One might think that MSNBC might give Rev. Al Sharpton the day off when the hot topic is protesters burning down buildings. In 1995, Sharpton's protest against the "white interloper" who ran Freddy's Fashion Mart in Harlem led to a fire where seven people died of smoke inhalation (and the arsonist shot himself).
Discussing the rioting in Minneapolis on today's Morning Joe, Al Sharpton began by telling protesters that the goal of a fair criminal justice system wouldn't be achieved by "appearing" to be criminal themselves. He warned that people would "exploit" that. A clearly upset Sharpton then said:
"As I walked around Minneapolis yesterday . . . some of the stores that are being damaged are black-owned stores! So we cannot become so reckless that we are destroying each other in our rage. "
Would Sharpton be less upset, and the rioters less "reckless," if only non-black-owned stores were destroyed? What happened to "we're all in this together?" Or is that only for pandemics?
BONUS COVERAGE: NBC Reporter Says 'All' Protesters He Interviewed Oppose Violence
Also on Morning Joe, reporting from Minneapolis, NBC's Shaquille Brewster said that "all" of the protesters he interviewed oppose violence. All? Brewster needs to get around more.
Brewster also said that his crew had "planned to be at the 3rd Precinct, where the fire happened." The fire "happened?" Another regrettable case of spontaneous combustion?
Here's the transcript.
6:09 am EDT
AL SHARPTON: The question now is how you deal with that outrage to where you get the results you’re looking for, which is a fair criminal justice system. And you don’t do it by appearing to be criminal yourself. We are not the ones that inflict the pain. We are the ones that have been pained.
And our reaction must show that, and highlight that. Otherwise, people will exploit that and change the focus into demonizing those that conduct themselves in a violent way, rather than those that are saying, as the Floyd family is saying, we want justice. They’ve said very clearly — I’ve talked to the Floyd family, and they’ve said very clearly and publicly: we want to see justice. We understand the outrage, but we do not want to see violence.
The other thing I might add here, Joe, is that as I walked around Minneapolis yesterday with Ms. Carr [mother of Eric Garner] and some of the ministers and elected officials, some of the stores that are being damaged are black-owned stores! So we cannot become so reckless that we are destroying each other in our rage.