Radio talk show host Tavis Smiley was on The O’Reilly Factor to discuss the decision of the grand jury in New York to not indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo for the chokehold death of Eric Garner.
O’Reilly sympathized with Garner’s family and others distraught over his death, calling it “troubling” and insisting that all lives matter. However, O’Reilly refused to agree with Smiley that police officers are targeting blacks.
Likewise, Smiley did not concur with O’Reilly’s speculation that, had Garner been white, the grand jury would have come to the same conclusion. Smiley argued that because Garner was black, the officer was not indicted (although he did lose his shield and gun for violating department policy).
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O’Reilly then countered Tavis Smiley’s blanket statement about black victims being targeted by white cops by offering statistics regarding the total number of deaths of blacks at the hands of the police versus the number for white victims.
Still, Smiley pushed back.
“There is no respect for the humanity and the dignity for black life in this country,” Smiley said.
- Police shot and killed 471 people in 2012
- 123 of them were black
- 326 were white
- Police killings of blacks are down 70% in last 50 years
- In 2013, blacks committed 5,375 murders
- In 2013, whites committed 4,396 murders
- Whites are 63% of population, while blacks are 13%
O’Reilly attempted to explain the conclusions one can draw from those statistics, but Smiley would have none of it.
“Three times as many whites are shot dead by police than blacks,” O’Reilly responded. “I don’t think it’s hunting down blacks.”
“Bill, there are more white folk in this country than there are black, although not for too much longer,” Smiley said. “I think there’s a message here tonight that most Americans see, that it is open hunting season on black men.”
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Do you agree with Tavis Smiley that blacks are being “hunted” by police?
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