Fox’s “Straight news” anchor Bill Hemmer trotted out Rudy Giuliani to whitesplain how much African Americans need police to stop them from killing each other. Yet awful cases of police brutality under his watch, along with his controversial stop and frisk policy, disappeared down a memory hole.
It’s one thing to talk with Giuliani about race and the police since he was mayor of New York for eight years. But it’s another to pretend there’s nothing in his record to scrutinize in such a discussion, as Hemmer did.
Giuliani was mayor when the horrific torture of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima by police occurred, in 1997. In its 2017 remembrance of the case, WNYC noted that Giuliani reportedly said, “'Oh my God. … I can’t imagine what that man has gone through,'" when he was notified. But WNYC also reported:
But the sentiment didn’t come through in the mayor's public appearances. At a press conference, Giuliani condemned the officers who could commit such a crime. But he spent more time defending the overall NYPD.
Two years later was the murder of African immigrant Amadou Diallo, memorialized in the Bruce Springsteen song, “American Skin (41 Shots).” Unarmed Diallo was shot 41 times by police in the vestibule of his apartment building as he reached for his wallet. The police said they thought he was reaching for a gun.
The New York Times reported at the time that Giuliani “struggles” to “convey convincingly the pain he says he feels over this loss of life and compassion for the victim's family.”
There was also his “stop and frisk” policy that disproportionately affected people of color, was ruled unconstitutional and discriminatory by a federal judge and has been shown to be ineffective in reducing crime.
You’d think at least some of that would be worth a mention by any anchor not in the tank for right-wing, Trump-friendly propaganda, especially when Giuliani boasted about lowering crime during his tenure.
But not Hemmer. He spoke of none of the very relevant parts of Giuliani’s record that might have cast doubt on his authority to declare that tougher policing is all good, especially for the Blacks Behaving Badly.
Giuliani allowed as how reforms “are certainly needed." But he was too busy talking up the importance of staying tough on (black) crime to go into details.
GIULIANI: To make it appear as if police brutality is systemic is really propaganda. I mean, police brutality is an issue but it’s not the major issue that they’re trying to make it.
If you look at the statistics, only 10% of the shootings of unarmed people involve blacks. 20% involve whites.
That begs the question as to who the other 70% are. Not to Hemmer, apparently. As of 2018, there were about 42 million African Americans in the U.S. and 236 million whites, according to the Census Bureau. But assuming Giuliani’s statistics are correct and there are half as many unarmed blacks shot as unarmed whites, that is still a disproportionate number.
Hemmer had no questions.
So Giuliani continued with his Black Crime message, thinly cloaked in concern for the black community.
GIULIANI: The reason that [Minnesota] police encounter blacks seven times more than whites is because seven times more than whites, black people call the police for help. But the police don’t initiate focusing on black people. The black community calls the police and says this man robbed my house, this man was involved in a murder, this person was involved – now that’s not racist. That isn’t anything but the truth. And what we have going on is a left-wing narrative that is very, very false and very dangerous.
Eventually, Hemmer interrupted Giuliani, not to point out that his own policies “focused” on black people but to ask if efforts to defund the police “go anywhere.”
GIULIANI: If they do, the major victims are going to be African Americans. Look, in 70% to 75% of the homicides in New York City, the victims are African American and the perpetrators are African American. When I reduced crime by 70% and [with] Bloomberg, together, 80%, the people we saved were African Americans. I mean, seven out of ten times, they’re the victim of murder in New York City. Only one out of ten times, it’s a white. So if you reduce murder by 50%, almost all of the beneficiaries of that are in the African American community.
And aside from the political hucksters, if you go into an African American community and talk to real people, every time I did, they wanted more police. I used to get more pressure for more police in Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant than I did on Park Avenue. And unlike my predecessors, I put a lot more police in Harlem and I made it safe. None of my predecessors could do that. And the police did that. And they did it because they really care and they’re really good.
And this separation that the Democrats are creating with the police is tragic.
GIULIANI: It’s cutting off the only thing that is going to reduce the greatest reason why, unfortunately, black men die, that is they’re killed by other black men. That’s just the truth. If you can’t say that, you’re a racist. If you can’t stay that, there’s something wrong with you.
You can watch Hemmer and Giuliani erase his history with police brutality below, from the June 5, 2020 Bill Hemmer Reports.
(Giuliani image via screen grab)