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Do you think America is a free country? Think again. Today we see radical unchecked state powers. What will become of our nation in the future? What can we do to save our homeland? What can we expect from our life in a not free America? Join host Mike Donovan, Nexus Services CEO and a funder of the nation's largest civil rights law firm as he discusses our new shared life in the United States of hypocrisy. Submit your legal questions and get answers from renowned civil rights lawyer Mario Williams. Strap in. You're about to have your eyes opened to your new reality in a not free America.
The America that we are living in right now is not a free America.
Welcome to another episode of Not Free America Radio. I am your host, Mike Donovan. With me, the eminent, the always professional, the always incredible Mario Williams, Esquire.
Do you do the Esquire thing, Mario? Is that ... Do you do that?
No, I don't do that.
Can you please tell me what that means? Just so everybody knows, you see these lawyers and they've got, you know, you see them online and they have the little title Esquire at the end of their name. What does that mean?
Like, does every lawyer get that?
You can ... Every lawyer can say it. It's just a, you know, Mario Williams comma Esquire, indicating I'm an attorney, but-
I just really want a title. And I have to make one up because my profession doesn't come with one. Like doctor or, you know, whatever. I mean, I can't tell you how many times I was in law school and I would have these kids try to convince me that they were getting a doctorate because it's called a Juris Doctorate. Please.
Oh yeah. Yeah.
Please, folks. You can't call yourself Doctor, you know. Anyway, we are here in what seems like, as I've said before, the beginning of the end of the world, otherwise known as 2020. And things just keep getting weirder. We are in October, expecting October surprises as it were. And we saw the New York Times issue their bombshell report on the president's tax returns, which I want to talk about. But before we talk about that, Mario, let's start with the news that really rocked the nation last week. And that is that both President Trump and Melania, his wife, tested positive for Coronavirus. Let me ask you a question, Mario, what do you think this does to the campaign? Like, how does ... Do we really know yet? How does this impact the campaign on an ongoing basis?
I don't think we really know yet. I mean, I don't think it's going to change anything on the debate scene. So I don't think it's going to engender any sympathy towards Trump for anybody that was in middle of the road. That's for sure.
So it's not like they're going to be like, oh he's fighting an illness. If anything, they'll probably be like, well that doesn't surprise me since you walk around with no mask on.
You know what I'm worried about though? Worried is the wrong word, but what I think may happen is, do you remember when the president of Brazil got Coronavirus?
And he's sort of right wing. And then when he survived it, it was because God favored him or whatever, and he was a man of the people. And, you know, he encouraged all the people of Brazil to get the Coronavirus because it's not that big a deal. Right? So. And maybe he's right, I don't know. But that certainly was an aberration of what the rest of the world was saying. And it came from his experience with Coronavirus. If president Trump gets sick for like six hours and then gets better, he's going to think he's a god.
Well, let me ask you this. And look, I don't want to feed into anything, but do you believe he really has the Coronavirus?
You know, I just said this to someone this evening. I just said this to someone last evening.
Is it beyond President Trump to play games and put out a false narrative that he has Coronavirus when he doesn't? Who in the public believes that?
I don't think anything's above Trump. I think that's part of the Trump brand. You know? I mean, and look, even, I think Trump supporters listening to this show would relish that fact. That's why people love him. You know, he's just crazy like that. So I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility. But the question I have is, it's a double-edged sword. I mean, you know, it could be that the American people go, you see, your reckless fool? Right? Or to use Joe Biden's words, clown. Right? You see, you should have been wearing this stuff. You should have been doing this stuff, blah-blah-blah-blah.
But then it's just-
Comes as no surprise.
Right? So, and I mean, if I'm the president, I probably wouldn't take that chance, for fear that it might cut the other way. But it could also cut the way that it did for the president of Brazil. Because, you know, quite frankly, he looked like a really strong guy who was able to-
Well, let's ask ourselves this, Mike. So he gets Coronavirus, we're in a pandemic. Why did the public need to know he had Coronavirus?
Well, you know, I think that ... And that's a good question, but I think that-
Why would you so readily tell everybody that?
Well, you know, Benji, Benji Netanyahu, when he got Coronavirus, he told people. And when Boris Johnson over in the UK ... And Boris Johnson almost died. I mean, he got really, really sick. Here's the question I want to ask people. This is an interesting question, Mario. How many people in the United States this week heard that news and said something horrible? Right? How many people let themselves go to a place of hatred where they would say something horrible vis-a-vis the President of United States having a disease. And I bring that up just to say that our politics are so diseased in this country, on both sides, that we have lost any sense of dignity, any sense of the rules of fair play. And I'm afraid that we're never going to come back from this.
I mean, you've got a guy who's diagnosed with a serious illness. And you've got half the country hoping he croaks. You've got another candidate who that guy says is mentally unfit and senile. I mean, you know, have we no shame? Are there not some things that we aren't going to bring out for public ridicule in a presidential campaign? Didn't presidential politics mean something more than this? When I was growing up, it certainly did. It was about the highest office of the land, the bully pulpit of the United States of America. It was about leading and inspiring. Neither of the jokers that are running for president right now are going to do that. Neither of them are.
Yeah, that debate was bad. That debate was really bad.
It was so bad. It was so ... Maybe the president was suffering from the onset of Coronavirus, and that's why he was so cranky. Has anyone thought about that?
Let me say this. I believe Biden called him a clown. Something about this, clown won't even let me say-
I'll say this. That kind of talk unnecessary. It's absolutely unnecessary. I don't know what point you're trying to prove. That you can, I guess get down in the mud with Trump? I don't know what the point is. But you know, he's the president. You can call him something, I guess, in private, obviously. But in public, just calling him a straight up clown. I was just like ... It was just, the whole thing was a show. It was a circus show.
Did you notice, and I don't know if you noticed this, but I certainly noticed it for me. When Trump would say, you know, he's a loser, or he's going to destroy the country, or whatever, you know, he would say this stuff.
It's so wild.
And I know, but like when I hear it, I'm like, yeah, little hands Marco. You know, like, that's the guy, right? That's his thing. That's his shtick. It's the president. He says horrible things all the time. It's not such a big deal. Then I see Biden do it. And I'm going to tell you something. I was watching this debate with a good friend of mine, [Tim Shipe 00:07:57], who has been on the radio show before, some of you know him. But Tim is a person who works really close with me, very liberal Democrat. Right? Very liberal Democrat. I watched the debate with him. And I noticed, and I pointed out to him very quickly, that Joe Biden looked deranged during that debate. And what I mean by that is, look at his eyes. His pupils were so darn big. I want to tell you something. Okay? I run ... I know I'm going to piss some people off for saying this. I'm not-
I don't think I noticed his pupils.
Oh my God, you got to go back and look, bro. Look at his pupils. And I'm telling you, man, like I run, I've, I've run all kinds of programs, working with people who are on the third rail of life and trying to bring them back in. And if any of my clients came to me with pupils like that, I'd send them to get a drug test. I'm just telling you. I've done it. I've literally done it. I've had people come, I've had people come to me and present with this, and I have sent them to get tested. Because it's a little thing called cocaine that makes your eyes do that, right? So I'm not suggesting that Joe Biden ... By the way, please vote.
Well, it sure sounds like it.
I'm not at all ... No, it doesn't. It does not. What I said was that I have seen people abuse that substance and have gigantic pupils. When I was watching Biden ... And I think that ... Admittedly, I don't think the guy's on cocaine.
I don't think so.
I think he was angry. I think he was very nervous. I think he was overprepared for assault, insults. And so he then was too quick to wade in.
Here's the thing.
Because the president can get away with stuff he can't. Do you agree?
That's right. So, what goes on with that whole situation, in my opinion, is that after seeing the first reality TV show, you know, backslash presidential race, where Trump just kind of was perceived as bullying people. And some people's opinions were out there that, hey man, you're just letting this guy walk all over you. The problem is because it's so outside the norm to do that, people who don't really believe that belongs in politics respond, and they overcompensate. You just can't do it the same way.
No, but you know what I thought? This is what I thought when I watched Biden doing that. I thought, this is Jeb Bush all over again. Do you remember when Jeb Bush decided that he was going to punch back at Donald Trump? It didn't work. Jeb Bush-
It doesn't. It doesn't work.
He's a boy scout.
It's not your personality. So he wants to be, you know, Slanging Joe Biden, where he's ready to roll up his handcuffs. If he didn't get the message, the people who don't like Trump don't like that.
That's right. And the other problem is, Trump has this thing about him. And I don't get it. But people in mainstream America, people in rural areas, feel like they relate to him. I don't get it. But I can assure you, people in those communities-
Not after that tax report.
Well, maybe. I mean, he doesn't have any money. Neither do most of us. But if you think about ... Maybe they endear him more. But when I think about it though, I think about, that Biden should be the guy that captures that narrative. Because he's from Scranton. How many times have you heard him say it? He's from a small town. He's not rich. He's not like Donald Trump. Yet. Yet, I just don't feel like he connects viscerally, like Donald Trump does, in a way that he can get away with stuff like that.
He can't. Because it's too staged.
It's too coast.
And the problem with Joe is, you know, like when he ... Didn't he attack somebody or call some guy a fat guy or something, or threaten a ... you know.
My favorite ... And I know it was old and I'm sorry to rehash it, but my was when he was giving the speech and he asked the guy to stand up so people could see him, and he was in a wheelchair. That was the funniest speech I've ever ... Did you ever see that? You've got to look this up.
Yeah, so he's giving a speech and he's like, get up. He's like, yeah, stand up, let them get a good look at you. And he's like, oh I'm sorry, I forgot you were in a wheelchair. It was hilarious. Absolutely.
It's one thing to have a reputation, I guess. I guess Biden has that, or wants to grow it, of just being a straight shooter. It's another thing to be a mud slinger.
And he, they are just not equipped or accustomed to the type of mudslinging, I mean, on demand, that Trump can deliver.
Yeah. And he can just throw it out and throw it out and throw it out. But you know-
Yeah, they're not used to that.
John McCain, you may remember, God rest his soul-
Although the president doesn't think very highly of him. But John McCain was a straight talker. In fact, you may remember the Straight Talk Express and all that crap.
But the thing is, like, he was, he was the Maverick, as Sarah Palin would say. But he was serious. Right? He was serious, and when John McCain spoke, you listened to him. You know, Biden has been around a really long time. I think one of my biggest problems with Joe Biden ... And let me just be clear. I'm a progressive. I can't vote for the president of the United States. I just can't. I've sued him a bunch of times for doing really horribly racist stuff. I just can't do it. But to be honest with you, to be totally honest with you, if I look at Trump and I look at Biden, I see a devil that I know, and I see a devil that I don't.
And what I mean by a devil that I don't isn't so much in Biden, but it's, what do we do ... How do we get out of this? And when I listen to the campaign, you know, you get a sense, and I'm just thinking about the narrative of the people of the United States, you listen to Trump and you get the sense that everything's going to be okay. You listen to Biden and you get the sense that we have to be afraid. Here's the question. Does the president's diagnosis with Coronavirus change that for him? Because I think that's one of the things he's had as an advantage. I think it plays to voters. I'm strong. I'm confident we'll get through this. If he gets sick ... If he gets sick, doesn't it enable Biden to say, see? Doesn't it enable the entire democratic operation to say, see? You very nearly hurt yourself, killed yourself. You're hurting other people. I mean, don't you think it does provide a window of an opportunity for that?
It provides a ... That's what I was going to say. It definitely provides an opening that they will take, regardless if they believe it or not.
So you have a situation where, hey okay, this guy got Corona, he's parading around without a mask, talking about everything's going to be all right. Now he has it. It would be interesting to see if he actually gets sick from it. Like actually really, really ill. Where reports, quote unquote, leak that he's on a respirator or something like that.
I mean that kind of ... I've said this from start. All it's going to take is one really, really prominent figure in the social fabric to really die from this, because it's still not a reality for a lot of people. There are a lot of people out there that say they simply don't even know someone that's been affected by it.
That's right. That's right. And I think people, you know, I hear a lot of people say they just don't believe it.
I mean, I hear people say all the time, I had a conversation yesterday with someone who just said, you know, I just don't believe it. And I talk to them and they're like, I just don't, I don't know anybody that's sick. Hundreds of thousands of people have died. I don't know anybody who's died. You know, at the beginning of this thing, they said, if 200,000 people died, you'd know five people that died.
And this guy's like, I don't know anybody that died. And you know, he's like, I just don't buy it. And look, I mean, the problem with propaganda, Mario, is that when the government decides to tell us that we have to be so afraid that we dare not question what they say, it opens up a very natural window to question what they say. And doubt what they say. Because if you can't present facts to convince someone, and you have to ... you rely on propaganda, that's typically because you're wrong. It's typically because you're wrong.
Definitely if he were to die, because everyone would use common sense and be like, he has access to the best. Some people say, I have great health coverage and medical coverage. He has access to truly the best health coverage, doctors, everything. If he somehow were to ... Hey and look, I'm not one of these people who are like, good for ... I don't wish bad on anybody.
No, of course. I mean, I think we-
I don't want, especially death. So.
We've got to wish him well. Like, wish him a full recovery.
Yeah, he's the President of the United States. I have a difference of opinion on him on certain issues. But if that were to happen to him or any other significant figure like that, where they actually died, and everyone would say, okay, then this person dies from that, it's obviously more real. Because a lot of people think it's absolutely fake. And the last person that wants to attribute his death to Coronavirus is President Trump. Trust me.
Well, I'll tell you, for me-
So if he dies from it, then he really did die from it. They'd believe that.
This all became real to me when Joe Diffie died. And I don't know if anybody here knows who Joe Diffie is, but if you don't, look him up. Country star, awesome guy, funny music. And you know, when that happened, I'm like, oh my God that's someone I know. But then, you know what? I haven't seen ... You know, ,there are legitimate issues around concerns about death counts and those types of things. We need transparency. Sunlight, Mario is the best disinfectant. And transparency breeds an understanding and trust. And that's what we need. We're going to take a quick break, Mario will be right back. Stay with us, folks.
Welcome back to Not Free America Radio. Mario, we left off talking about the president and the coronavirus and I just wanted to pause it for the listeners. I think it's really, really important that we say, and I mean it, that the president is in my thoughts and prayers I hope he and his wife, the first lady are fine. I hope they do well and I think that every American should think wonderful, healing thoughts toward the president, because that is who we are as a people.
But it is an interesting question. He does have an illness that does have a mortality rate that is high enough to have caused the closing down of the world. So I think it's important to at least ask the question then what happens if the president won the election and then died? So if the president wins the election and dies, it is perhaps the most disruptive of the potentiality of the president dying say before the election, because before the election, there are procedures where the ballots could be adjusted. The party could make its choice.
So if the president were to pass, the Republican Party would make a choice. And while the president's name was show up on some state ballots, many in fact, some would be reflected that people would know that when they voted for Donald Trump, they were actually voting for this new nominee. But imagine for a moment that Donald Trump wins the popular vote, or the electoral college math necessary. Then he were to pass away.
Now, if that happens, it's still the party's responsibility to nominate a replacement. So the Republicans would pick a replacement, but here's the weird thing. You don't get any choice in that because when the Republicans choose the replacement, that's the guy or the girl, the lady, you don't get to choose. You don't get to go back and vote. Furthermore, the laws that require electors to vote for the candidate that the states chose are invalidated, and what happens then is they can vote for whoever they want for. They can vote for a candidate in the race, they can vote for some other person, they give up for their dad.
So you get into a situation where now a very, very small number of people electors are choosing the next president United States with zero roadmap and zero guidance from the American people. That's scary, Mario, that's scary.
It is scary.
Well, let's hope that we don't run into that and let's hope that the president recovers, and this is probably a good time to transition to another sad story, a very, very sad story. Unfortunately, as everyone knows, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a lioness on the court, an incredible constitutional scholar and lawyer passed away. In so doing left a vacancy on the Supreme Court, which the president has nominated a replacement for.
Mario, do you have any thoughts on RBG that you'd like to share, I know that you follow the court very closely?
Just a tremendous history. Sh actually did some stuff in patent law, she's very well known for some of her work in patent law and civil rights. I mean, she did the sex discrimination case on behalf of a male. A lot of people forget that, that it was actually a male that she did her case for. She did some really landmark cases at a time where those things were coming out like hotcakes because of the civil rights movement and things of that nature.
I just think that she was a great contribution, a testimony to her desire and will, that's just in my opinion, how long she hung on for what little we know about how sick she was.
She was a fighter for sure.
Absolutely. I mean, she definitely tried to stay on it and be around because she could have easily just said, I'm done with this-
Well, and remember Mario, there were many, many people who wanted her to do that, when the Obama Administration was coming to a close for fear that she might pass away during another administration. She chose, which is her right, lifetime appointment but she chose to stay-
But I agree with that.
You agree with that choice?
I agree that if she wanted to stay, she should not allow the politics to drive her off the bench.
Agree. Totally her right.
[crosstalk 00:04:34] people on that bench with all kinds of political philosophies, a lot of people did not think Roberts would vote the way he voted. To say, hey, I'm going to give up when I don't want to give up because I'm that terrified of this person, putting somebody on the bench, it definitely shows a lack of faith in the system. It definitely shows how strong politics plays, we're trying to get somebody from a lifetime appointment to just step down, because you're scared about who someone else is going to choose for a position. But I don't blame her at all for staying on.
I have a different opinion, I think. I mean, she has a choice. It's her right. It's a lifetime appointment, she chose to complete it. That's her choice. That's her right. 100%. But when I hear her daughter communicate that her dying wish was that President Trump not be able to appoint her replacement, see that's where I have a problem. Because you know when you hang on-
You can't do that, yeah.
Right. That's my problem. [crosstalk 00:05:38].
It comes with the territory.
It's fine. It comes with the territory. So-
If you didn't want that, then just go ahead and retire.
So the Democrats, and so this is where I get a real problem as a liberal progressive because I don't want to feel this way, but I get angry because what happened to Merrick Garland when he was nominated to Supreme Court was wrong. It was wrong because the constitution is very clear about the president's power in this regard.
Barack Obama should have been able to nominate Merrick Garland, he should have had a vote. He should have had a vote. The fact that he didn't and the fact that the Republicans, I think, violated the constitution when they took that away from Obama is no reason to do it again. I've literally heard Democrats say, you know it was wrong when we did it to Garland but if it's good for Garland, it's good for Barrett. That's nonsense. That's ends justify the means philosophy. If someone does something bad, it's okay for me to do something bad. If you believe that, if you truly believe that, we have no rule of law. We have no rule of law.
So if the constitution says that the president has a right to appoint a justice, the President of the United States has appointed a justice, Amy Coney Barrett from the Seventh Circuit, Mario, should she receive the vote?
You know, objectively speaking on the matter based on other people who have received votes, I don't see how someone's going to justify keeping her off. In order to justify keeping her off you're going to have to do some serious, muzzling and you're going to probably have to try to destroy this woman's character. I'm not a fan of that.
I'm not a fan of that. So that's just not my thing. So barring anything that's outrageous, I don't see how she's going to stop being put on it, but you know.
No, I agree. I mean, it's going to take something crazy to be able to keep her from being confirmed, It's been pretty clear that she's going to get a vote.
What do you think of this jurist, Mario? I mean, she on the Seventh Circuit, so we do have an opportunity to see how she rules on things. She's pretty conservative. She's incredibly young, right?
Yeah, she is.
She's just not much older than me, which is scary. You know you're getting old when Supreme Court Justices are around the same age as you are. But no seriously like this is an impressive pick, don't you agree? Like her family is impressive. She looks like a person who really cares about her family and there's a lot of really cool stuff looking at. She seems like a quintessential American candidate to me, a nominee that people could get behind, even if you don't like our politics, which is the idea behind the appointment process and giving presidents the power to do that.
I guess I'm just trying to convince myself that I should think like most progressive's and imagine that we could keep her from getting a vote, somehow keep her off the court. But I just don't think that's right. I think that if there's a reason to vote her down, then we should, and I'm sure the senators will ask their questions and analyze that. But at the end of the day, not liking her positions on things isn't necessarily a reason to keep her from being able to get a vote up or down. Would you agree? I mean, I think she deserves it.
I don't really know much about her yet, I haven't read her opinions. I think she's she's pro-life right?
Yeah. I've been digging. Mario, I love to read cases, it's what I do. I will tell you that she's got some Fourth Amendment stuff that I actually really like and much like Neil Gorsuch She's got some immigration stuff that I absolutely am not a fan of, but then there is some that I am, but she did dissent on the Seven Circuit's opinion to uphold a preliminary injunction on the public charge rule for immigrants, which I find to be a real problem.
From a legal perspective, I don't agree with her, right. I don't agree with her on many, many things. But I do have to say again that, she is consistent and on Fourth Amendment issues there are worst judges out there.
Here's the thing, this actually brings up a good point about her, is a lot of people are single issue voters. So, you vote to something that's sensitive to you. For example, African-Americans, whoever deems Trump or racist or something, they're not going to vote for him. It doesn't matter what kind of money he's put in their pocket. The majority of just say, hey look, the racism thing, it touches me a certain way. I'm not voting for you. I'm not going to be on your side.
Same thing about abortion and pro-life, and pro-choice. Some people that issue me so much to them that, like you just talked about her stance on Fourth Amendment, her stance on freedom of speech, her stance on this. A lot of people would just say, I just want to know your stance really on this or if your stance on this particularly issue is this, then you just offended me or is something that's so sensitive to me that I'm just not going to put you in. That's, what's going to come out with this woman.
Let me tell you what Mario, all things being equal. I support this for a Supreme Court nominee. Can I tell you why?
There are a couple of cases that I think are important. I want people to understand. So there's a case called United States v. Watson it's a Seventh Circuit case back in 2018, and the police responded to an anonymous tip that people were playing with guns in the parking lot of a restaurant. When the police arrived they searched the defendant's vehicle, they took possession of two firearms and he was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
So the district court denied his motion to suppress and on appeal in a decision by this judge, she vacated and remanded. She said that the police lacked probable cause to search the vehicle based solely upon the tip. Think about that, Mario, when no crime was alleged. She said the police were right to respond to the anonymous call by coming to the parking lot to determine what was happening, but determining what was happening and immediately seizing people upon arrival are two different things and the latter was premature.
Now that is good Fourth Amendment case law from a jurist. It goes on United States v. Terry, 2019 out of the Seventh Circuit. She wrote a decision and what she did is she said that the court had ruled that the police had made an unreasonable assumption in assuming that a woman who answers the door in a bathrobe has the authority to consent to a search of a male suspect's residence. So she said, look, just because he had a young lady in a bathrobe doesn't mean that she has the authority to give you consent to search the residence. I know plenty of judges who wouldn't have given a crap and would have authorized that search. Again from a Fourth Amendment perspective, this is not a bad judge. It's not a bad judge.
But let me tell you even something cooler. She had a case in 19, Rainsberger v. Benner, and in an opinion written by her, she affirmed the district court's ruling that denied, denied, the police detectives motion for summary judgment and qualified immunity. She said, you know, this police detective knowingly provided false and misleading information and a probable cause affidavit that was used to obtain an arrest warrant against the plaintiff in that case. Now the charges were later dropped and he was released. The court found that his lies and emissions violated clearly established law and Barrett agreed. How many times have you seen jurists kick on qualified immunity cases that shouldn't be kicked Mario? Then further Howard v. Koeller. These are all cases in the last three years [crosstalk 00:00:13:45]-
Yeah I'm definitely have to read up on her a little bit to see what see's doing and saying.
You got to read these cases. Listen, Howard v. Koeller, 2018 Seventh Circuit case. The court found that qualified immunity did not protect a prison officer who had labeled a prisoner as snitch and exposed him to risk from his fellow inmates.
A pro-choice person could know all that and still just be like if you're pro-life, I'm not doing it.
Here's the thing I get that. I get it, you have a right to be a one issue voter, but folks, the Fourth Amendment is dying and qualified immunity is the knife that is being twisted into the bowels of us and our Fourth Amendment rights. We are losing everything because we have courts that do not believe that there is any restriction on what a police officer can do to you. We must have jurists, must have jurists to understand this. This woman is so far away from me on immigration it's not even funny, but guess what folks do you honestly think the second person that he nominates, if this person goes down is going to be any better on the Fourth Amendment, on qualified immunity? We just saw the Supreme Court kicked seven cases on qualified immunity. Guess which side she'll be on?
Because I already can tell you, she doesn't find qualified immunity cases where she doesn't overrule the qualified immunity. It's unbelievable. This is the kind of judge that's going to move us in the right direction on the Fourth Amendment. Unfortunately, it's just going to move us in the wrong direction, in my humble estimation, on other issues. But I knew that was going to happen if he was going to appoint a justice.
So I look at this and go, all things being equal, this is good because I can actually see something in this nominee that I'm excited about. You're not going to like everything about a person, a very young judge on the Supreme Court promises to change this country for a long time to come. But guess what? That's the reality. That's where we are and if we end up with a Supreme Court judge that thinks qualified immunity is BS, then I think on the balance of it, that's a win.
Why do you think that the justice has passed on qualified immunity, on ruling on it in such a time like this?
I think it's cost. I think it's cost and I think it's a feeling that the police state rules by power. I wrote in my book, which by the way, it comes out on October 29th, you should buy it, notfreeamerica.com. You can go buy the book there.
So in my book, Mario, I talk about how life in this country is kind of like being in a direct supervision model of a jail, where you have a small number of people who control a large number of people and the jail has a small number of guards that control a large number of inmates. In the United States, it's a small number of police, they control a large number of communities and some communities more than others. I think it's really about understanding, I think we all have to understand that this is about power and control. It isn't about accountability and it isn't about service, it isn't about protecting, it's about power and it's about control and that's why the police have no duty to protect you. They have no duty to intervene for you, but they will if you challenge their authority, they will if you challenge their control.
They might watch you get beaten, as we saw our client in Charlottesville who got beaten by white supremacists, while the police watched. They might as well have been popping popcorn, right? They didn't care. But let him challenge those police powers and he'll be bulleted with rubber bullets and tear guests. That's what the police state in this country does. It's not about keeping you safe folks, it's about keeping them safe and keeping them in power. Mario, we'll be right back. Thank you guys so much for being with us.
Welcome back to NFA Radio. Mike Donovan here, Mario Williams. Mario, we saw the culmination of the investigation and the Breonna Taylor killing that came through with an indictment against an officer for shooting into someone else's apartment. I guess that means that Breonna Taylor's life isn't worth even a mention in the indictment.
You give... What was it... $12 million settlement when nobody gets charged with a crime.
Let me say something about that. That officer that actually got charged, he got charged because he had absolutely no business with a handgun or any weapon because he lost his stuff and just started shooting everywhere. It goes back to the point that we talked about before: These cops have to get stress tests. You can pass all the firearm re-qualifications, but if you are under a tense situation and you can't recall that training, that is a problem.
This guy is just shooting out, going crazy shooting everywhere because he has no calm in a stressful time. Somehow, when you give someone a firearm... because they're not the military. Law enforcement in this country wants to believe they're the military. They want to shape a lot of their structure as the military, but you're not the military. You have to have some stress tests to see how these officers perform under stress with weapons.
I agree with you 100%, but I will say that if we want the police to stop acting like the military, we should stop dressing them like the military.
Oh, yeah. Absolutely.
We should stop giving them cars like the military. We should stop selling them military surplus because we are literally making them the military. Mario, let me ask you a question. When you think about it, the idea is that we're supposed to be free in this country. We're supposed to be free in this country, which means if you don't break the law, you're good. You can do whatever you want. The problem is that's not really true, is it?
In fact, the police are the ones who can do anything they want, and you can't even hold them accountable, unless you're fortunate enough to be in front of Amy Coney Barrett or whatever her name is, and then maybe you'll prevail on qualified immunity, but the reality is that qualified immunity separates police from everybody else because qualified immunity says that police can do whatever they want and not be held accountable for it, but it also allows the police to engage in incredibly overhanded and heavy conduct to mitigate a concern that they have about behavior that I would be engaged in. In other words, it isn't just unfair. It completely turns upside down the power structure and makes a very small minority of people, the police, incredibly powerful, and the vast majority of Americans, all of us, subject to their power.
Up until this year, Mario, it's never even been socially acceptable to say the words I just said. It probably still isn't, but more now than it was before. But the reality is that speaking against the police in this country is like speaking against the Pope in-
.. Vatican City.
Think about it. The value of the police union endorsement stem through politics has been huge.
That's one of the problems with the Breonna Taylor situation. We talked about this before, not understanding how charges and indictments are brought against law enforcement and how different that process is for bringing an indictment against a law enforcement officer versus me or you. Me or you did the same thing these law enforcement officers done, we would have been immediately charged with a crime, we would have been indicted.
The process is inherently flawed because the district attorney is the chief law enforcement officer in that county or region. That means they side with police. You have a situation where a whole system from beginning to end to allowing a law enforcement officer to come in there and testify unchallenged, fabricate whatever story they want to not allowing victims, parents, or witnesses to be in the actual grand jury, I mean, the whole process is flawed all the way back to, for example, in many states, the law enforcement officers don't even get charged with a crime, so it's never the State of Georgia versus Officer Mario Williams. It's just some DA going in there and saying, "Look, we didn't charge him with a crime."
First of all, the grand jury is going to be like, "Well, if they didn't charge with a crime, he must have not done a crime because I know normally you would charge a person with a crime." Then I said, "We're just here to give you an independent objective, look at the facts." Then you march a law enforcement officer in there that everyone wants to indicted, and he starts talking about his military history, his dedication to the country, and then distorting the facts because he knows he's not going to get cross-examined, and then you get a No Bill.
Now, is that typical when you are indicting someone? Is it typical to bring that person in front of the grand jury and let them talk to the grand jury?
Because I don't see-
... my understanding-
... that very often in criminal justice.
My understanding is not, but I know this: When the DOJ or other US attorney generals bring somebody in that's been a subject or target or whatever for indictment, they question that person because they're going for the indictment.
When most states, and most states that you use the grand jury process, which is many, most, you're exactly right, in many cases and in a federalist system, you do have a right to provide testimony to that grand jury if you happen to know that they're meeting and talking about you, I guess. You have a right to do that, but very rarely do people do it because very rarely do they know that they're being investigated by the grand jury, first of all, and more importantly, who would want to do that if you're being investigated by the grand jury? I mean, if there is any liability, you probably wouldn't want to go without a lawyer and talk to them.
But you can't. But the thing is you have to know about it. No one's going to tell you, and they sure aren't going to let you know before they indict you, so unless you find out about it, you're not going to be able to do that. But a police officer does, and police officer can, and the police officer doesn't even have to ask for it. They bring the police officer, and to your point, Mario, they say, "Grand jurors, we're just trying to get to the bottom of what happened here. I'm going to bring officer so-and-so in here, and you can ask him anything you want," but they're not going to ask... That prosecutor isn't going to get officer so-and-so in there and say, "You killed her. Didn't you?"
They're not going to do that. They're going to say-
There's no cross-examination.
That's right. "Tell us what happened, officer. Tell us what happened in your own words." That's what's going to happen. Those grand jurors are going to hear that officer, and they're going to see that prosecutor give him a pass. You know what they're going to do? They're going to give him a pass, just like the prosecutor did.
That's right. We forgot to mention the overcharging-
Oh, my god.
... charging things that you know on a... because, look, we talked about this. A lot of people will come in and say, "I believe this is wrong, but murder one requires X, Y, Z, and that's just not here. Can we charge him with... or her with something else?" "No, this is the only... " "Okay, then we have to let the person off."
I'll tell you something, Mario. I think the biggest problem I have with our criminal justice system in the United States of America particularly is it seems very political and it seems very much like it can be used to target people you don't like. We've seen this. We've seen this. The problem is that is so inherently corrupting that if this is in fact possible on such a wide scale, it is a sign of a broken system. We have a broken-
... system because there's nothing that prevents this from happening on a case by case basis. The fact is, folks, that if you want to get... If I kill somebody, if the rules are the same, if I get paid vacation when I kill somebody, and then a month or two months later, I get to walk into a grand jury and tell my side of the story without any negative questions, if that's how I'm treated as a criminal defendant, then treat the cops that way too. Everybody's the same.
By the way, I'm a liberty proponent. I think it should be very hard for the government to put you in jail. I think they should have to prove their case even more than beyond a reasonable doubt. I think... I'm a liberty proponent. But I'm saying if that's going to be the way it is, then that's the way it is for everybody. If everybody gets arrested when they kill someone, which is what happens in this country, if everybody who kills someone gets arrested, then a cop who kills someone should be arrested too.
Here's the thing, Mike. This is what I say. Law enforcement officer in a line of duty shoot somebody. They take his gun, union him up, give him a rep, all this stuff. The problem lies in not only not the initial charge because if we kill somebody under the same facts, we'd at least get arrested right on the spot. But let's just say you're a law enforcement officer [inaudible 00:09:48] line of duty. It's the subsequent investigation that [crosstalk 00:09:52]-
... any charges-
... because there's a big gap between the investigation and then going in front of an indictment. A lot of this stuff will hang out there for a year. It's during that time that people say, "Hey, you should have charged a person before going in for the indictment." That's the part people don't-
... understand. Charge a person. It's the State of New York versus Officer XYZ. What happens is that investigation, no matter what the findings are, no matter if the DA says, "Oh, I got easily enough to charge to the officer because I really think I could prove this case," would never put the charge on will allow the person to go into the grand jury with no charges.
It's not the State of New York versus Officer XYZ. It's just, "We're just going to present this evidence to you and let the officer talk, and you make your choice."
What you're saying, Mario, is that if I kill somebody, then it's the Commonwealth of Virginia versus Michael Donovan, right?
Then when I go to the grand jury, six months later, it's still the Commonwealth of Virginia versus Michael Donovan, right?
What you're saying with the police is they don't charge them, so there is no Commonwealth of Virginia vs. Dirty Cop. When the officer, six months later, goes before the grand jury, what you're saying is the absence of a charge, the absence of an underlying arrest changes that grand jury's perspective about the potential guilt or the probable cause determination for that crime. Is that what you're saying because I think that makes sense. I think if you-
That's absolutely what happens. It plays a significant role. It plays a tremendous, tremendous role in how you're viewing a situation. I mean, we all know this saying, well, at least if you're in my age group, a district attorney can indict a ham sandwich. That's how easy it is to get an indictment once-
... you have a charge on you. Then why is it so hard to get an indictment against a law enforcement officer if you can indict a ham sandwich? It's because of the process, and people don't understand the process. They think, "Oh, the whole grand jury was racist or something." They don't understand that there's so much stacked up against not charging that officer that by the time evidence is presented to the grand jury and the officer speaks, and whoever on his behalf, the people you're going to get a handful of people just say, "This just doesn't... " Then you include the overcharge. They're just like, "Well, this doesn't work."
I hear you on that. I do. Well, let me ask you a question. How do you juxtapose that with the 20-some odd people that said in that Breonna Taylor grand jury in Kentucky and then decided not to indict? I mean, I don't understand that. I can't-
Oh, they should have indicted, no problem. That's a whole nother issue. One issue is just having the card stacked in favor of law enforcement. The other issue is just the-
... downright arrogance and stupidity and ignorance of people who can't see the wrong of Breonna Taylor to give an... People have to understand, an indictment is just saying, "Hey, you got to let a jury decide your guilt or innocence." Even though it sounds bad and you hear on TV, indicted... and nobody wants to be indicted of a crime, obviously... it doesn't mean that the ball game's over. It's just saying, "Hey, I'm the district attorney. I believe there's enough here to take to a jury and figure out if this person is guilty or not."
Here's where it's interesting, I think, Mario, because you're in my perspective as often happens, is unison until it differs, but it differs at some point. In my estimation, I actually think that everybody should have... and I think it should be very hard to indict people, and I think it should be very... I think it should be similarly hard to indict everyone as it is to indict the police, but you know how I feel about the criminal justice system. I think it's incredibly onerous, and I think it's horrible to put someone through that process. I would personally vote for everybody having the cop benefit. If everybody gets the benefit of the doubt, but the cop that cop gets, I'm good.
You show up. There's a drive-by shooting. You pull the guy over who shot four blocks later. You tell him... You walk up to him just like that captain did to the Atlanta officer that shot that gentlemen at the Wendy's, and you say, "Don't worry, buddy. We're going to make this okay for you. Don't be nervous. It's going to be okay. You're going to go home. Don't worry about that guy. We'll figure it out."
That doesn't happen. If that happened, then I would be 100% okay with the police getting treated the same way. Before you sit there at home and say, "How could you say that?" do you really want a cop who busts into a person's home and shoots a small child in the corner when he was trying to shoot the family pet and gets qualified immunity for that? He doesn't get indicted for that. You want that guy to be able to go back to work the next day with a badge and a shield in a gun?
I'd be getting paid while I'm-
And get paid.
... at work. [crosstalk 00:15:01]-
What on earth?
... getting paid while you're not working.
It's the most disgusting thing. [crosstalk 00:15:07]-
Well, let me say this.
Let me say this, Mike.
I agree with you that indictment should be very hard to get. The reality though is, is that they're very easy to get against you and I-
... and almost impossible to get against a law enforcement officer no matter what the evidence.
Yeah. You're exactly right, and you and I agree that the disparity is wrong. Where we might differ a little bit is I'd like to take everybody to the left a little bit and say, "Hey, we're all just going to live in this world where we have a liberty interest, and if you screw up, it's going to be really hard to indict you." But you and I can both agree that the least of these shouldn't apply to the police.
I'm an owner of a company. Mario, you own a law firm. We both are responsible for motivating people. If you continue to employ, and in fact, gave paid vacation to every lawyer and support staff member in your firm that screwed something up, and you did it more for the people who screwed up more, do you honestly expect you'd breed a culture of accountability, or do you think you might breed a culture where everybody screws up because that's what's going to happen, and that's what we've done in the police state in this country. Then we scratch our heads and wonder, "Why is it so bad?"
Are you serious? We have allowed this to be bad because we've allowed the police to operate with impunity, and we've allowed the police arrogance... You said it Mario, arrogance. It's arrogance that says that I am more important than you, my life matters more than yours, my bias, my ignorance matters more than you do. That's the message from the police state in the United States of America every single day. You know it's true. We all know it's true. Mario, isn't it time we do something about it. I don't know what-
... that is. We got to figure it out. We're not going to figure it out today because we're out of time, but we will be here next week. Please join us. Notfreeamerica.com. Let us know if you need help with civil rights. Please buy my book. It's an awesome book. You'll love it. I promise you. Thank you so much for being with us this week, and we will see you next week. Take care, folks.