CNN’s Brooke Baldwin Blames Veterans Becoming Police Officers for Baltimore Violence [UPDATED]

April 28th, 2015 5:46 PM

UPDATE, 04/29/15, 5:00 p.m. Eastern: In addition to an appearance on CNN’s New Day Wednesday morning, Brooke Baldwin apologized on her own show CNN Newsroom hours later for her comments from Tuesday about police officers who were U.S. military veterans being a cause of violence between law enforcement and civilians. 


UPDATE, 8:50 p.m. Eastern: Following continued pressure from critics and those on Twitter, Baldwin issued a direct apology to veterans with this tweet:


CNN’s Brooke Baldwin suggested during the Tuesday afternoon edition of CNN Newsroom 
that U.S. military veterans who become police officers were to blame for the recent string of violence involving police officers in that they return home “from war” and are “ready to do battle.”

While speaking with Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings (Md.), Baldwin recalled a conversation with a Baltimore City councilman about police officers not living “in the communities” they represent when she remarked that: “I love our nation's veterans, but some of them are coming back from war, they don't know the communities, and they're ready to do battle.”

Earlier in the segment, Baldwin advanced an argument recently made by a New Republic editor that “Americans are becoming desensitized” to “these videos of young black men being killed” and thus we should ensure that “we stop and....have this national conversation” about African-American deaths which leads to “actual change.”

Since her remarks, Baldwin backtracked slightly with the following tweet in which she claimed that she was merely repeating someone else’s opinion on the matter: 

Needless to say, regardless of whether or not the opinion was truly hers, the fact that Baldwin made the argument on the air opens herself up for criticism and contributes little to the discussion as the city continues to clean up after Monday's riots.

(h/t: Washington Free Beacon)

The relevant portions of the transcript from CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin on April 28 can be found below.

CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin
April 28, 2015
3:25 p.m. Eastern

BROOKE BALDWIN: I was talking to an editor with The New Republic, Jamil Smith, and he wrote a whole piece about how, week after week after week, we keep seeing these videos of young black men being killed and his fear is that young Americans are becoming desensitized. He wants to make sure that, after every time we see these tragedies, that we stop and you, being a congressman, we have this national conversation, but then people such as yourself make sure there is actual change. Where is the change? 


BALDWIN: I'm sick of talking about this. 

CUMMINGS: Well, I agree. I'm sick of talking about it, too and that's why a week ago, at Howard University, Republicans and Democrats joined together from the Senate and the House and began to talk about the various types of legislation we are proposing – 

BALDWIN: Like what? 

CUMMINGS: Like the Camera Act. Making sure that the police have cameras. Making sure that we have good statistics with regard to the deaths that come to individuals while being arrested or in custody of police. Looking at our grand jury system and looking at the whole issue of sentencing. One of the reasons why people are so angry, they – I know of people sitting in prison right now for selling marijuana when you can go to Colorado, and they sell thousands of dollars worth –

BALDWIN: I have had that conversation, sir, on my show last week. People are furious and then the question comes, when it perhaps even becomes legalize nationwide, what about all these people who are serving time for selling it?


BALDWIN: I mean, we talk about training, we talk about having officers – I was talking to the city councilman last week who was saying, Brooke, these people have to live in the communities. There's no emotional or there’s a lack of emotional investment and a lot of these young people – I mean, I've been talking about there so much. A lot of young people – and I love our nation's veterans, but some of them are coming back from war, they don't know the communities, and they're ready to do battle.

CUMMINGS: Yeah, they definitely need training, better training. They need better recruitment and that's why I've been asking DOJ to come in and do a pattern and practice investigation, somewhat similar to the one done in Ferguson. We really need to look at our police department from top to bottom and bottom to top, to figure out exactly what is being done wrong. Keep in mind, some of these problems are systemic. You know, we have rules, but when the rules are broken, for example, not seat belting in a man who was arrested – 

BALDWIN: In a prison transport van. Right. 

CUMMINGS: Or not given medical attention, there are rules already to that. So, that makes you wonder, well, how is the system failing? We've got work to do. 

BALDWIN: Congressman, I hope I don't have to talk to you any time soon over this, but I wish you luck hopefully enacting some of that change because people are obviously incredibly frustrated. Thank you very much. 

CUMMINGS: Thank you very much.