On Friday's The Beat on MSNBC, host Ari Melber claimed that the media do not spend enough time on stories of excessive force committed by police officers as his panel that included rapper Vic Mensa and conservative commentator Bill Kristol all seemed to prejudge Sacramento police officers as having behaved improperly in the shooting death of 22-year-old Stephon Clark.
No one mentioned that the police were pursuing him because they had reason to believe -- including infrared footage from a police helicopter -- that he had just perpetrated several acts of vandalism and robbery, or that Clark has a criminal history that includes domestic abuse and robbery.
During the show's regular "Fall Back Friday" segment which invites panel members to criticize someone in the news they believe has acted inappropriately, Mensa brought up the police shooting story: "I'm going with the Sacramento police department after shooting the man unarmed in his backyard."
He then suggested without any evidence that the police officers had not received enough training:
It just seems like they need more training -- they need more accountability. I mean, I'm over here, my foot is kind of broken right now because I got in a motorcycle crash, and I did my two days of motorcycle training, you know, but things can still go wrong. Seems like maybe they're not even doing two days of motorcycle training.
The rapper added: "The things you have to go through in our country, the things you have to go through just to get on a bike compared to what you have to go through to own a weapon where you can kill other people as opposed to just being a danger to yourself."
Melber then jumped in to voice agreement and to criticize the press for not giving more attention to police violence:
I think that makes a lot of sense, and we cover these stories, but, lately, any viewer of, I think, any news program knows the rate at which we're covering some of these what appear to be excessive force killings and shootings is less, but the rate that they're occurring in the United States has not dropped much, and so that's also, I think, to some degree, a statement about the press.
Notably, last August when shocking video was released of a black police officer being shot and wounded by a suspect, demonstrating just how much police officers can have to fear from suspects attacking them quickly, according to a Nexis search, Melber demonstrated no interest in showing it to his viewers even as all three of the broadcast networks gave some level of attention to it.
Kristol as the sole conservative on the panel then joined in the prejudging of the officers as he commented:
I think that's a good one actually. I was shocked when I saw the video of the Sacramento shooting, and, you know, cops have tough jobs -- you don't want to second guess them, and obviously mistakes can happen, but I don't know -- a 22-year-old guy with a cell phone in his own backyard, right, or his grandmother's backyard or something. That's terrible.