CNN Lets Ibram X. Kendi Complain About Cop Saving Girl from Being Stabbed

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Thursday's New Day show, CNN provided a forum to purported "anti-racist" scholar and Boston University professor Ibram X. Kendi to complain about recent examples of violent police actions. He even suggested that the white cop who saved the life of a black teenage girl in Ohio by shooting another girl who was about to stab her might be guilty of "murder."

The segment put on display one of the big problems with the liberal media's coverage of aggressive or deadly police violence -- the portrayal of such action as highly likely to happen to even law-abiding African Americans in spite of the fact that deadly encounters almost always involve criminals who are resisting arrest.

CNN co-host Brianna Keilar set up the segment by lauding Kendi for a piece he recently published in The Atlantic in which he argued that African Americans should feel afraid of dying during police stops regardless of whether they comply or not. Keilar posed:

I want to touch on what you have written, which is a great piece in The Atlantic, and you so eloquently lay out your point, which is that "defiance is not the problem, and our compliance is not the solution." And I think it really encapsulates the conversation that is happening right now over so many different cases of black people being shot and killed by police. Explain this to us because there's a refrain that if people would just comply with what officers say, everything would be all right.

In his first appearance on CNN since he sent out an incendiary tweet last year attacking Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett for daring to adopt black children, Kendi began by preposterously likening himself in a routine traffic stop to Adam Toledo -- a Hispanic Chicago gang member who ran from police while he was trying to dispose of a gun a fellow gang member had just used. Kendi cited the case as proof that it makes no difference whether minorities comply with police or not:

Adam Toledo seems to comply with every single demand or order of the officer, but he was still killed. And I could relate to that personally because even when I'm pulled over or stopped by the police, when I comply fully, I still do not know whether I'm going to survive. Many people feel the same way. And what we've been told is, "If only we comply, everything will be all right." There's a slogan that police have circulated that says, "Comply -- don't die." That's just not the case.

Keilar further pushed the debunked claims of widespread racism in policing as she then brought up the recent case of Caron Nazario, who was treated with a questionable amount of aggression with the CNN host speculating without any evidence that fully complying might have resulted in his death:

...one of the things that occurred to me, watching what happened, is that one of the things that might have saved his life was that there was something that he did not comply with. He waited almost a mile to pull over into a very well-lit gas station so that everything was captured very clearly on camera, and it seemed like he was trying to comply, and yet, in the end, he still was assaulted.

In this case, the cops failed to see his out of place license plate -- possibly because the window was illegal tinted -- which set them off and led to them drawing guns while they were behind him before they could have even seen his race. Notably, motorists driving without license plates are sometimes trying to cover for serious crimes -- Timothy McVeigh was notably stopped for having a missing license plate before he was arrested for the Oklahoma City Bombing.

The two ended up questioning whether Officer Nicholas Reardon needed to shoot Ma'Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio, with Kendi even suggesting it might have been "murder" in his reaction:

I know many people feel as if they did not witness police work. They witnessed somebody being killed and even potentially murdered. And of course, like with any other case, people are going to be outraged that someone did not come and deescalate the situation -- disarm that girl so everyone could have gone home safely.

But neither these cases nor the other examples he cited in his Atlantic piece fit his suggestion that law-abiding minorities should fear the police even while complying. In Philando Castile's case, daily marijuana use likely contributed to his failure use proper protocol to inform the officer of his firearm and gun permit. And Sandra Bland was argumentative with the cop who arrested her, and died of suicide in jail rather than from direct police action.

This episode of CNN's New Day which encourages law-abiding minorities to irrationally fear and resent police officers was sponsored in part by Tractor Supply Co. Their contact information is linked.

CNN

New Day

April 22, 2021

7:05 a.m. Eastern

BRIANNA KEILAR: First, I want to touch on what you have written, which is a great piece in The Atlantic, and you so eloquently lay out your point, which is that "defiance is not the problem, and our compliance is not the solution." And I think it really encapsulates the conversation that is happening right now over so many different cases of black people being shot and killed by police. Explain this to us because there's a refrain that if people would just comply with what officers say, everything would be all right.

IBRAM X. KENDI, THE ATLANTIC: Well, certainly, and the police -- the piece was inspired by Adam Toledo's killing. And on the video, Adam Toledo seems to comply with every single demand or order of the officer, but he was still killed. And I could relate to that personally because even when I'm pulled over or stopped by the police, when I comply fully, I still do not know whether I'm going to survive. Many people feel the same way. And what we've been told is, "If only we comply, everything will be all right." There's a slogan that police have circulated that says, "Comply -- don't die." That's just not the case.

KEILAR: You know, you mention the case of the Army officer in Virginia who is now suing police there who was pulled over, and one of the things that occurred to me, watching what happened, is that one of the things that might have saved his life was that there was something that he did not comply with. He waited almost a mile to pull over into a very well-lit gas station so that everything was captured very clearly on camera, and it seemed like he was trying to comply, and yet, in the end, he still was assaulted.

KENDI: And, in the end, a local police official stated that if only he would have complied earlier, then everything would have been okay, and a local police official also stated that no one got hurt even though, of course, clearly, this lieutenant was hurt. And, indeed, if he would have complied earlier and pulled over in an area in which it couldn't have been recorded, in which it wasn't clear, who knows what would have happened, you know, in that case?

KEILAR: Ibram, I want to ask you about this video of Ma'khia Bryant being killed in Ohio by a police officer, when it is in slow motion, you see that she was wielding a knife, but there are a lot of people who are not sure what to make of this, perhaps not the least because she was a 16-year-old girl. And she is seen in the video lunging at one girl, then lunging at another. I wonder how you're seeing this video and what you say as people are considering the totality of what they're seeing on video, and whether they should make distinctions between different incidents.

KENDI: So I -- when I look at that video, I ask myself, "If that would have been a 16-year-old white girl in a wealthy, suburban neighborhood, would the police officer have sought to disarm this girl? Would the police officer have sought to talk her down? Would the police officer have used lethal force?" And it's hard for me to believe that that would have happened. It's hard for me to believe that that officer would not have responded differently for a different girl in a different community.

KEILAR: I look at that video, and I ask, "If that were my child, you know, or if my child were the child in pink who was so close to Ma'khia when she was shot, you know, what would have happened? I think a lot of people are asking that. Look, in this particular case, LeBron James spoke out -- he tweeted a picture of the -- of an officer -- the officer who allegedly shot Ma'khia -- and he said, "You're next." He has since deleted that tweet. What is your reaction to that? Does that add to the tension? Is that appropriate?

KENDI: I think it's important for us to recognize that people are very angry and upset and outraged. And people, including LeBron James, including, you know, they witnessed, you know, I don't want to speak for LeBron, but I know many people feel as if they did not witness police work. They witnessed somebody being killed and even potentially murdered. And of course, like with any other case, people are going to be outraged that someone did not come and deescalate the situation -- disarm that girl so everyone could have gone home safely.

KEILAR: And it is -- there are many questions. The questions people are raising are on the minds of so many Americans. Ibram, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

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