Black activist smacks down CNN host Wolf Blitzer
An African-American activist and community organizer has smacked down CNN host Wolf Blitzer who has insisted that protesters are causing trouble in Baltimore.
In an interview with Deray McKesson on Tuesday, Blitzer, known for asking loaded questions, seemed determined to focus on the hardships Black Lives Matter protesters had caused in Baltimore, which has seen several days of protests against the death of a black man in police custody.
But McKesson managed to turn the tables on the CNN pundit.
“You want peaceful protests, right?” Blitzer began his interview by asking McKesson, according to Raw Story.
“Yes,” McKesson replied, who was stunned by the apparent nature of the question. “Remember, the people that have been violent since August have been the police. When you think about the 300 people that have been killed this year alone. Like that is violence.”
Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Baltimore and other US cities in recent days to protest the killing of Freddie Gray who died on April 19 in Baltimore after white police officers broke his spine in their custody.
Protesters hold signs as they stand off with the police at Camden Yard during a march in honor of Freddie Gray on April 25, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (AFP photo)
The protests have been largely peaceful except for occasional incidents of violence where some angry people damaged public property and clashed with police officers.
McKesson said that the property damage was unfortunate, but he asked Blitzer to remember that there had been “many days of peaceful protests here in Baltimore City and places all around the country.”
“But at least 15 police officers have been hurt, 200 arrests, 144 vehicle fires — these are statistics,” Blitzer countered, reading from a police press release. “There’s no excuse for that kind of violence, right?”
“Yeah, and there’s no excuse for the seven people that the Baltimore City Police Department has killed in the last year either, right?” McKesson hit back.
“We’re not making comparisons,” Blitzer said. “Obviously, we don’t want anybody hurt. But I just want to hear you say that there should be peaceful protests, not violent protests in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King.”
“Yeah, there’s should be peaceful protests,” the activist replied. “And I don’t have to condone it to understand it, right? The pain that people feel is real.”
“And you are making a comparison,” McKesson added. “You are suggesting this idea that broken windows are worse than broken spines, right?”
McKesson went on to say that “the police are killing people everywhere. They’re killing people here. Six police officers were involved in the killing of Freddie Gray, and we’re looking for justice there.”
“And that’s real. The violence the police have been inflicting on communities of color has been sustained and deep,” he added.
Baltimore police officers clash with protesters in the streets near Mondawmin Mall on April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (AFP photo)
The tragic incident, which was captured by an eyewitness on his cell phone, shows an injured Gray being dragged into a van by police officers.
The killing was just one of a succession of fatal police brutalities in recent months.
Large-scale protests were held across the US after a series of high-profile incidents of white police officers killing unarmed African-American men, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio; Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York and Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina.