While discussing the fatal police shooting of Rayshard Brooks Monday morning on CNN, political commentator Angela Rye gave some dangerous advice to black people “fighting back” against police officers.
On CNN’s New Day, co-host Jim Sciutto posed to Rye that this was a case of police failing to “de-escalate” a situation, despite video footage showing the officers did not act aggressively until Mr. Brooks resisted arrest after nearly thirty means of talking calmly. In the scuffle, Brooks grabbed the taser and punched one officer before running away. Rye added to the misinformation by falsely claiming that being drunk was what cost this man his life:
“This man is sitting in a parking lot asleep because he had too many drinks, and he lost his life. That is not a reason to cause someone's life,” Rye ranted before adding that she didn’t want to talk about police training but “defunding” police because black people are being killed by police for no reason. That’s when co-host Alisyn Camerota pushed back, pointing out the differences between this case and George Floyd’s:
“In this case there was a potentially dangerous crime. He was drunk driving,” Camerota noted but that upset Rye. She cut in to insist that resisting arrest and taking a police weapon is justified if you’re black because it's a matter of self-defense:
That man was asleep in a car parking lot. He ran and he realized that his life was at risk. That is why he took that taser. He was trying to fight back because every time we don't fight back we die. I don't want to take away the chief's time but please don't paint it that way. That is not fair.
Camerota pushed back on some of what Rye was misrepresenting before getting input from her other guest:
Let's just be clear about the facts. He was in a drive-through lane, so cars were having to go around him. So he didn't just go to a parking lot and fall asleep because nobody would have called the police if that had happened….That first police officer that approached him, there's 27 minutes where that police officer is -- I hear patience.
While both of the CNN guests and Camerota’s co-host Jim Sciutto rested their arguments on the notion that Brooks did “not have a deadly weapon,” they failed to acknowledge that if the officer was incapacitated by having a taser used against him, his gun could be taken. But CNN was more interested in giving a platform to commentators who want to stoke a race war with their incendiary commentary. They proved that by going to Stacey Abrams right after this. Abrams also falsely claimed that Brooks was killed for being drunk in a Wendy's drive through, and she justified the “legitimacy” of Wendy’s being burned down in response to his death, while on ABC yesterday.
Camerota brought up the same point to Abrams. On CNN, Abrams actually argued there was no justified reason for police to use deadly force against a black man or woman:
He did not have a deadly weapon and that's exactly the point. Any time we're attempting to justify the murder of a man because he had- number one, because he embarrassed the police by taking their taser, and two, because he was running on foot, that we decide that it is worth killing him. Every moment of justification is a moment of dehumanization. That's the problem. Let's not get distracted. The distraction that happens is that we try to find reasons that murder is acceptable when a black man or a black woman is the victim and that should not happen...
Read a partial transcript, below:
CNN's New Day
JIM SCIUTTO: Angela Rye, this gets to a larger issue of deescalation, does it not? Because in the wake of other shootings like this going back years that's become more of an emphasis in police training so that you don’t rise to the level of deadly force or near deadly force immediately. The focus is on finding a more peaceful way to resolve these things, particularly when it starts as it did here. They knew for instance that he did not have a deadly weapon on. What does that show about what the attempted changes so far have failed to do, right? A lot of cities have boosted training, thrown a lot of money at training, but it doesn't seem to be netting the desired effect!
RYE: Yeah, I have to say, Jim, this is so crushing to watch because what we did not see in the clip that was just shown is the amount of time taken by Rayshard to communicate what he had been doing, how many drinks he believed he had. There are countless people who are stopped for DUIs every year in jurisdictions all over this country, and yet that is not an offense that should cost someone's life, particularly when they were trying to sleep it off, particularly when someone says that I can just walk home from here. I was leaving my daughter's birthday party. I think that the frustration that I have is this after the justice and policing act was introduced by members of the caucus where I used to work. This is after data is collected, and by the way, as we talk about the jurisdictions that don't report data to doj, we're talking about data that would be another death, another person's life. We're talking about data that would be another instance or incident of abuse by an officer. What I do not want to do is get to the point where we continue to be desensitized to the actions taken by police that are different, different applications placed on how someone looks, based on someone's race. Dylann roof was able to be driven away after killing several people at bible study to go get food, and this man is sitting in a parking lot asleep because he had too many drinks, and he lost his life. That is not a reason to cause someone's life.
I don't want to talk about the data and I don't want to talk about the ways in which we can de-escalate. I want to talk about the ways in which black people can survive in this country when they may not be perfect, and we don't even need to talk about martyrdom, we’re just talking about the ability to survive, to live another day, to take care of their families, to go home and say hello to their neighbors. This is past trying to adjust a system that is so broken, it cannot see me or my brother or my father or my godsons as deserving to walk away from something that is not even a crime scene. This is where we have to begin this conversation. We cannot remove the emotion, the passion we must have for human life away from these things. I will not walk away from George Floyd or Breonna Taylor. We're talking about this as Breonna Taylor's killers are still on administrative leave and not arrested. This is a bridge too far, it’s time for not just reform or deescalation. It's time to talk about defunding in a real way. We have re-imagine safer community. We are not safe. We are not.
CAMEROTA: Angela, we hear your passion. I mean we understand everything that’s the past three e weeks but that people like you and so many of our guests feel have been going on for so many years and falling on deaf years for so many decades, centuries. But at the same time, Chief, I don't want to paint with so broad a brush stroke that we see this case as exactly the same as George Floyd. George Floyd was in handcuffs, he was on the ground, he was under an officer's knee for almost nine minutes. In this case there was a potentially dangerous crime. He was drunk driving. I guess what I see --
RYE: He was parking--Alisyn, that’s not fair! The man was asleep in the parking lot. He ran and he realized that his life was at risk. That is why he took that taser. He was trying to fight back because every time we don't fight back we die. I don't want to take away the chief's time but please don't paint it that way. That is not fair.
CAMEROTA: Angela -- let's just be clear. Let's just be clear about the facts. He was in a drive-through lane, so cars were having to go around him. So he didn't just go to a parking lot and fall asleep because nobody would have called the police if that had happened. He was in a drive through lane and so people kept having to honk and go around him. And Angela, I mean, let's just be clear about everything that we see so that we can have a real conversation about this. What I see and I do want the chief's take on it, that first police officer that approached him, there's 27 minutes where that police officer is -- I hear patience. I hear him saying hey bud, can you move over? Are you okay? You're in the drive-through lane. Is everything okay? How much have you had to drink? And We hear, as so often in these cases with drunk driving first he gives different accounts of how much he's had to drink, different accounts of whose car it is, different accounts of where he was going. All of that stuff, that's standard, I understand that, but chief, that police officer who tried to get him to move over, who tried to just find out the story, should he be charged with something, the one who didn't fire the deadly shots?