After a week of rioting and confrontations in Ferguson, Missouri, filmmaker Spike Lee said he hoped that “things will really blow up” if Officer Darren Wilson is tried and the people of Ferguson are unhappy with the verdict.
Lee made his incendiary remarks on Tuesday’s Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, saying that, even though he does not have the facts, “something smells bad in Ferguson, and it’s not just tear gas.”
“And I’m not saying that people should burn down stuff and riot and loot,” Lee told host Anderson Cooper. “But this is not the first time we’ve seen this. And I just hope that things will really blow up if the people aren’t happy with the verdict of this upcoming trial.”
Cooper let Lee’s inflammatory comments slide without even asking a follow-up question or calling him out.
Lee also pushed conspiracy theories, saying he could not believe that “when the police finally say who this officer is, the same day they release this video tape [of Michael Brown engaging in a strong-arm robbery of a convenience store].” He then alleged that “Josie” called into a radio station on Monday just when the autopsy results showing that Michael Brown was shot six times were released.
In fact, “Josie” actually made her remarks last week, before the autopsy results were revealed. “Josie” also claimed that Michael Brown bumrushed officer Wilson multiple times, punched him in the face, discharged his gun, and then taunted him. At least 12 witnesses have reportedly corroborated Wilson’s alleged version of the story. A witness on the scene was captured in a YouTube video saying that Brown “doubled back” before charging Wilson in the moments before Wilson fired at him, corroborating what “Josie” said. The autopsy results showed that all of the bullets entered Brown from the front, which Lee never mentioned. Cooper did not bring up these points, either, and Cooper, whose network first widely played what “Josie” said, also did not jump in to tell Lee that “Josie” did not call into the radio station the previous day. Nevertheless, Lee continued, asking, “Who knows who the hell she is?”
“Is she reading a script?” Lee asked before saying that “all of a sudden, everyone’s taking her words–which is really a third person witness–as Gospel.”
“How can that be? How can you call a radio station and say this is what’s happened?” he asked incredulously. “How do you do that?”
When Cooper asked Lee if he thought all of this was orchestrated, Lee replied, “Oh, yes.”
“It’s orchestrated, Anderson,” he said. “There’s a playbook. They are doing what they want to do. They’re there to protect their own.” Lee said he “will not believe that it’s a coincidence that the day the autopsy comes out … all of a sudden this lady calls into a radio station … and that’s what the officer says. Of course, she’s reading from the same script, I think.”
Lee said President Barack Obama did not usher in a “post-racial era” and equated the riots and unrest in Ferguson to what happened in Los Angeles after Rodney King, the Liberty City riots, Detroit in the 1960s, Harlem, and cities that saw rioting after Martin Luther King’s assassination.
Lee said that people “get to a tipping point” where “they can’t take it anymore.”
Though all of the facts are not yet out, and a grand jury has not even heard the evidence in the case, Lee implied that Brown was killed because he allegedly stole cigars or was high on marijuana.
“I don’t think you should be killed in this country because allegedly you steal some cigarillos,” Lee said. “I don’t think you should be killed in this country if there’s marijuana in your system.”