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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  June 20, 2015 3:00am-4:01am PDT

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american express' timeless safety and security are now available on apple pay. the next evolution of membership is here. we have truly gripping video. it's about the victim, it's about the gunman in charleston south carolina. it's incredibly moving and it's coming up in just a few moments. but before we get to that quoting from the aft affidavit, the defendant did enter the church at approximately 6:08 p.m. with a fanny pack. he met with parishioners conducting bible study for the evening. after approximately an hour of studying the defendant stood up and with malice and aforethought pulled out a handgun and began shooting at the parishioners inside the hall. striking nine victims. all victims were hit multiple times. all victims died as a result of
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their injuries. prior to leaving the bible study room the defendant stood over a witness to be named later and uttered a racially inflammatory statement to the witness. we now know more about what happened wednesday night at the emanuel ame church in charleston south carolina. we now know that dylann roof has confessed to being the gunman that night, to killing those nine people. we now know that he was able to wreck that devastation with a single gun. we also know that the wife and child of one of the victims, state senator and reverend clementa pinckney wife and child were also inside the church the night of the shootings. they were in the church office. they heard the sound of gunshots. they called 911 and then they hid. they huddled under a desk until it was all over. we also learned today according to the affidavit released by the charleston police department that both dylann roof's dad and uncle got in touch with the charleston police department to tell them they knew who the police department was looking for, to turn him in.
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their own relative. we learned lots of new details about the massacre at the church and about the search for the man who has now confessed to carrying out that massacre. as the community in charleston south carolina and as the whole country continue to grieve each new detail continue to reckon with the shock of what happened. today was also though a day of action. just a few hours ago president obama speaking out again about this latest mass shooting in charleston. he made a direct and pretty impassioned plea that we as a country have to reckon with the uniquely american disaster that is our country's struggle with gun violence. >> we have to stop being confused about this. sot pom point as a country we have to reckon with what happens. it is not good enough simply to show sympathy. you don't see murder on this kind of scale with this kind of
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frequency in any other advanced nation on earth. every country has violent, hateful, or mentally unstable people people. what's different is not every country is a wash with easily accessible guns. and so i refuse to act as if this is the new normal. or to pretend that it's simply sufficient to grieve and that any mention of us doing something to stop it is somehow politicizing the problem. >> in charleston tonight hundreds of people have gathered in a prayer victim sharing communities pay pain with one another. earlier today the city's prosecutor explained that while
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there are more facts together more details to investigate, that this crime is now moving from the investigation phase to the prosecution phase. she thanked the country for wrapping its arms around the city of charleston. that is how she said it. she thanked the congregation for the emanuel ame church for the grace they have shown in the wake of the violence, and she promised justice. >> as chief prosecutor i'm not here to pontificate or to predict. there are many who and will do that for you, i'm sure. as for me and my staff, we will serve. we will serve justice. my mission is to bring justice for this community and effort victims in this case. >> the confessed gunman is now charge with nine counts of murder and one count of possession of a firearm. today, dylann roof had what's called a bond hearing, a bond hearing is usually the most
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routine thing in the world when it comes to charging someone with a crime. if you're charged with a crime, a bond hearing is where the judge tells you how much money it's going to take to get you out of jail temporarily. similar to bail. dylann roof's bond hearing was conducted remotely today. he was heavily guarded in a secure facility. the judge and lawyers and victims' family members were all in the courtroom. they could see, they could hear him on that screen you're seeing right there. he could see and he could hear them in the courtroom as well. what is usually a fairly routine legal proceeding was instead extremely raw today. extremely emotional. utterly gripping as the loved ones of some of dylann roof's victims, the ones who could be there today, who wanted to speak out, as one by one they got the chance to tell him exactly what they think of him. >> before we go into the bond process i would like to ask are there any members, is there a representative of any of the family that would be here that wish to make a statement before
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this court before i post or set the bond? i'll go through this. susie jackson, is there a representative of the family of susie jackson? >> no. >> sandra singleton? ms. singleton. >> there are. >> will you please stand? you have a right as the representative of the family to make a statement today before we set bond. would you like to do so ma'am? >> no thanks. >> thank you very much. >> ethel lance, would you like to make a statement in regards to this hearing concerning ethel lance as a victim, ma'am? >> yes. >> would you like to come forward, please?
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you are representing the family of ethel lance, is that correct? >> yes. >> you are whom, ma'am? >> the daughter. >> the daughter. i'm listening. and you can talk to me. >> i just want everybody to know to you, i forgive you. you took something very precious away from me. i will never talk to her ever again. i will never be able to hold her again. but i forgive you. and have mercy on your soul. you hurt me. you hurt a lot of people. and god forgives you and i forgive you. >> thank you, ma'am. i appreciate you being here. representative of the family of
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myra thompson. sir, would you like to make a statement before this court? >> saying the same thing that was just said. you know, i forgive you and my family forgives you. but we would like you to take this opportunity to repent. repent. confess. give your life to the one who matters the most, christ. so that he can change it and change your ways no matter what happens to you and you will be okay. through that you will be better off than you are right now. >> thank you, sir. tywan sanders?
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your name ma'am. >> felicia sanders. >> thank you for being here. >> we welcomed you wednesday night in our bible study with open arms. you have killed some of the most beautiful people that i know. every fiber in my body hurt s hurts and i'll never be the same. tywanza sanders was my son but too taiwanywanza was my hero. tywanza was my hero. but as we said in bible study, we enjoyed you. may god have mercy on your soul. >> thank you, ma'am. a representative of daniel simmons?
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your name ma'am? >> ms. simmons. >> thank you, ms. simmons, for being here. your statement, please? >> although my grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of hate this is proof, everyone's plea for your soul is proof that they -- they lived and loved and their legacies will live in love. so hate won't win. and i just want to thank the courts for making sure that hate doesn't win. >> thank you, ma'am, for being here. cynthia hurd the representative of the family of cynthia hurd. >> we have nothing to say. >> thank you very much. and thank you for being here today, sir.
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>> the reverend depayne middleton-doctor. your name please, ma'am? >> middleton-proud. >> thank you for being here. >> depayne was my sister. and i want to thank you on behalf of my family for not allowing hate to win. for me i'm a work in progress and i acknowledge that i am very angry. but one thing that depayne has always joined in our family with is that she taught me that we are the family that love built. we have no room for hate. so we have to forgive. i pray god on your soul. and i also thank god that i
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won't be around when your judgment day comes with him. may god bless you. >> now, the judge said a small portion of his bond today at a million dollars. but it doesn't mean a dylann roof is going to be getting out of prison any time soon. legally he still can't get out of prison even if somebody did want to put that money up. for now he's going to be there for a long time now awaiting justice in this case. audible safety beeping audible safety beeping audible safety beeping the nissan rogue with safety shield technologies. the only thing left to fear is you imagination. nissan. innovation that excites. americans. we're living longer than ever. as we age, certain nutrients... ...become especially important. from the makers of one a day fifty-plus.
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>> if that young man thought he was going to divide this country or community with his racial hatred, we are here today and all across america resoundingly saying he measurably failed. [ applause ] >> this disillusioned killer is on the wrong side of history. his idea long discredited about racial superiority are in the dust bin of failed civilizations. >> the mayor of charleston,
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south carolina joseph riley, speaking at a prayer vigil earlier tonight at the college of charleston. that vigil this evening included remarks not only from the mayor but also a number of religious leaders from all different faiths across the city of charleston. tonight's vigil comes at the end of a day in which there are a number of new developments in what we learned about the suspect, admitted gunman in this case and about what happened inside the emanuel ame church on wednesday night. joining us now is msnbc national reporter tremayne lee in charleston, south carolina. thanks for taking a few minutes. we say there are new details we have learned today. we have learned tonight about what played out in that church. what can you tell us on that front? >> i toll you what, details are still coming out and i don't want to jump into it too much because i'm not sure of the exact details, but one thing that i think is clear though is that what happened inside that church, the terrible events that transpired is in stark contrast of what you see happening right now.
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hundreds of people gathered outside of this church. i'm not sure if you can hear them now but they're singing. earlier they came down holding roses from a prayer vigil at the td arena not far from here. the common theme under this has been that despite the horrific nature of what happened inside that church, that that hate, the racism, the violence will not break the back of this community. so even as you mentioned, while details are still trickling out what's happening out there in this community seemed to be the seeds of healing and hope. but to your point in the coming days more will be coming out. >> we just played in this segment before this extended clips from that bond hearing today. and i think my reaction to it and people i'm talking to are just amazed by the attitudes of the families of the victims. it's the generosity of their spirits, seeking forgiveness of this man that killed in cold blood, their loved ones.
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what's been the reaction down there of how the family members conducted themselves today? >> you know what for so many people i talk to who heard those clip or saw that it kind of broke their hearts because, again, those families, their faithfulness is what made them vulnerable. when that young man came to this church they welcomed him in. he sat next to the pastor. he stood for -- sat for an hour during bible study. this church opened him with open arms and they were repaid with unspeakable violence, so people, to see the tears of the family and to really, for the first time, get the taste of that anguish and that true hurt, it shook this community but again it also displayed what so many in this community talked about healing and moving forward and that was on full display. the idea that even though this man apparently killed their loved ones in cold blood, there was still room in their hearts to forgive or at least hope god offers mercy on his soul.
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>> it sounded today, at least, my interpretation from a legal standpoint, the process that still has to play out here is actually going to be quite lengthy. >> yeah, this is just the beginning. the indictment and charges and the whole trial process, if that will happen. then there are appeals. this is the beginning of a very long roaded. and i think sometimes we get consumed in these cases and all the sparks and fervor and anger and the passion in the beginning of the cases. again, this is a very long road. just a month and a half ago or so we had the walter scott case. that case is still playing out. that officer just got indicted against the last week or the week before last. so again, these -- the road toward justice is often a slow one. >> msnbc national reporter trymaine lee in charleston south carolina. thanks for your time tonight. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> all right. the american flag flew at half mast outside the state house in columbia, south carolina, today.
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there was another flag flying nearby that was definitely not at half mast. we have some breaking news on that bitter controversy and that is next. ♪ mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys ♪ ♪ don't let'em pick guitars and drive them old trucks ♪ boys? ♪ mamas, don't let your babies...♪ stop less. go more. the passat tdi clean diesel with up to 814 hwy miles per tank. hurry in and you can get 0% apr plus a one-thousand dollar volkswagen credit bonus on 2015 passat tdi clean diesel models. i take prilosec otc each morning for my frequent heartburn. because it gives me...
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and before becoming governor he served in the south carolina state legislature where the confederate flag flew above the can't tom dome. beasley said back then when he became governor that he was fine with that, let the fag fly. that was his position. but then racism and a surprise announcement from governor beasley. it was time, he said, to take down the flag. he talked about why he changed his mind. he said the flag had been adopted by so many hate groups that it could no longer represent all of the state's people. he asked south carolinans, quote, do we want our children to be debating the confederate flag in ten years? he served one term as governor. pro confederate flag groups mobilized against him when he ran for re-election. he helped to elect a democrat to replace beasley in 1998. the democrat became south carolina's only democratic governor since the mid 1980s. he lasted one term. he was a one-term governor.
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the debate over the confederate flag didn't end with his beasley's governorship, however. it was still raging in 2000 when south carolina became a major battleground in the republican presidential primary. senator john mccain that year you may recall had just won the new hampshire primary by a wide margin and suddenly people were wondering if south carolina would be where he finished off the front running george w. bush. bush was fighting to keep his campaign alive. he chose the side of keeping the confederate flag flying over south carolina, and so did john mccain. taking that position didn't save mccain. mccain lost the south carolina primary by a wide margin. three weeks later he ended his presidential campaign and bush won the nomination. not long after that episode when he was an ex-candidate he came out and said he made a mistake by backing the confederate flag. quote, i feared that if i answered honestly i could not win the south carolina primary. so i chose to compromise my principles.
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i broke my promise to always tell the truth. that same year in 2000 the south carolina state legislature reached a compromise of sorts. the flag would be removed from the dome of the state house and brought to a confederate soldier's monument nearby on the state capital grounds and that's where it still flies today and where it is again the center of a heated local and national debate. this time sparked by the murder of nine african-american worshippers in that charleston church. >> and what is the answer? what is the answer for race relations? >> i think the answer is that we move forward in a balanced way. that we make sure that the compromise in south carolina works here. that we look and see what is going on -- >> compromise of being able to still fly the confederate flag because it's part of the proud tradition for some carolinians. >> there's a confederate war memorial out front and african american memorial -- >> it works for you? >> it works here. that's what the state house agreed to do. >> south carolina senator lindsey graham saying the
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compromise works for his state but the political ground is shifting rapidly. tonight on this network a republican state lawmaker from south carolina told my colleague chris hayes that he will sponsor a bill to have the confederate flag taken down. watch. >> representative rutherford was saying he spoke to you today and you called him to tell him you're going to sponsor a bill in the next session to take that flag down. >> that's correct. >> that's pretty remarkable. what made you want to do that? >> i had a friend die wednesday night for no reason other than he was a black man. senator pinckney was an incredible human being. i don't want to talk politics, but i'm going to introduce the bill for that reason.
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>> again that happened in the last hour on this network. that's real news. a republican lawmaker in south carolina saying he will join the push to take down the confederate flag. also, just over an hour ago charleston pastor nelson b. rivers iii made his own appeal in a speech that seems destined for history. >> so i come by to tell you, i know, i know you're telling me that you can't take the flag down. i know you are telling me that it's too late. it can't be done. but i got a recommendation for you, members of the house, members of the senate, if you want to do a living testimony to these nine lives, you will take that flag down. you will take it down! >> all right. joining us now is another south carolina leader who has called for the removal of the confederate flag from the state house grounds. state senator shaheen, thank you for taking your time tonight. let me just start for people that don't know nationally the sort of intricacies of south
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carolina politics, this news that this state representative, doug brannon, a republican state representative, says he's going to introduce this bill to get rid of the confederate flag from the capitol grounds, what does that do to the political debate in south carolina? >> i think it helps tremendously. you know it's not only been hard to get republicans to take a stance like that but it's been difficult for democrats over the years as well. i took this stance last year during a gubernatorial campaign because i felt like it was the right thing to do. we needed white voices in south carolina who would speak out, and it's great to have doug join that chorus. i know doug. he is a sympathetic and compassionate man and it doesn't surprise me at all. >> you ran for governor last year as a democratic nominee against nikki haley. but you say this is a position that you took specifically in the home stretch of that campaign. so tell us, what were your experiences going around south
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carolina advocating that position? what were you hearing back from people? >> well, i represent in the senate a very rural mostly white district, and as i travelled the state i felt more and more that we were having a growing racial divide in south carolina, and i felt like while i had the bully pulpit, while i had the spotlight, it was important for me as a leader to do something to show leadership. i knew that there was a lot of hate going on in the state. we have a wonderful state with wonderful people but there was too much hate, and i wanted to lift this issue so there would be a platform for people to build upon. i'm so sorry that it took the assassination of my seatmate in the state senate, senator pinckney. and that's what i believe it was. and the other tragic lives that were lost to bring this to an even higher level of discussion. but i'm glad that we set that ground work and laid it out so
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that when the time was right we could continue to have this discussion and hopefully make changes. >> i wonder what you would say to what we just played from lindsey graham right there. he seems to be arguing that basically, look, there are sensitive feelings on both sides of this. there are african-americans who are insulted -- >> i have heard that rhetoric for years and years. >> he is saying specifically the sensitivities of both sides are being respected with sort of dueling memorials on the capitol grounds. what do you say to that? >> i say that i've heard that kind of manby tamby talk from so-called leaders in south carolina for years. that's our problem. we don't have leaders that will stake out strong positions about what's right. what's right is when we have symbols that divide us and there are good people that feel strongly either way but clearly this is a symbol that divides us that we stake out strong positions to try to lead and move forward. just mealy mouthed rhetoric that
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we've heard for years and years and year from elected people. it doesn't move us forward. >> last year's democratic candidate for governor, appreciate your time tonight, thank you. >> thank you. all right. ahead, the widely varying responses to the charleston shooting by our presidential . candidates. and later, at what point do we or should we call this an act of terror? stay with us. seriously? you're not at all concerned? about what now? oh, i don't know. the apocalypse? we're fine. i bundled renter's with my car insurance through progressive for just six bucks more a month. word. there's looters running wild out there. covered for theft. okay. that's a tidal wave of fire. for fire. what, what? all right. fine. i'm gonna get something to eat. the boy's kind of a drama queen. just wait. where's my burrito? [ chuckles ] worst apocalypse ever. protecting you till the end. now, that's progressive. bring us your aching and sleep deprived. bring us those who want to feel well rested. aleve pm. the only one to combine a sleep aid... plus the 12 hour pain relieving strength of aleve. be a morning person again,
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when an incident happens like what happened this week in charleston, south carolina, it's
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a moment for national leadership. president obama spoke again tonight about that tragedy in charleston. we're going to have more from his remarks in just a moment but this is also now unfolding right in the middle of the race to succeed him as president. how they respond to situations like this can be clarifying and constructive and sometimes even a little bit baffling. that's next. stay with us. audible safety beeping audible safety beeping audible safety beeping
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are you kidding me? no, it's only 15 calories. with reddi wip fruit never sounded more delicious with 15 calories per serving and real cream the sound of reddi wip is the sound of joy. the apparent motivations of the shooter remind us that racism remains a blight that we have to combat together. we have made great progress but we have to be vigilant because it still lingers. and when it's poisoning the minds of young people it betrays our ideals and tears our democracy apart. >> president obama earlier today regarding the shooting deaths of nine people at emanuel ame church in charleston, south carolina, on wednesday night. president obama casting the tragedy as a reminder that racism is still alive and well in the united states.
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the president first addressed the nation on the incident yesterday remeanting to the fact that he has had to speak to the country so many times about tragedies like this. in the hours since the shooting on wednesday night it's eye opening to see the folks that would like to replace president obama next year try to formulate their own thoughts and own reactions about the attack and what it means for the country moving forward. >> in the days ahead, we will once again ask what lead to this terrible tragedy and where we as a nation need to go. in order to make sense of it, we have to be honest. we have to face hard truths about race, violence, guns, and division. >> the hateful killing of nine people who were praying inside a church is a horrific reminder that while we have made in our country significant progress in
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advancing civil rights, we are very far from eradicating racism. >> democratic candidates hillary clinton and bernie sanders yesterday calling for a national conversation about how to combat racism in the united states. it's a sentiment echoed by president obama today. former maryland governor also a candidate for the presidential nomination putting out a statement today with colorful language saying that he is quote, pissed about the shootings and he connected the attack to what he called assaults on religious liberty. >> you just can't think that things like this can happen in america. it's obviously a crime of hate. i mean i don't know the -- again, we don't know the rationale, but i don't know what other rationale could there be? you're lost that someone would
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walk into a bible study at a church and indiscriminately kill people. you can pray for those and pray for our country. this is one of those situations where you have to take a step back and say we -- you know, you talk about the importance of prayer at this time and now we're seeing assaults on religious liberty like we have never seen before. it's a time for deeper reflection even beyond this horrible situation. >> ohio governor john casik that's expected to announce his 2016 plans next month said it appeared at least to him to be a racially motivated attack. >> such a terrible tragedy. what i noticed is that the entire country is now standing shoulder to shoulder with the minority community, african american community in south carolina and god bless them. >> was the shooting a hate crime in south carolina?
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in your mind, was the shooting a hate crime? >> well, there's nine people dead -- >> was it racially motivated? >> you read what they said about the guy, it sure appears that way. >> that's the ohio governor speaking to reporters following his remarks in washington d.c. today. jeb bush also addressed the tragedy at that same event today. in his remarks he said he didn't know what was on the mind or in the heart of the gunman who committed toes atrocious crimes. when asked later by reporters whether he believed that the shooting was racially motivated bush responded, quote, it was a horrific act and i don't know what the background of it is but it was an act of hatred. when asked again whether it was about race bush said, quote, i don't know. looks to me like it was but we'll find out all the information. it's clear it was an act of raw hatred for sure. nine people lost their lives and they were african-american. you can judge what it is.
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bush taking some heat today for seeming perhaps reluctant to connect the massacre explicitly with racial animous or not being able to answer a question he should have known was coming. more ahead. stay with us. stay still, like a statue! just like a statue. look here! when your day goes on and on you need 48 hour odor protection that goes on clear for no white marks. new secret outlast clear gel. ♪ every auto insurance policy has a number.
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and now, i'm back for my best bud! aleve. all day strong and try aleve pm now with an easy open cap. the very first antiterrorism that was signed into law was done so by the 18th president of the united states. the former commanding general of the union army ulysses s. grant. he signed that into law on april 20th, 1871. came about as a result of a slew of attacks on freed african americans. systematic attacks on their homes and their churches by the kkk, the ku klux klan, which had just been created a few years earlier. now these attacks on african americans were meant to intimidate anyone that might vote in a way that would interfere with the kkk's value system, and they were particularly prevalent in places like south carolina. so president grant asked for
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legislation to address this and it was passed within a month and he immediately signed it into law. the it was called the ku klux klan act, or enforcement act of 1871 and president grant is said to have taken that law very seriously. he sent out federal militias to round up lawbreakers and charged klan members in federal court. and many say that it was this law, this antiterrorism law that helped to destroy the first iteration of the kkk. that was the first antiterrorism act on the books in this country back in 1871. yesterday, following the massacre in charleston, south carolina, loretta lynch announced that the justice department would be opening a hate crimes investigation looking into the 21-year-old shooter and why he did what he did. she said the doj would be looking into all the facts and all the motivations in order to determine the best way to prosecute this case.
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while that announcement was received positively in south carolina it also raised questions like, why a hate crime and not terrorism? after all, isn't what the shooter did pretty much the definition of what an act of terror is? there have been a number of instances of terror here that have been prosecuted as terrorist acts. mcveigh detonated a truck bomb. injured over 700. he said he did it because he wanted to inspire a revolt against the federal government. the justice department investigated and included the oklahoma city bombing was indeed an act of domestic terror. the uni bomber, the man that killed three and injured almost two dozen. he was caught in 1996. he was prosecuted as a domestic terrorist. what about charleston? what about the shooting of nine people at the emanuel ame church? could that be considered an act
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of domestic terrorism? today the justice department said they are not ruling that out. a spokeswoman for the department today saying that they are, quote, looking at this crime from all angles including as a hate crime and as an about of domestic terrorism. the justice department told us today that they have not ruled anything out and that they will be following the evidence seeing where it leads them and then they'll decide whether or not to pursue charges accordingly. in order for something to be classified fordow mess tick terror by statue it must include the following three characteristics characteristics. one, it must involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law. two, it must appear intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion or to effect the conduct the conduct of a government by mass
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destruction, assassination, or kidnapping and must occur within the jurisdiction of the united states. that's what is required. the question is, does this fit the bill? joining us now is human rights fellow at columbia law school and co-author of klt i'll" illusion of justice." thanks for joining us tonight. we put the criteria out there. though three things. in your mind when you look at what happened here should this be and is this a case of terrorism? >> the main question is whether or not it fits that first -- the second sorry, of three requirements that you mentioned, whether or not this was an act intended to coerce or intimidate a population. we've seen so many crimes as we wrote about in our report since 2001 prosecuted as terrorism where perpetrators of those acts were muslims. and the population that was intended on the intimidated was the general public, the american public. here it's fairly clear that the population that was intended to
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be intimidated or coerced were black folks in south carolina. and so the question is is the government going to recognize that intent to intimidate or coerce those people as the black lives matter campaign has been saying over and over and over again for the past year will the government recognize that intent on the part of mr. -- mr. roof. >> so what is the difference here? when we're talking about hate crimes and terrorism, so we're talking about -- we have one of the relatives here saying that this shooter basically said you all have to die because you are black. >> sure. >> that seems to me it could fit the definition of terrorism there but also a hate crime to me. what's the difference? >> they overlap. a hate crime is defined as a willful act, a willful crime against a person because of his race, ethnicity, or national origin. the difference here is the intent to intimidate or scare someone or make someone afraid to walk out of their home because of the color of their
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skin or background or whatever reason really, but based on that grouping and here i think it fits the bill. >> are we talking in terms of the difference between hate crimes and terrorism, is there a significant difference in terms of punishment or does it lead to the same place either way? >> i think this man is facing significant punishment regardless of what he's prosecuted for. he's going to be convicted of killing nine people. the punishment won't get any more harsh. there are significant enhancements for terrorism crimes, but we're talking about what the national attitude will be toward someone charged with a terrorism crime. the question that people are asking is why aren't we talking about this in terms of terrorism? that question is aimed not just at the justice department but also at the general public. why aren't we talking about this as a terrorism crime? are we going to make the general public think about white supremacy as put on by this man in the same way that we're thinking about the other things that make us think about terrorism in the national
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conscious. so that's what is at play here. >> co-author of illusion of justice, human rights abuses in u.s. terrorism cases." we will have the latest from charleston in a few minutes but first, some much-needed good news. stay with us.
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even on normal days news is almost always bad news. after a week like this one that
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feeling rings even more true. but we do also have some good news to share with you tonight. it's from a part of the news that almost never produces anything positive at all. two stories here with refreshingly and surprisingly good news. the first is about weapons. for all that's wrong in syria in that country's devastating seemingly never-ending civil war for all the terrible things that it has spawned, one good thing happened this week. the syrian government used to have a huge arsenal of chemical weapons. the united states and russia and a bunch of other countries led negotiations to get bashir al-assad to hand over those chemical weapons and finally he did hand them over and now the u.n. chemical weapons inspectors have announced that the u.s. navy has essentially finished getting rid of those weapons. to pull this off the navy had to invent a system where this ship would be used at sea as a chemical weapons neutralizing factory. nothing like that had ever been
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done before. they had to do it at sea in part because nobody wanted them to do it on land in any country. but they did it and now it's done. this doesn't fix syria obviously but it fixes one absolutely terrible part of syria. so it's good news. now here's more good news on a night when we sure could use it. we are closing in right now on the one-year anniversary of the united states declaring war against isis in iraq and syria. it's a war that has been conducted basically just on president obama's personal say so. even though it is the responsibility of congress to make decisions about war, to authorize military force, to declare war. but for all this time this past year, congress has been refusing to even debate whether the u.s. should be formally involved in the fight against isis. two weeks ago, rachel hosted a democratic congressman, jim mcgovern, and he said he had come up with a plan that wouldn't exactly trick congress in to it but basically force
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congress in to actually debating the war in iraq and syria. and now we can tell you that that plan well, it seems to have worked because congress just had two hours of earnest, serious, combative debate about this war a war that up until now they haven't been willing to say much at all about. >> do our job. i'm sorry so many people think it is a radical idea. >> we either stand up and fight isis now, or we sit on our niece and cowher before them later. >> have the debate on the house floor. national security threat, yes, go after them. if not, than do something else. >> people are sick and tired of war. >> we continue to fight the terrorists with one hand behind our back. >> we are waging a war that is probably unconstitutional. >> the world has watched the last several years of our lack of a foreign policy plan. >> to force a debate that -- we wouldn't even be talking about the middle east if it wasn't for
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this resolution. >> so it took almost a year, but congress finally did start a debate on the war. as we were saying, it took what amounts to a trick to make this happen. congressman mcgovern made them debate something that would have forced an end to the war that would have brought all of the troops home unless congress did its real job and voted to authorize that war. and the house still hasn't actually voted to authorize the war. jim mcgovern's amendment, they voted it down they said they wouldn't pull the troops out either. but to do all that they did have to stand up and be counted. and, yes, this is a baby step but it is still a step. there are all sorts of opinions on this war out there, whether with we should be fighting it, how we should be fighting it. how wide it should be, how narrow it should be. no matter where you come down on it is good news when our elected representatives in congress play the role they're supposed to play and actually have this debate themselves. at the end of a week when we need some good news there you
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go to become a member of experian credit tracker and take charge of your score. prayer gatherings and vigils continue today in charleston, south carolina, after the shooting deaths of nine people at the historic emanuel ame church on wednesday night. the work of justice also moved forward. sources telling nbc news the shooter has confessed to the police. he had his first hearing this afternoon in the local bond court. he remains behind bars without bail. looking ahead over the weekend, we expect several events in memory of the victims. there's going to be prayer services and a couple of interfaith services tomorrow. saturday. on sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. the churches of charleston will ring bells in solidarity. emanuel ame will welcome visiting congregations after the morning and evening services on sunday. on sunday night, everyone in town is invited to form a human unity chain across the bridge in
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charleston. i will be around this weekend with my usual show with more coverage on saturday and sunday mornings t starting at 8:00 a.m. eastern time. rachel will be back monday night. have a great weekend and good night. new details emerging on the suspect in that charleston church shooting and the moments just before and just after he went on his rampage. in the community, powerful re reaction including from the mayor. you will want to hear his words on what the lasting impact of the shooting would be. they might surprise you. new poll on the confederate flag after the shooting in south carolina, should it still fly over the state capitol building? a newly reported possible sighting of those escapees in new york, but there's a very puzzling aspect to information police released late yesterday. two weeks after the convicts broke out of prison.