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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  April 20, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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we have been looking at live images of people in the streets tonight and people at the courthouse where the verdict was read for the derek chauvin's trial and especially right now at the site where george floyd was killed in minneapolis last year. as i said substantial numbers of people gathering entirely peaceful and people reacting to those three guilty verdicts on three counts against officer derek chauvin, that's going to do it for me. now it is time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnel. >> good evening, lawrence. >> there is no drama in the world quite like the return of the verdict. the suspense is always total. there is no polling or hints,
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they don't give signals. the only indication was the relative speed on the verdict this complex with no questions to the judge at all, certainly gave people like me the belief there is going to be at least one guilty coming out of this, if not all three. but, when that moment comes, there is nothing like it. >> yeah. >> the interesting thing about the coverage of this trial with covid restrictions and the public being stricter in the room so there are cameras there but not been there usual which means business in the courtroom. and presering the anonymity and there is no drama quite like that. i felt like i didn't take a breath for a very long time
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much. >> yeah, what so fascinating o f what you just said, when you removed all of those visual elements from the trial that we were not allowed to see. never allowed to see jurors and it did not suffer. the flawless radio play with all the drama that the sound alone could give us. it was as dramatic as any courtroom scene i ever witnessed while being in the actual courtroom. >> absolutely right. there is an ongoing debate as to whether or not cameras in the courtroom affects jurisprudence whether they advantage one side or another or degrade the quality of the judicial process in any way that the supreme court for example has never allowed cameras inside and i think most vowed for it never to happen. we see necessity in the mother of inventions and responsibly
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having cameras in the courtroom because of covid and the high-profile nature of this trial and the way they were able to handle it to the end and preserving the anonymity of the jury and the witnesses who were minors. i think it will cause some people to rethink whether or not it can be done in a way that opens this process up to the public without hurting the trial process. >> yeah, this is the perfect example of it. you know rachel, i was watching our coverage all day this evening and joy reid had her hour and i felt that's not enough for joy. she had years of things to say about this so i have asked joy to come on and join our discussion at this hour. i for once want to hear more from her and we have the governor of minnesota is also joining us tonight in this hour. that's how we'll begin our coverage. >> get to it, friday friend.
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thank you, lawrence. >> thank you, rachel. in the end it came down to 12 people, about the same number of people who watched police officer derek chauvin murdered george floyd on 38th street in minneapolis, 12 people who had the same reaction that the people on the street had when they were watching george floyd died. 12 people randomly assembled by the state of minnesota, a state sharply divided in the last presidential election when it seems to get impossible 12 people in that state or 12 people anywhere in this country to agree unanimously on anything. 12 reasonable people. 12 people who took an oath evaluated evidence together including the video of george floyd death recorded by a 17-years-old and quickly agreed and unanimously to speak with one voice in the pronouncement
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of one word, three times. guilty, guilty, guilty. >> verdict count one, court filing number 27 cr 20. we the jury as to count one, intentional murder finds the defendant guilty at 1:44 p.m. signed juror number 19. third-degree murder find the defendant guilty, this verdict agreed to this 20th day of april, 2021 at 1:45 p.m., signed by juror number 19. same caption, verdict count 3, we the jury above in the title
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matter second-degree man slaughter, finds the defendant guilty on this 20th day of april. jury person 4019. >> one of the prosecutors left the jury with the words they clearly followed, in their deliberations. you can believe your eyes. >> you can believe your eyes. it is exactly what you believed. it is exactly what you saw with your eyes. it is exactly what you knew. it is what you felt in your gut. it is what you now know in your heart. this was not policing. this was murder. the defendant is guilty of all three counts. all of them. there is no excuse.
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thank you. >> after the verdict was announced and the chairs were filling the air outside the courthouse, there was one business left in the courtroom. in a courtroom where video of george floyd being handcuffed countless times, a prisoner handcuffed on live television taken into custody. chauvin will be sentenced in a week, he's facing possibly more than 40 years in prison. >> bail is revoked and the defendant is in the custody of the sheriff. anything further? >> thank you.
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we are adjourned. after the verdict, president biden and vice president harris spoke by phone and said this. >> today's verdict is a step forward, i spoke to the governor of minnesota who thanked me for the close work of his team. i also spoke with george floyd's family again. remarkable family of extraordinary courage. nothing can ever bring their brother, their father back. but, this can be a giant step forward in the march towards justice in america. >> here is the truth about racial injustice, it is not just
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a black america problem. or a people of color problem. it is a problem for every american. it is keeping us from fulfilling the promise of liberty and justice for all. >> minnesota's governor, tim walls said this. >> it is an important step for minnesota, trial is over but here in minnesota i want to be very clear, we know our work just began. this is the floor and not the ceiling of where we need to get to. >> leading off our discussion, minnesota's governor, tim walz, thank you for joining us on this historic night for your state.
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what can you tell us about your phone conversation with president biden today? >> good evening, lawrence, i think all of us know president biden's compassion and just basic human decency, certainly needed. the two of us speaking after the minutes the verdict was read. i can hear president biden's voice all hopefulness that we got something as the prosecutions said we all saw and knew in our hearts. the floyd's family pain laid bare to the world and so as minnesota and are failings. we know we can do better and we know we have to do better and just listening to the point that this is not about black minnesotans but all minnesotans.
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now the work does began. >> you said that today, what is next in that work? >> we contribute a lot to the world and life expectancy and personal income and educational attendance and homeowner ship. when you disaggregate that, there is not just a little gap, we go first to 50 if you are black. naming that and making sure education and equities are addressed. we got our plan and if we are going to follow that north star then we need to get it right. it starts with some of those things, we have to take away the risk, we can't have black youths, we saw almost unimaginably to watch daunte wright died a week ago. the training board and those
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overseeing licensing of police, we need to make sure you don't die from a traffic stop. we can't let these things set and not move. that's the work that has to happen. we need to bring up all of those things. it didn't start in in equities when they ended up with police encounter, it starts when they are bored. we have the capacity here. we are a well state with resources. it is the insidious nature that people don't see it and it is right in front of us, that's the work that needs to happen. >> let's note some of what your state's attorney general keith ellison who's in charge of the prosecution said today. >> i would not call today's verdict justice because justice implies true restoration. it is accountability which is the first step towards justice. we need true justice. that's not one case.
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that's a social transformation that says nobody's beneath the law and no one is above it. this verdict reminds us that we must make enduring systematic societal change. >> what can you do in conjunction with the attorney general on this? >> well, first of all, i would like to thank the attorney general, the country and the world saw the amendment he assembled just the talent that's there. i had the privilege of serving in congress with the attorney general, we have been friends for a long time. i think he's calling us out for that. we need to pass this legislation, they been moved and our house of representatives in minnesota, there is a lot of folks in there and the people of color and indigenous caucus had things need to see and reform, that has to pass and healthcare
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disparities and those types of things. again, we can do this. we have the ability to do it. it is the societal change that makes it and a lot of minnesotans and the country, the sense of dread that you have been feeling, we can't have occupying and large number of police on the streets all the time. that's the feelings that black parents have when they send their kids to practice. it is starting the dawn on some folks that unless this gets taken up now, we'll be right back here again. i don't think anybody wants to end back here again. i am committed now. i think this gives us the momentum to move these things. i hope we see this in the united states congress to move some of the piece of legislation that are there. this has to happen and be candid with you, we can't be denying the right to vote to black communities when they are saying
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thank god we are able to vote keith ellison to be the attorney general. we have got work to do. >> governor, what has been the most, the biggest part of the learning experience for you in the last year? >> listening the that. i am a middle age guy, trying to understand the community and trying understand and hear these communities. it is challenging in a stay of minnesota, you see wealth and success and why you are leaving folks behind. for me, i come from the classroom, i am a classroom teacher and seeing how we set those expectations and we put things into play that sets the destiny of these children long
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before they end at 38 in chicago under the knee of a police officer. for me is continue to listen and it is challenging on me. i just have to say we are trying to make sure we don't see our city burned. it is catch 22. the more police there are the more tension it is, the more chance you have to get things. this idea of getting away from the false narrative, it is not about defunding police, it is about having the community safe and in a way that works for them and have them apart of it. my job is going to be and i don't expect it to be easy but is to try to draw back from those divisions that we have. just like you see across the country, minnesota is divided geographically and racially. we see the end of all that is police in the streets, national guards in the streets and families ruined and a city/state/country on edge.
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for me is making sure i am hearing those communities and making sure we are will, let's try something different. let's be bold. let's put things out there. let the community show us the direction to go because they are ready. >> governor tim walz, thank you so much for sharing your discussion with us. >> joining us now is our joy reid. i was watching you at 7:00, you just did not have enough time. you had years of things to say, i want to give you an open mic with your reaction to this verdict today. >> thank you, lawrence. we had an embarrassment of great guests that i let do all the talking at 7:00. you know i think like everyone else i have been holding my
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breath through this trial and i tend to be very cynical about trials of police officers, i tend to assume they always get off because they most always do. i did not consider there could be a guilty verdict until the end of the trial. the prosecution so out classed the defense attorney who did all the usual tricks, you know, the magical black man that's going to leap from the -- rise from the dead because of the power of drugs he's on and become a threat and all the usual dangerous black men, he tried everything. you never know and you can never tell with jurors. once the jury came back quickly. i have been talking with a lot of police friends and prosecutor friends who said they come back within a couple of days it is probably a guilty verdict. when it was 10 or 11 hours, it is guilty. tonight having had a few hours to really think about it, i just
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have two teenagers in my head tonight, lawrence, darnell frazier and bryant. darnella being the teenage girl who's the reason why there is a trial at all. she was brave enough to take in the trauma of watching a man died in front of her and filmed it. she's the reason george floyd went from being what minneapolis police claims who died of a medical incident, casual context with police, they continue to lie about it to being somebody who could change the world as his daughter said. mckiah called the police because
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there was an incident taken place at her foster home, now she's dead because police shot her in the chest and killed her. i am half relieved, i am partly exhausted emotionally and i am not sure where this gets us long-term because police are still police and they are still doing the same thing. >> i am glad you mentioned darnella frazier, we'll listen to some of her testimony at the end of this hour and let her get the last word. let's listen to joe biden's phone call with the family. >> i have been watching every second of this with the vice president, we are all relieved. it is really important and i am anxious to see you guys.
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i really am. we are going to get a lot of work done. we'll do a lot. we are going to stay at it until we get it done. >> hopefully this is the momentum for the george floyd policing act. >> that and a lot more. >> thank you, mr. president. >> joy, what was your reaction to that presidential phone call? >> you know thank god we have a warm-blooded human being as president in this moment. i can't imagine what thisnight would have been like with the previous president. he's talked to the family more than once and he spoken to them multiple times since he became president. he actually is a decent man.
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i think it was very kind of him to reach out to the family, for him to make a statement tonight it was important. it was more like when we had president obama, somebody who can empathize as a human being with people who are feeling lost but joe biden just does that in a unique and profound way. it is ironic for a lot of people joe biden was not their first choice but now looking back on it, he feels like the only possible choice in this moment in history. he's in the right place at the right time. >> joy reid, my friend, get some rest, we'll see you tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. on "the reid out," we know you will be sharing more about this. thank you very much for joining us. really appreciate it. >> thank you so much lawrence. >> thank you. coming up, two former nypd detectives who have been with us throughout the trial. they'll join us next on their
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today keith ellison thanked the witnesses on the streets who told the jury the truths of what happened to george floyd. >> they stopped and raised their voices and they challenged authorities because they saw his humanity. they stopped and raised their voices because they knew what they were seeing was wrong. they did not need to be medical professionals or experts in the use of force. they knew it was wrong. they were right. these community members, they did it again in this trial. they performed simple, yet profound acts of courage.
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they told the truth and they told the whole world the truth about what they saw. >> joining us now, our criminal law professor at new york law school and mark clacken. curt walter, let me begin with you, this trial is unlike what we have seen before, this verdict came in relatively quickly, that was a signal what the verdict was going to be, more jury reflection on what we got in that courtroom today. >> well, what we saw in this courtroom today was where this trial began and ened. it was with the video, the unreputable evidence that brave young woman shot, frazier.
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it is something defense could not overcome. i think this outcome to be expected. >> the other outcome was something the governor stated, this started when george floyd was born. this is what's so many people of color have to bare in this country. rather than this trial being the end all to be all is simply hopefully a beginning and we have seen our elected officials take it as such, the final thing i will state is the manner in which the minneapolis police department stepped forward starting with chief arandondo and the other members of the police department. i will be left with the image of police officers stepping forward
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and what the rest of the world saw that this did not follow any form of police protocol. and ultimately seeing derek chauvin led away in handcuffs. he'll have a benefit of a life that george floyd never had. that's the one image that stayed with me. >> mark, we did see police officers take the stand against a member of their own police department but what would have happened if darnella frazier did not record that video, would the police story had been resisting arrest or maybe an overdose drug or that's the end of it. >> the most impactful and
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significant image moing for ward that'll have a direct impact on police behavior will be impacted by the image of eric chauvin being remanded and cuffed and walked to the back being incarcerated. that's what spurred significant movement from individual police officers and his direct relationship to the behavior moving forward. i think it is time and this may be the beginning of law enforcement of policing acknowledging that we are at the beginning of the ice age if you will, and unless they are prepared to evolve, they'll become extinct unless policing is prepared to move over a
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restorative or transformative justice model, they'll be replaced and they'll have to be fully repaired to start walking back from what was the policing model of the 20th and the 19th century and to move more towards a public safety model, a holistic comprehensive public safety model that respects and honor the sanctity of human life. >> mark, you touched the thing that we have been watching these types of cases and studying them in criminal cases. when is the moment when one of these will have an impact on police behavior? i think the images you isolated of chauvin in handcuffs. that image more than anything i have ever seen in one of these cases is a form of communication to police officers unlike anything we have seen before.
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mark and kurk, thank you very much, it is impossible for me to thank your service to us during this trial. we really appreciate it. >> thank you, lawrence. >> thank you. >> congressional black caucus who was with george floyd's family yesterday will join us next. floyd's family yesterday will join us next surance so you only pay for what you need? really? i didn't-- aah! ok. i'm on vibrate. aaah! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ (mom vo) we fit a lot of life into our subaru forester. (dad) it's good to be back. (mom) it sure is. (mom vo) over the years, we trusted it to carry and protect the things that were most important to us. (mom) good boy. (mom vo) we always knew we had a lot of life ahead of us. (mom) remember this? (mom vo) that's why we chose a car that we knew would be there for us through it all.
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i can't breathe, those were george floyd's last words. we can't let those words die with him. let's keep hearing those words. we must not turn away. we can't turn away. we have a chance to begin to change trajectory in this country. it is my hope and prayer that we
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live up to his legacy. >> joining us now is democratic congressman joyce badi, i knew you were in minneapolis yesterday with george floyd's family. where were you today when the verdict was read? >> i was outside the white house floor gathered with the members of the black caucus as we were waiting. we know all too close and too much about justice delayed is justice denied until we heard the words, we just stood in silence waiting to hear and that was guilty, guilty and guilty. >> how did that feel in that room today? we were almost numbed. we know while this was justice,
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it is the only first step. as you note this is the verdict and we still have to get through the sentencing. it was a feeling of we could breathe. when you watch that 9 minutes and 29 seconds, 27 times, george floyd saying "i can't breathe," it was today for a moment exhale. exhaled not only for black america but for america. we could exhale for all of the advocates and the legislatures and the people of minneapolis and of this great nation. we still have to continue to be in the fight for justice. >> and yesterday you were with george floyd's family. what did they tell you about what they have been experiencing so far through that trial as of yesterday? >> the family is amazing. they are very spiritual.
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they were very calm, they have been prayer-full. they were concerned of the advocates and the legislatures who were there as themselves. what for me was the most amazing was i asked his young daughter, gianna, if i can just hold her hand and say thank you to her for her courage and you know what, lawrence, she leaned over and she said "thank you for being here." her daddy would change the world and today, this verdict helps us begin to change the world. we certainly going to need it. i am headed back home soon and unfortunately at the time of the verdict, a 16-years-old in my district was shot by the police and killed today.
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>> these stories are going to keep coming. are we learning through anything through this trial and process about how to deal with these stories? >> i think we are learning a lot. >> we have this set of great examples that we have police officers come forward and say that certainly this was not appropriate and yes, this is what killed him. it was the knee on the neck and i think when people see there are consequences that it will hopefully help us as we move forward with this great first step but far too many lives have been taken and far too many names. we are still calling out and as great as this verdict is, it does not bring back george floyd and breonna taylor and so many other names and in my district and now with mckeah.
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we have to continue to be in this fight for justice because too many lives have been lost. today is another indication that we are still having lives lost senselessly at the hands of police officers. >> congresswoman beatty, thank you very much. >> coming up. mr. cobb was outside today in the courthouse when the verdict was read, he'll join us next along with eugene robinson. robin only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ (vo) ideas exist inside you,
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black men are fathers, and brothers and sons and uncles and grandfathers and friends and neighbors. their lives must be valued in our education system and our healthcare system and our housing system and our economic system and our criminal justice system. >> joining us now is eugene robinson from the washington post and mr. cobb, professor of journalism, both are msnbc's political analysts. professor cobb, you were there today outside the courtroom when that verdict was announced. what was it like? >> there was a lot of tension beforehand as there has been for the duration of this trial. people were very concerned of what the verdict would be.
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there were more than 450 people at the rally. as soon as he said guilty in to the blow horn. there tremendous roar went up in the crowd. there were people crying and hugging and despite the social distancing prohibitions, george floyd's girlfriend had been out there. there was a huge crowd of people around that was impossible to get close enough to hear what she was saying. but, there was, it was an emotional dam broke and you saw people releasing emotions that's been pinned up since may 25th of last year. >> eugene robinson, i want to give you an open mic opportunity to respond and react on this day
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of george floyd and the verdict and what we heard the vice president said and the president of the united states. >> lawrence, if you think about it, this crime, this murder was documented on video tape, all nine minutes and 29 seconds of it from various angles. it was there and we could see it. we should not have to feel this enormous relief and almost surprised that justice in fact was done in this case. that says so much about the history of these incidents, the history of these denials of justice in the case of white police officers who kill black men in question and so one has to hope this is a beginning. one has to hope this certainly
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is not the end of anything. one hope it is a beginning and an end and an illustration that a police chief can testify against one of his officers and saying he went too far. this is a weaken of a thin blue line of solidarity, that's a great thing for justice in this country and a great thing for racial in this country. >> professor cobb, for me there was a bit of pre-trump feeling of this today. what happens was 12 reasonable people got together and reached unanimous agreement relatively quickly on something that involved some complexity of law they don't familiar with but schooled themselves on. we have been living in the environment where the concept of 12 randomly chosen americans agreeing about anything unanimously had come to seem impossible.
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>> sure. i mean the people were keeping track of this. and the place where this trial was being held and what happened at the previous election here and also 10,000 foot analyses of how this might play out. i would caution to add, though, that we've had a hard time getting convictions in cases of egregious injustice even, you know, long before donald trump came to office. but the last point i will say is to your point, lawrence, i fully suspected that this might wind up as a hung jury. when people would ask me what i thought happened, i just thought that the countervailing forces of juries' reluctance to convict police officers with the abundance of evidence was just going to be a stalemate. and that's not what happened. >> right. guilty or hung were the only possibilities to me, watching
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that trial. and hung just means one. just means one refusing to vote guilty. eugene robinson, professor jelani cobb, thank you both very much for joining us on this important night. we really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> thank you. coming up, the minneapolis police department lied to you in their first public report of what happened to george floyd. it's the kind of lie that american police departments have gotten away with not dozens of times, not hundreds of times but thousands and thousands of times in the history of policing in america. but they didn't get away with it this time thanks to a brave 17-year-old girl. that's next.
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want to save hundreds on your wireless bill? with xfinity mobile, you can. how about saving hundreds on the new samsung galaxy s21 ultra 5g? you can do that too. all on the most reliable network? sure thing! and with fast, nationwide 5g included - at no extra cost? we've got you covered. so join the carrier rated #1 in customer satisfaction... ...and learn how much you can save at here's what the minneapolis police department told us on may 25th of last year after george floyd died. "on monday evening, shortly after 8:00 p.m., officers from the minneapolis police
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department responded to the 3700 block of chicago avenue south on a report of a forgery in progress. two officers arrived and locate believed to be in his 40s, in his car. he was ordered to step from his car. after he got out, he physically resisted officers. officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. officers called for an ambulance. he was transported to hennepin county medical center by ambulance where he died a short time later. end of story. end of police story. that was it. that was the lie they were going to get away with. that was the lie the police officers involved in the killing of george floyd were going to get away with. no police officer was going to contradict that story. not one of those cops on the scene was ever going to tell the truth about what happened to
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george floyd. never. but their story fell apart overnight thanks to one person. darnella frazier had been on this earth for less than half the time of derek chauvin's time on this earth. but at 17 years old she knew how to do the right thing. darnella frazier aimed her phone at derek chauvin and george floyd and held it and recorded every minute of what derek chauvin did to george floyd. even when derek chauvin threatened her with mace, darnella frazier held her ground and she kept recording. she then posted her video on facebook, and the police lie instantly began to crumble. >> probably close to midnight a community member had contacted me and said, chief, almost
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verbatim but said "chief, have you seen the video of your officer choking and killing that man at 30th and chicago?" and so once i heard that statement, i just knew it wasn't the same milestone camera video that i had saw. and eventually within minutes after that i saw for the first time what is now known as the bystander video. >> darnella frazier changed the police chief's mind about what happened on that street, and the next day derek chauvin was fired. when darnella frazier testified in the trial, she said she wished she did more. >> when i look at george floyd, i look at -- i look at my dad. i look at my brothers. i look at my cousins, my uncles. because they are all black. i have a black father. i have a black brother.
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i have black friends. and i look at that and i look at how that could have been one of them. it's been nights i stayed up apologizing and apologizing to george floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting, not saving his life. but it's not what i should have done. it's what he should have done. >> all three of the other police officers on the scene could have done more. each one of them could have intervened and knocked derek chauvin off george floyd's neck. but they did not have darnella frazier's courage. they did not have darnella frazier's sense of duty to the sanctity of another -- the sanctity of life of another human being.
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derek chauvin is in jail tonight awaiting a sentence that could leave him in prison for the rest of his life. and that happened because darnella frazier pressed record on her phone, because she knew something had to be done for george floyd and that was the only thing she could do. tonight on her facebook page where she posted her video of george floyd taking his last breath darnella frazier wrote, "i just cried so hard. this last hour my heart was beating so fast. i was so anxious. anxiety buzzing through the roof. but to know guilty on all three charges. thank you god. thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. george floyd, we did it. just has been served." darnella frazier gets tonight's last word. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now.


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