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Rep Maxine Waters Calls for Action at Daunte Wright Protest in Brooklyn Center

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Congresswoman Maxine Waters told reporters protesters have to “get more active” and “more confrontational” during an appearance at a protest for Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on April 17.

“This is a very difficult time in the history of this country,” Waters said at the protest. “We have to persist in calling for justice. We have to let people know we’re not going to be satisfied unless we get justice in these cases.”

In response to a question from reporters regarding her advice for protesters Waters said, “We’ve got to stay on the streets and we’ve got to get more active. We’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know we mean business.”

Waters said she did not hear the original question, which asked what protesters should do if Derek Chauvin is acquitted in the death of George Floyd, and asked for it to be repeated. The question was shortened to “What should protesters do?”

According to local and state officials, approximately 100 protesters remained on site at 11:30 pm, 30 minutes after the curfew was in effect on Saturday.

“I don’t know what curfew means,” Waters said in response to the city’s curfew. “Curfew means that ‘I want you all to stop talking, I want you to stop leading’. I’m hopeful that the protest will continue.” Credit: Status Coup/Jon Farina via Storyful

Video Transcript

- (CHANTING) -- matter here. Black lives, they matter here. Black lives, they matter here. Black lives, they matter here. Black lives, they matter here.

- What would you like to see happen this week? This has really been--

REP. MAXINE WATERS: Well, this is a-- this is a very difficult time in the history of this country. Despite the fact that we know that our people of color have been killed too often. Unarmed young men, in particular Black men, have been killed. And we know that we are now coming to the end of the George Floyd trial and that I suppose the closing arguments are going to be made on that case coming Monday.

And we're really just almost at the beginning of what is happening with our young men, Daunte Wright, who was killed. And that we have to persist in calling for justice. We have to let people know that we're not going to be satisfied unless we get justice in these cases. And so I just could not sleep. I could not rest.

I could not be satisfied without coming here to let the family know and the friends know and the people of this community know and all those who have organized for justice know that I stand with you. And I'm going to stand not only with you but continue to fight in every way that I can for justice. For justice.

- What's your opinion of the police reform efforts that are being discussed right here? And do you think that any of them have any hope of being enacted through maybe this Congress?

REP. MAXINE WATERS: Well, I am not happy that talked about police reform for so long. And it's not only this piece of legislation. But it's been years. I confronted the police Chief Daryl Gates in Los Angeles years ago about the killing of Eulia Love and about the chokehold and about all of that. We have been fighting for so many years for reform, reform, reform. And so, yes, I would like to see the bill in Congress pass on police reform.

But I know that the right wing, the racists, are opposed to it. And I don't know what's going to happen to it. But I know this. We have got to stay in the streets. And we have got to, we have got to demand justice.

- As a Black man, despite all of the efforts, I feel like nothing changes. And George Floyd has wakened so many people up. Yet nothing has happened, just-- you know, despite the rhetoric. Like, what, what needs to happen that's different this year than all the years before?

REP. MAXINE WATERS: We're looking for a guilty verdict. We are looking for a guilty verdict. And we are looking to see if all of this talk that took place and has been taking place after they saw what happened to George Floyd-- if nothing does not happen, then we know that we have got to not only stay in the street but we have got to fight for justice. But I am very hopeful. And I hope that we are going to get a verdict that will say guilty, guilty, guilty. And if we don't, we cannot go away.

- And not just manslaughter, right? I mean--

REP. MAXINE WATERS: Oh no, not manslaughter. No, no, no. This is, this is guilty for murder. I don't know whether it's in the first degree, but as far as I'm concerned, it's first-degree murder.

- Ms. Congresswoman, what happens if we do not get, get what you just told us. What should the people do? What should protesters in the street do?

REP. MAXINE WATERS: I didn't hear you.

- What--

- What should protesters do?

REP. MAXINE WATERS: Well, we got to stay on the street. And we've got to get more active, we've got to get more confrontational. You've got to make sure that they, they know that we mean business.

- What do you think about this curfew tonight?

REP. MAXINE WATERS: I don't think anything about this. I don't think anything about a curfew. I don't know what curfew means. Curfew means that I want you all to stop talking. I want you to stop meeting. I want you to stop [INAUDIBLE].

- Are you going to stay out here?

REP. MAXINE WATERS: Oh no, I'm not going to stay out here. I came here from Washington just to be here, to make sure that I let my voice be heard among all of those who have been putting so much time on the streets. And so I'm hopeful that the protests will continue.

- Thank you, Maxine.

- Where does police accountability come from?

REP. MAXINE WATERS: Well, I want to tell you that the mayors and city council peoples, commissioners all over this country, have got to rein in the police. They had their budgets they get for overtime pay. They make sure that they have terrific benefits. They can cut all of that up. And so it is up to the local city council members, the police chiefs-- not the police chiefs, because the police chiefs are mostly intimidated by the police unions.

And so it is the elected officials who have got to rein in the police.

- Congresswoman, do you support getting rid of the police? Completely abolishing them? A lot of people want to abolish the police [INAUDIBLE].

REP. MAXINE WATERS: You have got to make sense out of it. And what you've got to say is we've got to rethink what policing is. We've got to really decide what we really need. If you have people on the streets who may have mental problems, who are compromised mentally, they don't need a police. What they need is a, a psychiatrist. They need social workers. They need others who can deal with this issue, and so we've got to reimagine what policing is all about. Right now, it doesn't work.

- What's your message to young Black people in this community that live and work here in Brooklyn-- parts of Brooklyn Center.

REP. MAXINE WATERS: My message to young Black people is this: that we know that there is a lot of unfairness in the system. We know that oftentimes young Black people are stopped. They are searched. They are not treated fairly. And they stand to lose their rights. And they've got to know that there are people who understand this, who will stand with them, and who will fight for them, who love them and who tell them we're not going to stop until we get justice in this country.

- Yes.

- Yes, we love you.

- Thank you, Maxine.

- Thank you.

[APPLAUSE]

- That was Maxine Waters.

- [INAUDIBLE]

- Like, I literally aspire to be in your position right now. This means so much to me that you are here today. I really appreciate it.

REP. MAXINE WATERS: Well, I want you to do what is [INAUDIBLE]. Get elected to office!

- Thank you. I'm [INAUDIBLE]. She said get elected to office. That's all I got to hear. That's all I needed to hear. Thank you.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]