Charles Barkley of NBA fame said he’s not backtracking on his earlier characterization of Ferguson violent rioters and looters as “scumbags” — and moreover, the grand jury was quite right in not indicting policeman Darren Wilson.
In an interview on CNN, Mr. Barkley, who now serves as a basketball analyst for Turner Sports, said he doesn’t think white police officers are simply out to get black people and shoot them based on the color of their skin.
“That’s ridiculous,” he said, CNN reported.
He said the the grand jury’s decision was correct, and that the country as a whole should have been talking about race relations and police-community relations way before the Aug. 9 shooting death of teen Michael Brown.
“We never discuss race in this country until something bad happens,” he said, CNN reported. “And even then it usually reflects a ‘tribe mentality.’ Everybody wants to protect their own tribe, whether they are right or wrong.”
Mr. Barkley, who has previously dealt with his own confrontations with police, said too many communities call on police to come clean them up, but then decry racial profiling when something happens, CNN said.
“We, as black people, we have a lot of crooks,” he said, CNN reported. “We can’t just wait until something like [the Brown shooting] happens. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror. There is a reason that they racially profile us in the way they do. Sometimes it is wrong. and sometimes it is right.”
Mr. Barkley commended those who peacefully protest, saying “that’s what this country was built on,” CNN reported. But he sharply rebuked those who turn to violent means to get their point across.
“To be burning peoples’ property, burning police cars, looting peoples’ stores,” he said, CNN reported, “that is 100 percent ridiculous.”
Mr. Barkley also said Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head — who was captured on video screaming for the Ferguson community to “burn this [expletive] down” — shouldn’t be charged with inciting a riot, which is what some local law enforcement officials want.
“One of the problems with this entire situation is there’s so much noise going on, you never get to the crux of the issue that you need to be discussing,” he said, CNN reported.
Mr. Barkley just made national headlines by referring to those in Ferguson and other communities who use the grand jury decision to justify looting and violence as “scumbags.”
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