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This is about, when police act in a criminal and apparently intentional
matter, they have to be dealt with like any other criminal.
REP. BARBARA LEE (D-CA): Yes, first, let me just say, we grieve the loss
and the needless killing, murder of Mr. Brooks.
And just seeing this video again, my heart is so heavy, and I just want to
send my condolences, first of all, to his family, his friends and the
entire Atlanta community.
Secondly, when you see what is taking place as it relates to just this
video and what happened with Mr. Brooks, this is a process that has been
going on for 401 years, as it relates to the dehumanizing of African-
So, the police officers in this instance thought it was OK to do what they
did. I mean, here, there was no crime committed. And this -- Mr. Brooks is
dead as a result. And so we have to do something.
And I want to just say, the protesters in the street and what is taking
place now is forcing this country to address not only police brutality and
misconduct, but systemic racism. And we have got to understand that enough
And we -- this has to stop, and we have got to get to the underlying
reasons of why this is happening. And we have got to break that chain in
terms of systemic racism in every aspect of American life.
MELBER: And, Reverend Sharpton, the DA laid out the case. That`s one side
of the case. As we all know, there are two sides, and this will be
One of the assertions that he made regarding whether the arrest itself was
conducted properly was about how Mr. Brooks was treated. He outlined, as I
mentioned, his view that it was largely Mr. Brooks being cooperative until
the end, and that, during the arrest, they were didn`t really inform him
that he was under arrest.
That may be debated in court. Let`s play -- we pulled that actual exchange
from the camera footage we do have. Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had about one-and-a-half drinks. You don`t remember
what kind of drinks they were?
RAYSHARD BROOKS, DIED IN POLICE CUSTODY: No, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
BROOKS: I really don`t, Mr. Rolfe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, I think you have had too much to drink to be
driving. Put your hands behind your back for me. Put your hands behind your
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: What did you think was important in the DA`s presentation about
both -- obviously, there`s the killing itself, but he also went into some
great detail about whether this transpired in a lawful manner as an arrest
and in a manner that didn`t really control the situation, but rather seemed
eventually to escalate.
SHARPTON: I think that it was very important that he did that, because, as
we just watched the video, at no point did that officer say that you are
under arrest for these reasons.
He said, I think you had too much to drink, and he then started handcuffing
him. Well, the reaction from anyone would be, well, why are you handcuffing
me? I have not even been arrested. You have not pronounced an arrestment.
You have not said what I`m being arrested for. What is the charge? What is
You think I have had too much to drink them for? Therefore, boom, I`m going
to put handcuffs on you. This is absolutely not only against the law. It is
dehumanizing, like we can be just handled any kind of way.
And you don`t even have to worry about the law books or procedures, because
we don`t matter. That`s what this whole movement is about. We do matter.
And let me just say that that`s what our Justice in Policing Act is
addressing. We have to have accountability, transparency. We have got to
make sure that there`s no immunity for police officers as a result of the
And so I think, legislatively, what you see taking place with the House and
with the Congressional Black Caucus, our Chairwoman Bass and our Democrats,
we`re moving forward to try to make some real systemic changes, not just
We need to make sure that police officers are held accountable. No one is
above the law. And as this video shows, that can`t -- we cannot have
immunity as part of the case that would allow these officers to get off the
MELBER: And, Congresswoman, while you`re here, given that we`re both
covering what`s out of Atlanta and the national implications, there has
been, of course, much attention what Congress can do.
Do you see these protests as advancing a potential bill that still, of
course, has to make it through the Senate? What do you see as the update
there in your work?
I mean, this bill is a great first start. And I think what you can see,
though, and what you`re hearing on the streets of America is that we have
to really restructure, divest, and we have to put resources on the front
end, so that policing in our community is -- becomes similar to policing in
affluent white communities, where shoot first is not the option for public
We have to make sure that our community has the proper equal education,
housing, mental health services, health services, the quality of life issue
that every American deserves.
And we have to put more resources into those efforts and really stop
funding the transfer of military weapons, for example, to local police. We
have to stop funding these efforts that militarize our police forces.
MELBER: Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Reverend Al Sharpton, I want to thank
you both on clearly a big news night.
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