drinking now we're learning the agency taped over surveillance video of the incident incident. today at a senate hearing, the secret service director tried to explain they only hold tape for 72 hours. victoria, does this pass the smell test to you? >> not at all, reverend. when i first heard about the story, i thought are these 18-year-old college frat boys? oh, no-no, it's the secret service. what is so troubling is we're seeing the director trying to soften it saying it wasn't that bad because they were drunk, because they were driving slow yes we had this and otherwise regulation that the tape is erase erased. it's so disturbing to know these are the folks that are protecting our president. >> jason? >> first off, to me is it 1992? when is the last time that
somebody taped over anything. that's ridiculous. it doesn't make any sense that they can't archive almost any video. you know there was a story out on slate this week. there have been 37 instances of alcohol-related penalties within the secret service, 26 of which resulted in people losing social security clearance. the agency has a drinking problem, and the erasing of this tape isn't going to high the bigger stink. >> watching the director today, did it help or hurt? >> i think it hurt a lot. i think part of the problem here is they're trying to diminish what happened. he tried to at every turn sort of diminish what happened. they weren't drinking that much they were going slow they didn't in fact knock over the barrier, but the alarming part was they drove through an active crime scene, a suspicious package that they hadn't yet determined was not dangerous. this could have turned out a lot
worse. i think the secret service needs to hold these folks accountable, also just professionalism, and ethics in terms of you know being professionals in all walks of their daily lives, because their task is to protect the president. these need to be examples to the rest of us. >> now, let me go to the next point. should americans be required to vote? it's an idea president obama floated. >> in australia and some other countries there's mandatory voting voting. it would be transform tiff if everybody voted. the people who tend not to vote are young, they're lower income they're skewed mo heavily towards immigrant groups and minority groups. there's a reason why some people want to keep them away from the
polls. we should try to get them into the polls. >> it could have a major impact. in 2014 just 30% of the voting eligible -- eligible population cast ballots. the right-wing blogs are screaming, saying he's forcing people to vote. he's making a point. if everyone voted, it could be transform tiff. what do you think? >> yes, i think this is an excellent idea. i have joke in the past that the entire country would change for the better if we mandated voting and therapy, so people could work on their trauma and not legislating away my rights because of something that happened to them when they were young. >> jason? >> i disagree. look, i'm a bit of a libertarian when it comes to this. it would be great if everybody
turned out, great if we had more access, but if you want to be dumb and have leaders you didn't have any influence over fine don't vote. but i don't think people should be compelled to vote. it works great for australia, not for us. >> what do you think, ms. soto? >> i agree with jason on this one. i do not think we should have mandatory voting. what i do think we should do is do away with the barriers. let's do away with the registration barriers the voting day barriers. look here in texas how hard they have made voting with the new voting i.d. get at the issue of voting from the other way. i'm with victoria on this one. thank you, victoria zurlina and jason, for your time. we'll be right back with an "empire" star on the shocking
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ehaven't on last night's season finale of "empire." we'll talk to star malik yoba, next. with the new angie's list app, you can get projects done in a snap. take a photo of your project or just tell us what you need done and angie's list will find a top rated provider to do the job. the angie's list app is the simple, new way to get work done on your schedule.
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♪ oh. so you're protesting? ♪ ♪ okay. [ male announcer ] introducing xfinity my account. available on any device. the hip-hop tv drama is the breakout hit of 2015. with last night's season finale drawing 17.6 million viewers. if you didn't see it yet, now might be a good time to step out of the room because there's some major spoilers ahead. the show follows music mogul lucius lyon and his family as they wrestle for control over his family and his empire. >> listen to me your father killed bunky, do you hear me? >> jerome? >> lucius killed bunky. get your hands off of me.
he killed your cousin he'll kill anybody, watch your back xwaeb. >> like you watched mine? you see, son, sometimes you have to be willing to sacrifice your queen in order to win the game. >> the show was created by producer and director lee daniels, tackling issues like race, mental health and homophobia. in last night's finale a kyle character vernon turner came to a shocking and sudden death. joining me now is malik yoba who plays vernon turner lucius' longtime partner and chairman of empire entertainment. thank you very much for being here. >> thank you, sir. >> first of all, we have to talk about the bombshell finale last night. vernon turner meets an untimely end. what's your reaction?
>> vernon is gone about malik lives. that's part of the game. >> i've been a fan of yours, a friend of yours for years. a huge hit, many of your shows, episodes, new york undercover on and on. explain to me why you you think it's struck such a chord. >> the music, fashion, the time the talent the vision the aesthetic. i think it's a lot of things. one of the things it did deal with social issues. one of main characters is gay, another struggles with being bipolar. >> i know i did something really terrible. thanks to you. i was just scared, man. it's hard enough growing up in this world as a black man, but then to be -- homosexual on top
of that. >> dad, dad -- >> stop. stop. i understand. i'm proud of you, too. >> for what? >> dad, for being able to change your mind. how important was that to break some of the taboos. and i think it took a little courage for some of "empire" to come deal with it. i think people needing to see themselves, whether they're bipolar or gay, als, invite social issues. for me that was one of the most exciting opportunities i think to look at humanity from all of its colors and textures including the mel a. >> do you think it will open the
door for more black cast dramas? >> i hope so. i know for a fact as a result of the success of this show people are looking for the next thing, because i think people are ready for that. >> aside from an exceptional act, you've been very much involved in how many taern work and community work. in fact you'll be at our national action network convention april 8th through the 11th here in new york because of that. as you said vernon is gone but malik is alive. i counted you're building your own empire. tell people what you are doing. >> counted 32 felipe sergio morales, another partner of ours steve, we essential use pop culture to promote culture good. last neat with did a screening at a spot called bounce here in new york raising mine for the
prison to college pipeline program, started by a friend of mine. we use it to promote social good. i've always used myself as an example, going to the prisons, going to schools, helped build a school in ethiopia years ago. just doing god's work man. >> always. i mean for years. >> yeah. >> what was the most important thing to you doing "empire". >> being part of tv history. in my opinion we did the blueprint with "new york undercover" 21 years ago, for 20 years later to come back on fox and be part of something that's groundbreaking, and it's allowed me to you know just stay present in people's minds, because people do tend to forget that i've been here. this is not a comeback. this is my 13th television series, so to have the first one and this current one be the ones that have had the most resonance socially, i'm proud of that. >> it's a great part of the
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today with legalzoom. we close tonight with breaking news on the eric garner case. today a judge refused to release testimony heard by a grand jury that declined to indict a police officer in the chockhold death of eric garner. the judge said there was no compelling need to make the information public? the family released a statement saying quote -- the judge has sanctioned the use of a seek cry trial for a public marine. if this was a normal grand jury process, they would have had an indictment in five minutes. in a case like this, we need more transparency, not less. here's a case where we saw videotape with a man being choked by an nypd officers being
held and we will not know what was presented to the grand jury and why that did not reach the -- we can do better than this and we must. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. \s. back of the bus. let's play "hardball." i'm jonathan capehart in for chris matthews. let mess start with a question for dick durbin -- why? he threw yesterday a racially charged into the debate about loretta lynch's nominati