Giuliani, Burnett Battle Over Brown, Garner: ‘They Were Committing Crimes’

On Tuesday’s broadcast of “OutFront’ on CNN, former New York City Rudy Giuliani took on a challenge from host Erin Burnett regarding law enforcement in the black community, which Burnett argued unfairly targeted that community.

Giuliani, however, explained the circumstances of those crime statistics should be looked at individually and pointed out that in the specific cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, there was still a crime being committed.

Transcript of follows:

BURNETT: I know that you just came from meeting with the families of the two assassinated officers.

GIULIANI: I did. Yes.

BURNETT: How was that meeting?

GIULIANI: Well, it was very emotional. You know, it’s been sometime since I was mayor and I lost so many police officers and firefighters even before September 11, about 50 and then September 11th in unbearable numbers. It is hard. It is very, very hard because you really don’t know what to say to really comfort them. But it is remarkable what wonderful men both of these officers were, Officer Ramos and Officer Liu. These two officers represent what the New York City Police Department is all about. They remind me of my uncles. I had four of them that were police officers. They love being police officers, Officer Liu joined after September 11th because he was affected by September 11th. This police department, this New York Police Department is not an all-white police department. In fact, it is not even majority white police department I think. This is a very, very diverse police department. Hispanic and Chinese in this particular case — Americans. So this kind of thing is been suggested about racism within the New York City Police Department, it is really an outrageous lie.

BURNETT: This issue about racism in the nation’s biggest police department and indeed in police departments around the country, there was a couple of questions I wanted to ask you about that.

GIULIANI: Sure. Absolutely.

BURNETT: Our analysis actually was done on the issue of whether young black males were more likely to be killed by police in this country. They looked at federal data from 2010 to 2012, because aren’t federal statistics on this particular issue, they found a 21 times more likely chance that a young black man would be killed by a police officer than a young white man. That is a pretty stunning statistic and it argues against what you just said.

GIULIANI: No, it doesn’t. Statistics don’t tell you anything. But we have to know what those 21 people were doing. By what percentage do black young men commit violent crimes compared to white? Isn’t it like five, six, seven, to one.

BURNETT: This is 21 to one.

GIULIANI: Well, fix, six, seven to one means it can be off a lot of concentrations. And a lot more interactions between the police in the black community than between the police and the white community. So you can’t just look at a statistic like that. In the case of New York City, for example, 70-75 percent of the murders are committed by blacks. That is a statistic. That is not racism, that is a fact. So you would expect, if that is the case, if it is 70-75 percent, at the overwhelming majority of interactions dealing with violent crime are going to be with blacks — unfortunately.

BURNETT: Right. But I mean, I see your point. But I mean, if you are going to play statistics that way, you are looking at 75 percent.

GIULIANI: Well, you’re the one that brought up statics.

BURNETT: No, I know. But I mean, I’m saying is, if 75 percent of the crime is committed by blacks as you are saying, but again 21-to-1. That is still not in balance with the crime rate.

GIULIANI: But you have to know what those 21. You’ll have to know what you are talking about. Not just the numbers. You have to know what kind of situations — what kind of situation you are talking about. What kind of crimes were involved. What kind of provocation took place? Did one group more likely surrender and the other group not? I mean, in the case of both Mr. Garner and Mr. Brown, they were committing crimes. I mean, this is not a situation in which — I mean the two officers were two innocent men that were killed. These two men were committing crimes. Now okay, in the case of Mr. Garner, he was committing a relatively minor crime.

BURNETT: Correct.

GIULIANI: But the reality is, if you are speeding, and you are pulled over and the police officer asks you for your license and registration, and you say, no, you’ve just taken a relatively minor situation and made it into a really major one because the cop is going to pull you out of the car and anything can happen. So before you analyze that, you have to know how are people behaving, how are they acting, how are they interact, you know what kind of danger the police officers in? I have found in New York City, that the overwhelming majority of cases, the police officers are justified in what they’re doing. The exception is when they do something wrong and when they do, and when they do, they go to prison. This is a police department that in an overwhelming majority of cases, when a death takes place to justifiable situation where the police officers was in fear for his life.

BURNETT: But the issue of course as you know around the country now is that people see some cases where a lot of people think that justice has not been served, that an officer was not charged for something. In the case of Eric Garner. And you know, Kareem Abdul- Jabbar wrote about this and I wanted to get your response to what he said because I thought he wrote this pretty eloquently but maybe you will going to take issue with it but I’m curious. So, he wrote, in Time Magazine this week and this is in light of the assassination of the two police officers this weekend in New York City. He wrote, the marches, meaning the protests are meant to raise awareness of double standards, lack of adequate police candidate screening and insufficient training that have resulted in unnecessary killings. Police are not under attack. Institutionalized racism is. And he continues to give examples. He says, trying to remove sexually abusive priests is not attack on Catholicism nor is removing ineffective teachers an attack on education. He writes that very eloquently and doesn’t he have a point?

GIULIANI: Of course he’s got a point.

BURNETT: I mean, this is something that you would agree with that the protesters have a point. There are cases of access that need to be dealt with.

GIULIANI: No question about it. There are situations in which the police officers act ineffectively or even when the police officers act in a racially improper manner. There are situations like that. To give the impression that it is systemic is a cruel and really bad lie. And to create that impression for the last two months and to allow that to become the general impression, that this is a major problem within police departments is really unfair. The major problem is the amount of crime that we have.

BURNETT: But if that is a major problem — hold on one second.

GIULIANI: The reality is —

BURNETT: Let me just, because I see your point. But then, you want to say it is not systemic but if you are not willing to talk about statistics including the one that I shared —

GIULIANI: I am willing to talk about it. I just want to know what those are all about. The — the situation of racism in the New York City Police Department is the exception. The rule is a vast amount of crime.

BURNETT: Mr. Mayor, before we go, I have to ask you something else. The President, I know you are very critical of him on this particular issue of race. You’ve also been critical of him on the economy. Back in 2012 things were not as good as they are today. You said the economy is, quote, “a disaster under Obama.” Today the Dow hit 18,000. That is an all-time high. It is a number that a few years ago when I was covering Wall Street people thought was ridiculous, it was a joke, it would never happen. The economy in terms of the rate it grew just posted the best growth in a decade. The President’s approval ratings has gone up four-points, in our latest poll, maybe as a result impart of that. If he got the blame then from you, are you willing to give him some of the credit?

GIULIANI: Yes. Absolutely. There are good parts to this recovery. And bad parts to it. And the market is one of them. The job situation is getting better. It still isn’t what it should be. And it may be possible that we’re not going to have the same kind of job recovery that we’ve had in prior — in prior recoveries largely because, you know, technology is taking the place of people. And that makes companies more profitable so they can do really well on the market, but they are not necessarily producing the kind of jobs they were producing before. The market is no longer maybe a great indicator of job growth because sometimes you become more profitable because you have less jobs. Has our economy improved? Yes. Am I happy that the market is at 18,000 when so many middle class people’s pensions, including most of the police officers that I work with, I run a security company, they are all very happy when they see it at 18,000.

We’re not just talking about rich people, we are talking about a lot of pensions that are effective by that. And I do give him credit for that. I think the President is a good man, I think he is a good father. I think he does some good things. I don’t think everything he does is wrong. But I do think — and I think the President, and I would you plead with him to do this, I think the President has an opportunity to do something historic if he would speak out forcefully, as forcefully as he does about this Trayvon Martin and that Gates case as he does — if he would speak out forcefully on the things that are needed to bring the crime rate down.

BURNETT: All right. Mayor Giuliani, thank you so much for your time.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor


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