During Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe program, Joe Scarborough asserted that if he behaved like 18-year-old Michael Brown did during the August 9 incident in Ferguson, Mo., a police officer would have reacted the same way Darren Wilson did even though the co-host is “a white guy.”
“There are two criminal justice systems in America,” Scarborough claimed at the start of the segment. “Black young men especially are not only treated worse on the street, they're treated worse in the court system, they're treated worse all the way through. What white kids get away with, black kids don't get away with.”
After admitting that race “is an element” of the situation, the co-host stated that “if what's in the grand jury report is true," then “if I confronted a cop, a New York cop in Staten Island, and the cop said, 'Get out of the street,' and I said, 'No,' and I started swearing at him. I went up, and I started punching him and I started grabbing for his gun, does anybody think I would not be treated” the same way Michael Brown was?
“Because I will tell you, cops are jerks to everybody when you don't do what cops tell you to do,” he added.
Scarborough then turned to Steve Rattner, a former treasury official “who has lived in New York for a while,” and asked: “What would a New York City cop do to me, a white guy?”
“Well, at that point in time,” Rattner said, “probably exactly what [Wilson] did, which is to try to recover his gun,” which “went off” during the struggle.
“But I think there are two other pieces to this,” the analyst noted. “One is that you are a big guy; Brown was a big guy” -- both 6'4”-- “and it's a little different than if it was me or … somebody else was in a fight with a cop, if I had a guy coming at me, I'd be scared.”
“I agree with that, too,” Scarborough said before co-host Mika Brzezinski referred to the policeman as “a big guy, too.”
“Fair enough,” Rattner responded, “but the second [and] of course critical part happened later, when Brown ran away and then turned and ran back at him, and that's when of course the fatal shot was fired.”
“We can agree, though, that the makeup of the Police Department and just the system itself and even some of the officials involved -- if this officer is completely clean and if he didn’t do what he says he didn’t do -- the system was set up to fail him,” Brzezinski said.
“Because it was so flawed, millions of people are going to have a hard time ever believing him,” she noted.
As NewsBusters previously reported, today's program wasn't the first time Scarborough made inflammatory remarks on the issue of race. On March 21, 2012, the co-host branded George Zimmerman a “murderer,” an accusation for which he later declined to apologize because he was currently not holding a government office.
However, Scarborough apparently failed to learn his lesson since on Monday morning, he attempted to contrast the Michael Brown case with that of Trayvon Martin.
In Ferguson, “we don't know the evidence," he said. Whereas in the Trayvon Martin case, Scarborough asserted: "You had a guy chase a guy around a neighborhood and shoot him because he was black."
On November 7, Scarborough agreed with journalist John Hellemann that Republicans should ignore conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh and instead “work with the president and meet in the middle” regarding illegal immigration.
And there are times when Morning Joe guests slam the GOP with no rebuttal from the so-called "Republican" co-host.
One such incident took place on the day before the midterm elections, when regular analyst Donny Deutsch asserted that if the Republicans were to take the Senate and gain seats in the House of Representatives, “this is going to be the best thing to ever happen to Barack Obama” since “it might wake him up and re-energize him during his last two years” in the White House.
Nevertheless, Scarborough occasionally strays into promoting conservative ideals and rational discussion, and today's comments are one of these times. Let's hope we get more such remarks in the future.