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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  June 24, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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to replace everything that our parents ever instilled in us. we have to be forgiving. we have to be loving. we have to turn love the noun in to love the verb. >> tonight marks one week since the small group of people who turned up for wednesday night bible study at the mother emanuel bible study in charge were killed. tonight it is more like 100 people who are congregated in the same room at the church tonight including family members of one of the victims. 59-year-old myra thompson. funerals for the massacre will begin tomorrow. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again tomorrow. now it is time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." >> good evening, rachel. thank you. alabama's governor took down the confederate flag today and the national wake for the victims spread from south carolina to washington. tonight, at mother emanuel ame church in charleston as rachel just reported, wednesday night
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bible study went on, as usual a week after nine members of the church were murdered during that bible study. ♪ a very solemn public tribute to a son. >> the body of the late reverend clementa pinckney is lying in the state capital rotunda. >> people loved him here and are going to miss him a lot. >> a black drape blocking the view of the flag outside. >> what began as a push to remove one flag has grown to a national movement. >> alabama just removed its confederate flag from the state capital grounds. >> in mississippi, the republican speaker of the house called for the emblem to be removed from his state's flag. >> our future as a nation has been changed. >> south carolina senator tim scott introduced a resolution honoring all nine victims. >> one of the victim's sons said with great enthusiasm this evil attack would lead to reconciliation restoration and
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unity in 0 our nation. those were power ful words. >> change can happen at anytime, any place. we still have so much to do to correct the ills of our society. >> alabama's segregationist governor george wallace first raised the confederate flag over the state capital dome on april 25th 1963. alabama's segregationist politicians had been happily governing in the state house without help or inspiration of the confederate flag. governor wallace raised the flag that day, not in honor of confederate soldiers but in defiance of the united states of america. specific defiance of the attorney general of the united states robert kennedy, who came to visit george wallace that day to tell him that the united states government would crush him, if he carried out his
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announced plan to stand in the doorway of the university of alabama to prevent the first black students from entering the university. months later, wallace flamboyantly stood in that doorway and, as promised, was pushed aside by the national guard on the orders of president kennedy. and the confederate flag continued to fly over the alabama state capital, as nothing but a symbol of defiance. defiance crushed by the government of the united states of america. as of today, that flag is no longer flying. the governor bentley had all four confederate flags on the grounds removed this morning. in south carolina today, thousands of people came to pay their respects to state senator clementa pinckney whose body is lying in state in the capital row dunn ta. according to the charleston post and courier, he is the first african-american given the honor
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since reconstruction. black curtain was placed over a window of the rotunda to block the view of the confederate flag which continues to fly on state house grounds. while the legislature debates its removal. the national wake for the victims of the massacre at mother emanuel church in charleston came to washington today where south carolina's junior senator tim scott told the senate about his conversations with victims' families and how they hope this tragedy has changed this country. >> it is with great sadness and amazing hope that our future as a nation has been changed.
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it has been changed because one person decided to murder nine. it's been changed because the response of those nine families has been so core rageousurageous and inspiring. if you will permit me i will read the names of those nine individuals. we honor the reverend sharonda singleton, a beloved teacher, coach at goose creek high school. her son chris has shown us what an amazing mother she was. his strength over the past six days. we honor cynthia hurd. who's love for education has been shared for over 31 years.
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as a librarian. we honor susie jackson who at 87 years young still offered her beautiful voice to the choir and recently returned from visiting her family in ohio. we honor ethel lance who served her church with pride. whose daughter calleds her the strong woman who just tried to keep her family together. we honor depayne middleton-doctor who dedicated her life to serving the poor and helping her students as an enrollment and counselor at southern wesleyan university. we honor, my good friend reverend clementa pinckney. an amazing man of faith, a great
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dad and a wonderful father. we honor tywanza sanders, beloved son of tyrone and felicia, whose warmth and heart-felt spirit has kept us moving. we honor the reverend daniel simmons, sr. whose grand daughter said my grand daddy was an amazing man. it seemed every time he spoke it was pure wisdom. and we honor pastor myra thompson. who served the lord with grace and dignity. she loved her children, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren. if you would just pause for nine seconds, a second for each one with, i'd appreciate it. thank you.
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>> joining us now, the president an council of the naacp legal defense fund and professor at the university of maryland school of law. also joining us kosh cobb contributing writer for the director of african-american studies at the university of connecticut and jameel smith, senior editor for the new republic. it feels to me like we are in the midst of a national wake and at wakes important things get said. small personal things get said and our minds wander over the days of these things and i want you to share whatever your thoughts are at this point as we move through this week. >> lawrence, i think a you are right. there is a national mourning that's happening. i also think at the same time there's a national waking up that's happening. i think that a lot of what we are seeing around the confederate flag is about waking up to an issue that has been hiding in plain sight for so
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many of us for decades. it's actually been quite interesting to hear the genuine surprise of some people about the way in which the confederate flag is perceived. it's also been interesting to see the quickness with which a number of officials have changed their view about maintaining the confederate flag. i think this massacre that happened at emanuel ame church really has shocked people. it has focused our amention a way that i think is powerful and important. lawrence, like all of us who have lost someone that we cared for, we know there are stages that we go through. there's this intensity of grief very early on in which we do feel the powerful weight of mortality and the resolve to do things differently when our ears are open to hear our colleagues our brothers our family members and neighbors in ways they
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weren't before. but if that is not nurtured if that is not captured it's not long before we slide in to the old pattern and before we forget the way in which our ears were opened in that period when we first felt sorrow and greechl i think that's the danger we are in right now as a country. we are go to bury our dead this week in charleston. no doubt the president will deliver a powerful and stirring eulogy. we will have a weekend and we will have a supreme court term end and there will be a decision and several supreme court cases including fair housing act and marriage equality and health care. and the conversation will begin to drift away from the moments that we find ourselves in today. that's, i think, the danger. the question is how do we capture the spirit of this moment? how do we make these lives that were lost so awfully and needlessly not be in vain by
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getting to the heart of the issue. not just the confederate flag but the real issue of structural racism to the issues that created someone like a dylann roof to the reality of white supremacy and white supremacist thinking that exists. that's the heavy lift, the hard long-term work and i hope we're up for it. sglipt to play some of what george wallace had to say in 1963 simply because i think some of the audience is young enough to need a clear understanding of just how main stream dylann roof's thinking was in 1963 in the white south. let's listen to governor wallace. >> if you sfwoend pass this bill, you should make preparations to withdrawal our troops and burn in vietnam and the rest of the world because they will be needed to police this country. they will make american people law violators because they are not going to comply with this
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type legislation. a president that sponsors le legislation such as the civil rights act of 1963 should be retired from public life. >> there is a straight line a straight line from george wallace to dylann roof. >> absolutely. there are some things we should talk about. what wallace was really representing. he was not, you know outside of a context there. he was existing very much in what was the main stream of southern political thought at that point in time. i think the best way of understanding the difference and the context in which the confederacy or the confederate flag came to the floor is to think about, you know we are now four decades past the end of vietnam. and the shadow of vietnam has hung over this country ever since the fall of saigon. all soul searching and krim nation and the way vietnam remained the shadow in the path
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of american military intervention ever since then. this is the first time the country had to grapple with the idea of military defeat. except the south, a full century before this had gone through this idea of grappling and soul searching and then a kind of denial that comes with the bitterness of military defeat. so the south is very particular in these ways. so for this generation of people who immediately have fought in the war, many of them thought the confederate flag should be put away. should be an element of history. for people that came after them who felt the need to defend their forbearers, they couldn't come out and say we were fighting on behalf of slavery. they had to come up with a euphemism to say we are fighting on behalf of heritage or valuer and the mythology the civil war was not fought about slavery but tariffs, which is kind of absurd idea. all of these things come
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together and you understand why we have this denial that comes to the foreground then. >> the denial was formalized in southern public school education, the kids were taught that the civil war was not about slavery. >> indeed. the confederate flag certainly flying in front of the state house, on top of the state house didn't nothing to dissuade them. it serves today, even though it certainly doesn't serve the same purpose as george wallace intended it certainly serves today as a trigger for all african-americans, young and old, that see it and know that you know it just -- it shows -- it's an indicator of the racial pain that cannot yet be visited on black bodies the same way that dylann roof did on that church. >> we're going to take a break and come back with more of this conversation including about southern politics now, southern presidential politics. coming up, a new arrest
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tonight in the prison escape in new york and tsarnaev apologized in a boston courtroom where he was formally sentenced to death for the boston marathon bombing and as confederate flag continue to come down we will consider how politics is changing in the south. guys with erectile dysfunction get and keep an erection. talk to your doctor about viagra. ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain; it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. side effects include headache, flushing, upset stomach and abnormal vision. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. stop taking viagra and call your doctor right away if you experience a sudden decrease or loss in vision or hearing. ask your doctor about viagra. ♪ ♪
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a generation ago, martin luther king told parishioners at the mother emanuel church in charleston that voting rights was the key to achieving the american dream. dr. king was right then and that ideal remains true today. we have to make sure that every american can vote. they can vote for whom ever they want but every american, every american, every american.
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>> today senator patrick leahy introduced a bill to restore much of the voting rights act the supreme court invalidated two years ago. it would compel states with documented voting discrimination to clear voting changes with the federal government and require approval for voting i.d. laws. up next the southern strategy that republican presidential candidates have been using since nixon won the white house in 1968. automotive innovation starts...
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the south for a generation. republicans seized that political opportunity and the successful 1968 presidential campaign of richard nixon was the first to use what came to be known as the southern strategy. to win the electoral college by using the south as the republican base legendary republican strategist lee atwater explained it this way -- >> you start out in 1954 by saying [ bleep ], [ bleep ], [ bleep ], [ bleep ] pitch 1968 you can't say [ bleep ]. that hurts you. it backfires. so you say stuff like -- and 0 so abstract now you are talking about can youing taxes and all of these things are economic things an the by-product blacks get hurt worse than whites. >> an article in the week about the southern strategy points out in 1980, ronald reagan announced his campaign for president in the town of philadelphia mississippi where civil rights
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workers were murdered in 1965. he was not there to promote racial healing. but the math of the southern strategy is no longer working for republicans. mitt romney won all of the deep south in 2012 and won white voters by more than 20 points but lost to barack obama by 126 electoral votes. joining us now is ryan cooper national correspondent at the 0. so ryan is the southern strategy dead for republicans? >>. >> i would say it is not exactly dead. they are still going to try to win the south because that's their most solid base of support. however, it's not going to win them the president cy like it used to. my colleague paul waldman who wrote that piece as he pointed out in the '80s when reagan was
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running that operation white voters were 90% of the electorate and now 70% of the electorate. the math doesn't work anymore. you try these things and it's just going to hurt you more than help. so they are searching for a new strategy. >> to hear lee atwater explain the semantic change you had to go through was with just an open page of the republican play book he was showing us there. >> yeah it's really quite interesting to hear. profess lopez has written a book called "dog whistle politics." it is true the numbers are different now. there's something else that is true, lawrence. that is in the 1980s, people still believed in politics. we're dealing with a different electorate across the board of
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people who have been soured, who feel they have been betrayed. the economic crisis of 2008 hit americans so hard across the board including white working class americans. also in the south. what that means is you can not rely on that population to turn out in the numbers. that is to be passionate about a presidential election in the way they might have been in the 1980s. not only are we talking about the size of the electorate, but we are talking arve your ability to count on that electorate to turn out because they feel passionate about politics. many of those voters are now disaffected. the voters who became passionate about politics were the barack obama voters of 2008 the young voters. again of 2012. so the question is who's going to be able to ignite passion in voters across the board both the democrats and the republicans face this problem going in to
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the next presidential election. that's where the buzz words may actually work to the contrary. people are tired of politics as usual and we recognize what those words are. even southern voters do. there is a real challenge -- i think what you are seeing in response to the confederate flag issue shows there's fear. there's fear that holding on to this strategy being associated with it is not a winner for people who are seeking the presidency and who are seeking higher office. at the same time we should recognize the confederate flag is an expression of explicit bias. there are so many coded ways in which bias still gets transmitted and remains to be seen whether those coded messages will be abandoned by republicans or by conservatives, democrats or others who are seeking to capture that southern base. >> jelani cobb nikki haley did
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an incredible favor for the republican presidential field on monday after they spent the weekend struggling with what they think about the confederate flag and should it be up or down in south carolina. she stepped up and eliminated it as an issue for them. they could get in line behind her. now they will next year go in to a south carolina primary where the issue won't be should the confederate flag be flying here. >> right. if you listen to that speech that she gave she kind of hedged. she talked about dylann roof having a twisted interpretation of the flag and so on. in actuality he had an accurate interpretation of what the flag was, connecting it to the history of white supremacy. very much she wanted it not to be an issue. south carolina is the third primary. she did not want this to be an issue next year later this year when people are having debates and next year when people go out to vote. coincidentally made herself look like a viable interesting vice
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presidential pick as well. >> to his point about what she said about the flag she had that mandatory thing, especially the southern white conservative politician has to have she has to say, there's this honorable history to this flag and honorable decent relationship to it that a lot of people have. i hate to -- when i agree with 90% of a politician's speech i hate to zero in on that spot but this was too important of a speech. that was decimated by senator paul thurmond in south carolina when he got up and said there's absolutely no honor expressed by this flag. he denied all of those positive emotional attachments that the south has had to that flag. >> as well he should. the flag is nothing less than a symbol of white supremacicy. if we think of it as anything less we qualify it and that's
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how it slid by in our society as an accepted thing on hat and belt buckles. >> why it was raised in the first place that. day in 1963 in alabama, george wallace was doing it to say nothing but we will defy you on this. >> it serves as a flying affront to the lives of black people in that state and elsewhere. as long as we pretend it is something different, the problems that underlie the problems that the flag seeks to maintain in our society will never be solved, will never be fully addressed properly. >> ryan cooper your reaction to the political importance of what nikki haley did for the republican presidential field. >> i agree. she definitely hedged to some degree. however, i do give her a great deal of credit. i think this revealed something interesting about internal republican politics because, you know what she started -- there wasn't -- a whole bunch of
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different conservative politicians were all running for cover on this. nobody would have noticed, probably if people in mississippi hadn't jumped on this one, too. it was suddenly -- it's already gone in mississippi. i think that reveals that the underlying structure, so to speak, of the southern strategy has been rotting from the inside for a long time. all it took was with you know just somebody pulling out a couple of bricks an it all crumbled at once. i think it is a symbolic act for now but i think in ten or 20 years this could be a real turning point, i think, considering for how republicans think about race and history moving forward. >> ryan cooper, thank you for joining us. thank you for joining us tonight. up next, the prosecutor who
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today some victims of the boston bombing heard from dzhokhar tsarnaev. he said quote they made my life the last two years very easy. then he said the prophet muhammad peace and blessings be upon him said that if you do
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not, if you are not merciful to allah a's creation la will not be merciful to you. so i'd like to apologize to the victims, to their survivors. after tsarnaev spoke, george o'toole spoke to him directly saying what will be remembered is that you murdered and maimed innocent people and that you did it willfully and intentionally. you did it on purpose. you tried to justify it to yourself by redefining what it is to be an innocent person so you could convince yourself that martin richard was not innocent that -- was not innocent and the same for crystal campbell. and sean colier. and therefore they could be should be killed. joining us now for an exclusive interview, one of the prosecutors in the case assistant u.s. attorney for the district of massachusetts. what was your reaction to
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hearing mr. tsarnaev speak? was that the first time you have heard his voice? >> it's not the first time i have heard his voice. we spent a lot of time during jury selection and the trial in his presence. you get your sense of someone when you are in their proximity. more importantly, we have investigated him and his entire constellation of friends and family for over two years. in many ways i may have known him better than i have known any other defendant that i have ever prosecuted. that being said anytime -- i'm sorry, anytime a defendant speaks there's always some mystery that's been solved because you always want to know what they are thinking. >> i was up there in cambridge days after the bombing, talking to high school classmates of his. they were showing me his high school yearbook. i'm sure you spoke to a bunch of
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them and interviewed a bunch of them. from them i'm sure you heard, as i did, a story of this well-liked kid in high school but you had to figure out the story of how he became the bomber. does the -- did the root eventually make sense to you? could you trace it? could you see how it happened? >> i think we did and i think we presented a lot of that. i think, as even the judge said at the sentencing today to the extent there was a siren song of some jihadi misleaders as he called them around the world who attract people like the defendant who wants to be attracted to it than you know there's some ideology there's propaganda and materials they can consume. as we argued at trial and as the evidence showed you know in many ways it doesn't matter what it was that ultimately flipped the switch for him that he wanted to pursue that. it is clear that he did.
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it is clear he internalized and believed it. i think what we heard from his statements echos the fact that he still believes it. as the u.s. attorney said shortly after the sentence, you know what's stark about what the defendant said in addition to the thanks everybody on his team and talking about himself and what islam meant to him was what he didn't say. he didn't you know talk about renouncing his actions. he didn't talk about whether his actions were justified or not. it was simply the human recognition that over the last six months he has seen the suffering he caused. >> one of defense lawyers said today that they and tsarnaev offered to plead guilty and apologize at the beginning of this, but you and your team would not accept that guilty plea. >> there's some truth to what
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the attorneys say, but as often happens with attorneys, maybe not the complete story. conversations between attorneys during a criminal case are confidential. >> but they have released you from that by bringing up the conversations. they have completely released you. there's nothing to prevent you from telling us what oent in those conversations. >> i'm not sure i agree with you on that. even if i was at liberty to and i'm not sure that i am. there is an elaborate detailed process in the department of justice before a decision to engage in a plea discussion or death penalty decision is made. that's a solemn process that requires ultimate confidentiality. it's for that reason that you know, we don't want to create a precedent by talking about something that might compromise the ability in the future for those decisions to be made in an apolitical way, in a way that is based on the facts and not based
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on emotion or what somebody's political sentiment might be. i think it is important to respect that. >> aloke, thank you for joining us. i really appreciate it. >> thank you. up next, two more people in that courtroom today, including a watertown chief of police whose officers were in that gun battle with the tsarnaev brothers that night in watertown. later, new developments in the hunt for those escaped convicts in new york state. another prison employee is arrested tonight.
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>> it was disappointing. it rang hollow to me, lawrence. it was too little in two years too late for me in my offices. his comments were immediately after. well the marathon bombings happened on monday. and then there was tuesday, wednesday and thursday. sean colier was killed thursday night. so if he was remorseful, sean should be still alive today. watertown should have never happened. the gun fight by
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allah is present throughout. i want to read one section of it. this is a part of apparently why people in the courtroom today, including victims for the most part were not convinced of his apology. he said, i sprayed for allah to betoe his mercy on the deceased those affected in the bombing and their families. allah says in the koran that with every hardship there is relief. i pray for your relief for your healing, for your well being,
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for your strength. ed deveau, that isn't an expression of regret, i wish i never did this. i understand now how hard
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he said i ask allah to have mercy on me and my brother and my family. i ask allah to betoe his mercy on those present here today and allah knows best. those deserving of his mercy. i have a feeling people in the courtroom believed that he thinks that he is worthy of mercy. >> well as you noted, he said god and allah many times. if you go through the speech, he mentioned god or allah over a dozen times. this speech to the courtroom is really one of four options before him, i think. one was he could say nothing. two was he could apologize completely renounce everything. three he could go on a tirade and denounce the united states and praise islam and four was something in between. i think that's what we ended up
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getting today. >> ed when he says i'm sorry in here the way with it reads to me as i read and reread it it has the feeling of i'm sorry. i'm sorry this happened to you but i had to do this. in much the same way this killer in south carolina was saying to those people, i have to do this. i'm the one who has to do this. >> i agree. the note tells more of what he was really thinking when these acts were committed than what he had to say in court today. and he talked a little bit of asking for forgiveness but it ran horrible to nerve the courtroom. i think there was great disappointment. you know, he just didn't get it across where anybody was feeling sorry for him today. >> go ahead, quickly. >> to ed's toint point.
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i think the hollowness can be the way he carried himself in the courtroom. not once did he show remorse or emotion. he barely looked at the people given victim impact statements. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, lawrence. coming up, a live report from upstate new york where another prison employee has been arrested tonight in connection with that prison break. reflexes faster than the speed of thought. can a business have a spirit? can a business have a soul? can a business be...alive? ♪ kraft barbecue sauce's new recipe is made with sweet molasses, cane sugar and no high fructose corn syrup. that's not how most leading barbecue sauces do it. but that's how it's done at kraft.
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upset stomach and abnormal vision. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. stop taking viagra and call your doctor right away if you experience a sudden decrease or loss in vision or hearing. ask your doctor about viagra. breaking news tonight. another prison employee has been arrested. gene palmer was a guard at the clinton correctional facility and worked in the cell block where richard matt and david sweat escaped 19 days ago. prison seam tres tres joyce
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mitchell had already been arrested and told investigators she smuggled escape tools to the prisoners inside of raw ground beef. gene palmer then allegedly took that meat to one of the prisoners, richard matt. the clinton county district attorney said it isn't unusual for prisoners to have hot plates or other cooking equipment their cells to grill raw meat and other provisions. gene palmer's attorney said this tonight. >> we intend to plead not guilty. he passed a polygraph test and had no knowledge that these two individuals were going to attempt an escape. he has admitted to -- he did pass the hamburger meat. he shouldn't have done it. he's apologized for it. we look forward to his day in court. in the meantime he will continue to cooperate in any way he can to aid in the capture of
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these two dangerous individuals. he had no knowledge there were any contraband other than the meat itself he had no knowledge that joyce mitchell had hidden contraband inside of the meat. >> joining us now from new york msnbc adam riess. what's the latest there tonight? >> well, a lot of leads, a lot of dead ends. they have searched all around this region. yesterday they were in mountain view. today they were back here storming the area. a lot of manpower this afternoon ten miles from here. they had a tip there was two people in a house. they swarmed that area. they surrounded that house. it turned out to be nothing. a lot of leads, a lot of dead ends. all they have is last saturday that cabin where they located the dna. they told us today, there might be now a bloody sock related to them, as well. in addition a shotgun that maybe missing from they cabin. that would mean these men are armed and dangerous, out on the
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run. day 19. still not one sighting lawrence. >> adam, is there anything they expect to get from this, the new person who's been arrested? ny anymore information? >> well we have already learned a lot of his involvement in the plot and what he did. he said it is really joyce mitchell who was the one manipulating people to help in this escape plot. they say the investigation is certainly continuing and they will lead it to wherever it goes. i can tell you it's ironic that you have possibly tonight, if he doesn't make bail you will have two prison officials in jail and two escapees on the run. >> adam riess, thank you very much for joining us tonight. coming up, details about an msnbc special report. ah... (boy) i'm here! i'm here! (cop) too late. i was gone for five minutes! ugh! move it. you're killing me. you know what, dad? i'm good. (dad) it may be quite a while before he's ready, but our subaru legacy will be waiting for him.
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do not drink alcohol in excess. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, get medical help right away for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision or any symptoms of an allergic reaction stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis for daily use. insurance coverage has expanded nationally and you may now be covered. contact your health plan for the latest information. who drives white supremacists like dylann roof who murdered nine people last week? we'll explore that in a special tomorrow night called "erasing hate" which looks at one man's experience in that world and the drive to now erase every trace
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of that hatred from his life. here's a preview. >> broke and without a job, brian had little hope of erasing his racist tattoos. enter an unlikely ally. the southern poverty law center or splc is a nonprofit civil rights organization that tracks extremist groups and fights them in court. >> brian contacted us because we had published an article about a social club which was an organization he was involved in. >> reporter: splc investigators joe roy and rory wood asked to meet with brian and julie. >> when we first met them we were talking about my face tattoos because that comes up in conversation. i was looking on ebay at the time for dermal acid to burn them off my skin. when i heard about that i was terrified they would even consider that. >> southern poverty law center offered to cover the cost of
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brian's tattoo removal procedures. >> if i could prevent one other kid from making the same mistakes i did, if i could tonight on "all in" -- >> remember the man for who he is and who he is and what he meant to the state. >> a somber scene in south carolina as the confederate flag comes down in alabama. the ongoing good, bad and ugly responses to the terror in charleston. >> these people sit in there, waiting their turn to be shot. plus, the nra reacts to the charleston massacre. >> we want to have a debate or at least we want to talk about the confederate flag. >> as a presidential hopeful expands gun access in his state. and ad vent nurses fatherhood caught on tape.