Fox News contributors Dan Bongino and Geraldo Rivera engaged in an uncharacteristically fiery and personal exchange while discussing what appears to be an accidental fatal shooting of a black suspect by a white female police officer in a suburb of Minneapolis on Sunday.
The two appeared on “Hannity” to discuss the shooting of Daunte Wright by Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter, who appeared to mistake her Taser with her service weapon when she fired a single shot at him as he struggled to escape the grip of another officer.
As the segment began, Rivera called the shooting an “act of grotesque negligence” while going on to suggest that the resultant rioting and looting was justified and that Potter’s shooting of Wright is why black parents fear for their children’s safety when they go out.
“There’s a situation in this country now where, I swear to God and I’m speaking from deep experience, too many black mothers are more fearful of the police than they are of the crooks when their sons go out,” he added.
(Video: Fox News)
Rivera then said he went to law school with friends who are currently police officers in New York City and has been around officers most of his career. “I get policing, some of my best friends are cops,” he said, “but you must admit there is a gulf between how a white family reacts and how a black family reacts.”
Host Sean Hannity interjected to say “maybe one percent” of people who are police officers should not be while adding that he isn’t backing “off due process” or “presumption of innocence,” two pillars of the American justice system, before asking Bongino to respond.
The former NYPD officer and Secret Service agent conceded that Rivera, never having actually been a cop, was entitled to nevertheless comment on policing, while going on to say, “I always hate when liberals say that about us.”
As Bongino continued, Rivera interjected, “I’m not a liberal,” leading Bongino to respond, “I’m not suggesting you are, I’m just saying you don’t understand policing…”
But rather than let Bongino continue making his case, Rivera jumped back in.
“Don’t start minimizing my experience!” Rivera demanded.
“Geraldo, can you shut up for two seconds?” Bongino clapped back.
“I’m a half-a-century at this,” Rivera shot back, temper flaring.
As the back-and-forth continued, Hannity came in to try and bring some semblance of order back to the discussion.
“I’m tired of this guy!” Bongino said. “He never shuts up!”
Returning to his point, Bongino said that Rivera was “entitled to his opinion” but not “a certain set of facts.”
“You don’t know anything about actual policing if you haven’t done it. Saying or suggesting…you can relate to the experience of police officers, you can’t,” Bongino continued.
“I’m not suggesting what happened yesterday wasn’t a tragedy. It was, obviously. There’s a dead young man whose never going to take another breath of oxygen again in his life,” he added.
The talk radio host went on to say that all of the details and facts surrounding the incident have yet to be publicized but that there is a legal “process” to determine them.
However, “injecting race into this Geraldo, which you do on these police issues constantly, when you have none of the data, you have no evidence whatsoever there’s a racial component to this at all,” Bongino said.
“Don’t you have an argument to make that doesn’t concern me?” Rivera interrupted.
“I’m not making you the issue, I’m responding to your dopey comment,” Bongino shot back. “You have no idea that there’s a racial undertone to this at all.”
“Oh really? I have no idea there’s a racial undertone? Twenty-year-old black kid?” Rivera interjected.
Continuing, Bongino accused Rivera of “further inflaming the situation.”
“The country will burn to the ground because of people like you who say dumb things like that with no evidence to back it up,” the conservative contributor said.
“How about people like you who don’t credit the humanity of half the country?” an agitated Rivera replied, his voice raised. “They are running scared. And they are scared of cops!”
“Why?” Bongino interjected, asking repeatedly. “Why? Why? Why are they scared of cops? Stop pontificating!”
The back-and-forth continued for a few more minutes, with Bongino arguing that data from Justice Department sources do not indicate there is a racial component regarding interactions between police officers and black men, but that the situation is further inflamed by Rivera and others who falsely assert it is the case.
“Those are facts, you should try them some time rather than trying to burn the country down with your racial rhetoric due to this tragic accident yesterday when you have no evidence to back it up,” said Bongino.
“Oh, will you stop it!?” Rivera fired back.
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