MSNBC's Johnson Claims Cops Are as Dangerous as Criminals

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Monday's The 11th Hour show, MSNBC contributor Jason Johnson went into an anti-police rant in which he called for law enforcement in the U.S. to be "abolished" and rebuilt, and showed that he is mathematically challenged by claiming that he is as likely to be killed by a police officer as by an intruder in his home.

During a discussion of the mistaken police shooting of Daunte Wright in Minneapolis, and the aggressive treatment against Coran Nazario in Windsor, Virginia, Johnson prejudged that the questionable police actions were racially motivated, declaring: "Every single one of these instances we're talking about tonight, Brian, are armed -- racist, and, I'm sorry, it's just racist."

The stridently liberal analyst then took aim at President Joe Biden as he added:

Police departments need to be abolished in significant ways and rebuilt. I know that sounds like a radical idea, but I'm sick and tired of video after video of video of murdered black people, and the President of the United States talking about looting before he talks about endemic violence by the state.

In spite of many instances of police officers being attacked during routine traffic stops, he then claimed many police officers do not need to be armed. He even dishonestly made it sound like the shooting of Wright happened simply because he had air fresheners hanging inside his car, even though he had a warrant for his arrest for illegal gun possession charges which prompted the chaos leading to his death: "There is no reason for an officer to be carrying a gun for a routine traffic stop. There's no reason for an officer to pull out a gun or a taser because someone has air fresheners and little pine trees flopping back and forth in their windows."

After host Brian Williams surprisingly pushed back from the right, suggesting that Johnson would want an armed officer instead of a social worker to deal with an intruder in his home, Johnson ridiculously claimed that a police officer would be just as dangerous to him as a criminal: "I'm just as likely to get shot by that cop as I am with that potential intruder. That's just the reality. That's the reality that I've lived with every day."

In fact, according to Washington Post statistics, about 250 blacks (25 percent of the total) are killed by police officers each year, but, by contrast, the number of African Americans killed by civilians in a year's time is typically closer to 7,000 or 8,000 -- about 30 times higher. And those killed by police are usually armed and resisting arrest for committing crimes, so for law-abiding citizens, their odds would be even better dealing with cops.

Johnson went on to make tortured analogies likening police shooting deaths to children dying in a school cafeteria or patients dying in a hospital during routine checkups.

This anti-police rhetoric from MSNBC's The 11th Hour was sponsored in part by Bounty. Their contact information is linked.

Transcript follows:

MSNBC

The 11th Hour with Brian Williams

April 12, 2021

11:12 p.m. Eastern

JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Brian, the disgusting racial gaslighting of "We can shoot you in the face with pepper spray, and now you have to have a calm and reasonable conversation" -- the fact that this man serves this country, which means combat, and yet still fears the police, is exactly why people talk about abolishing the police. Every single one of these instances we're talking about tonight, Brian, are armed racist, and I'm sorry, it's just racist. When you hear the initial -- when you see the initial video, and the guy is like, "Hey, I'm afraid to get out of the car," and the reaction is, "You should be." Why should he be? Why should he be?

I'm driving around in a car right now that's got tags on the back -- temporary tags -- because where I've moved to. This is something that you can't reform. This is something that you can't train people out of. Police departments need to be abolished in significant ways and rebuilt. I know that sounds like a radical idea, but I'm sick and tired of video after video of video of murdered black people, and the President of the United States talking about looting before he talks about endemic violence by the state. There is no reason for an officer to be carrying a gun for a routine traffic stop. There's no reason for an officer to pull out a gun or a taser because someone has air fresheners and little pine trees flopping back and forth in their windows.

That is why people are angry. And until we have political leadership in this country -- not just investigations, but political leadership that is willing to say, "We have to tear these police departments down just like a corrupt school -- just like a dysfunctional hospital -- just like a bad water treatment plant" -- until we have that kind of reaction from politicians, we're just going to see this violence over and over and over again. and people protesting when nothing changes.

(...)

BRIAN WILLIAMS: You know that, in the real world, the phrase "defund the police" had colossal consequences across the country for the Democratic party, especially depending on the race. Just as the phrase "abolish the police" will. You know the counter argument that, God forbid you hear a bump in the night in your home or apartment -- you call 911 -- you don't want a social worker showing up tonight. I am guessing you'd rather have an armed police officer if you have trouble in your house.

JOHNSON: I'm just as likely to get shot by that cop as I am with that potential intruder. That's just the reality. That's the reality that I've lived with every day. And I also say this -- you know, from a political science perspective, actually, if you look at the one seat the Democrats picked up in the state of Georgia -- the congressional seat -- the woman, the doctor whose name escapes me right now -- she was out there protesting with Black Lives Matter. This is a white woman. She got elected in Georgia. I know that many people try to argue -- I know that Congressman Clyburn tried to say that "defund the police" and "abolish the police" hurt the Democrats. There's no statistical information right now or polling information that shows that actually kept anybody from winning their seats.

Here's the large issue: policing. The way it has functioned in this country no longer works. If there was a public school where every couple of months you had a kid die in the cafeteria, you would shut down that school. You would fire every teacher. Kids shouldn't be dying regularly. You would rebuild the entire school and say, "Hey this isn't working. Kids shouldn't be dying in a cafeteria on a regular basis." If you had an emergency room where doctors and patients were dying on a regular basis for routine check ups, you would say, "Hey, there's something wrong with this hospital -- we got to fire everybody there and start from the beginning."

For some reason in America, we see consistent failures on the part of police departments, suddenly everybody says that can't be abolished. We have everybody from the far right to the far left saying we can get rid of everything from the Environmental Protection Agency to the National Education Board. Why can't we do the same thing with police? There are ideas out there. There are policies -- there are ways these could be managed. I'm not saying that you should never have someone with a gun. I'm not saying there aren't times when there's an armed shootout that you shouldn't have people there who have guns and weapons. 

The armament level of police and the responsibilities they are held to do not match. You don't need to have as many cops armed in the way that they are doing social work and traffic stops. And that's where this needs to change. Politicians need to admit that regardless of how wedded we are to the idea of police keeping us safe when, actually, they're actually more dangerous to a lot of black people than they are a place of protection.

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