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While speaking Sunday morning with Fox News host Chris Wallace, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was repeatedly peppered with questions that were typical of an anti-Trump administration, anti-conservative anchor.
For instance, Wallace brought up the fatal police shooting of a black suspect in Atlanta. But why would he bring that up with someone who works for HUD, not the Department of Justice? Nevertheless, Wallace wondered whether the shooting was justified.
“Was it appropriate to use deadly force against someone whose original offense was that he sleep asleep at the drive-through lane at a Wendy’s?” he asked.
Carson replied that he’s not sure and made it clear an investigation would be needed.
Listen via FNC’s “Fox News Sunday” (disable your adblocker if the video doesn’t appear):
Just to be clear, the question itself was nonsense.
What actually happened is that local authorities were called to the Wendy’s late Friday after receiving complaints from customers about a black man hard asleep at the wheel while parked in the restaurant’s drive-through lane.
After the suspect, Rayshard Brooks, failed a sobriety test, the officers tried to arrest him, but he fled, stole a taser and then fired that taser at them. In response, the officers shot and killed him. It’s not clear why these details were ignored by Wallace.
With the shooting out of the way, Wallace then turned his attention to the main topic of the day — alleged racial inequality in law enforcement.
“Is there a racial problem with policing in black neighborhoods?” he said.
The FNC host then displayed charts showing that black suspects face a disproportionate “use of force” from the police than white suspects, but failed to mention that statistical disparities don’t prove racism.
After displaying the charts, he asked an extremely personal question.
“You have three sons. Honestly, have you or your wife Candy, have you ever had what’s called ‘the talk’ with any of your sons about how to act, how to conduct yourselves when you’re confronted by a policeman,” he said to Carson.
“I had the same talk with them that my mother had with me and my brother,” the HUD secretary replied. “I told them that we should always respect the positions of authority like the police. I told my son the same thing. And I’ve never had a problem, they’ve never had a problem.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean racist cops don’t exist. They do, and it’s important reforms be pursued to ensure these cops are outed and removed.
“We need to look at appropriate reforms, and this is probably a good time to shine a spotlight on it and get it done,” Carson explained. “And I think that’s one of the things that the president’s made very clear.”
He added that he’s confident President Donald Trump will take care of this problem just like he took care of problems concerning the criminal justice system.
This prompted Wallace to point out that he’s white.
“As a white person, my parents never had that discussion about the police with me, and I never felt the need to have it with any of my children,” he said.
The discussion then pivoted to proposals by House Democrats to ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, institute a national police misconduct registry and limit police immunity.
“Do you expect the president to support those three ideas?” Wallace asked.
Carson replied by saying that while there’s interest in pursuing reform, steps must be taken to ensure the reforms don’t backfire.
“I expect the president and the administration to engage appropriate stakeholders and to look at everything,” he said. “And obviously, we do not want to create a situation where the police are under the microscope and that they don’t want to do their job because they’re afraid. That’s not going to be useful.”
Indeed. Just last week one Tulsa police officer wrote a powerful column warning that the pressure they’re already feeling is driving some of them to leave the force.
Wallace then confronted Carson about the disagreement between congressional Republicans and the president over the renaming of bases.
“Many of the bases were named after Confederate generals as a conciliatory movement after the war,” Carson argued. “To now change that would be having exactly the opposite effect.”
“We have to recognize that we have a history, and to hide that history is probably not a smart move. Smart people, wise people use their history in order to improve. Other kinds of people try to bury their history.”
The discussion concluded with Wallace asking Carson about whether it’s “safe” for the president to hold rallies amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“It will be done in conjunction with public health authorities, and it will be done according to the way they have prescribed,” Carson replied.
“As far as the virus is concerned, we have two choices. we can allow it to dominate us, or we can learn as much as we can about it, and we can learn how to live with it in a safe, prescribed manner. And I think the second option is the that’s going to be adopted.”
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