MSNBC's Velshi Rationalizes Resisting Police Arrest

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Sunday's Velshi show, MSNBC host Ali Velshi not only rationalized the behavior of black suspects who struggle against cops when they are being arrested, but he even cited a discredited myth that white supremacist Dylann Roof was given favorable treatment by police after he was arrested for murdering nine black parishioners in Charleston.

During a discussion of the shooting death of Atlanta resident Rashard Brooks after he fired a taser at a police officer, Velshi cited the views of those who have criticized black suspects for resisting arrest:

ALI VELSHI: One of the things that I think Americans are starting to understand after the video of George Floyd but maybe after also Walter Scott and others is that when an African American man is under arrest by the police, there is -- and I've heard this from so many of my guests who have had no particular run-ins with the law. They've just been pulled over by police. There tends to be a fear for their life that a lot of white people would say is irrational. "If you're doing nothing wrong, why not just get arrested? It will all get sorted out."

He then added: "But what a lot of my guests told me last night while we were watching this was that, in fact, some people do fear that, once they are in police custody, they may not come out."

The MSNBC host not only did not admit to the role the media plays in creating irrational fears in black Americans that they should fear police by making it appear that all police killing victims are black, but he even advanced the false narrative a bit later by recalling that there is an "ever growing list of black Americans dying at the hands of police."

After a clip of a protester threatening "war" if blacks continue to be killed by law enforcement, Velshi recounted:

VELSHI: The tension in Atlanta is palpable right now following the fatal police-involved shooting of 27-year-old Rashard Brooks. He was gunned down by an officer in the parking lot of a Wendy's fast food restaurant late Friday night. He's the latest in an ever growing list of black Americans dying at the hands of police.

Not mentioned is that only about 25 percent of deadly police shooting victims are black, although you wouldn't know it from watching national news outlets since nearly all cases highlighted involved black victims.

A few minutes later, he made an asinine comparison between the treatment of Brooks and murderer Dylann Roof. Even though Brooks resisted arrest and even fired a taser at an officrr while Roof readily surrendered to police, Velshi suggested there was a double standard because Roof was not also shot:

VELSHI: I've had people on Twitter overnight since we reported this last night saying he didn't need to resist arrest -- he didn't need to run -- he didn't need to do these things. I remind people that when the police arrested the Charleston shooting suspect who shot up a number of black people at a church in Charleston, they bought him a Burger King hamburger. The police don't necessarily have to use this kind of violence on someone who didn't perpetrate any of it. This guy was called -- police was called on this gentleman on Friday night because he was asleep at the wheel.

While some accounts have claimed that the arresting officer bought Roof a meal at Burger King first instead of taking him to jail immediately -- which would be a ridiculous thing to do -- Roof, in fact, wasn't given food until after he was sent to the interrogation room to wait for FBI agents to arrive.

Police officers apparently not only needed to kill time, but also make sure he was ready to talk to the FBI when they arrived, and Burger King happened to be the closest place where they could acquire food.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Sunday, June 14, Velshi on MSNBC:

8:12 a.m. Eastern

ALI VELSHI: One of the things that I think Americans are starting to understand after the video of George Floyd but maybe after also Walter Scott and others is that when an African American man is under arrest by the police, there is -- and I've heard this from so many of my guests who have had no particular run-ins with the law. They've just been pulled over by police. There tends to be a fear for their life that a lot of white people would say is irrational. "If you're doing nothing wrong, why not just get arrested? It will all get sorted out."

But what a lot of my guests told me last night while we were watching this was that, in fact, some people do fear that, once they are in police custody, they may not come out.

(…)

8:37 a.m.

VELSHI: The tension in Atlanta is palpable right now following the fatal police-involved shooting of 27-year-old Rashard Brooks. He was gunned down by an officer in the parking lot of a Wendy's fast food restaurant late Friday night. He's the latest in an ever growing list of black Americans dying at the hands of police.

(…)

8:40 a.m.

VELSHI: You know, I've had people on Twitter overnight since we reported this last night saying he didn't need to resist arrest -- he didn't need to run -- he didn't need to do these things. I remind people that when the police arrested the Charleston shooting suspect who shot up a number of black people at a church in Charleston, they bought him a Burger King hamburger. The police don't necessarily have to use this kind of violence on someone who didn't perpetrate any of it. This guy was called -- police was called on this gentleman on Friday night because he was asleep at the wheel.

(…)

9:05 a.m.

VELSHI: I want to ask you about something you said, and I think it's something a lot of allies to the cause are struggling with. And this is not a few bad apples -- this is a systemic problem. You said, "It will mean we have to be intentional, deliberate, and unapologetic about calling out structural racism for what it is: white supremacy. It will call on us to legislate an equity lens in everything -- not just police reform. It means examining our housing policies, our lending policies, our criminal legal system top to bottom, our health care system and on and on." Tell me why this is such an important message for people to get.

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