Just as the National Association of Black Journalists decries the exodus of black talent away from CNN, the network has invited conservative Blacksphere host Kevin Jackson on to tell protesters in Ferguson that their protesting might make cops not want to protect them. In a segment related to renewed protests in Missouri over the shooting of 18 year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr. by an off-duty St. Louis police officer, Jackson was introduced, not as a virulent conservative commentator, but simply as a guy who runs a website and wrote a book.
Jackson starts off, reasonably enough, by saying that people have a right to protest, but that he doesn't feel the outrage is justified in this case. According to police, they have recovered a weapon that Myers allegedly used to fire three shots at the officer, who fired 17 times at Myers, killing him. Family members allege that the teen was holding nothing but a sandwich.
But then, Jackson brings up the "disproportionate amount of crime in the black community," and accuses protesters of making cops not want to protect them:
"It's really funny, the outcry is more 'why are you bringing that up?' sort of we know what's going on in the black community but we still want to sort of raise the awareness of this police brutality or things like that. I think it's a disservice to the community because as a police force, would you really want to protect people that seem to have animus toward you?"
Yeah, nice black community you've got there, be a shame if cops didn't want to protect it.
Jackson then makes the reasonable point that there's "no color" to protection, and that "police don't police that way," because, and I'm not kidding, lots of people don't get killed by police:
"I don't believe that there's a color in protection. I think that the black people in Ferguson certainly have the power through the ballot to affect politics across the board. If you want to have justice be a color, a colorized version, or you want your politics to be colorized, that's certainly an area where they could do it. If there's responsibility, it would be on people that vote these folks in. But I don't think the police police that way for the most part, because we've all had run ins with police of different colors and we managed to survive them."
The Pavlov reference is also a neat, clever way of calling the protesters dogs, but it is truly stunning that CNN would have on a contributor whose standard for policing is that most citizens manage to survive it. Until they don't. Set aside the overwhelming statistical evidence that police in Ferguson do police that way, and ask why residents would trust cops who have become famous for killing young black men for the past two months?
Jackson may be right, the facts may come out in favor of the officer in this case, but that doesn't mean the mistrust is misplaced. Even if Myers had a gun, which it appears he did, there's still the matter of who shot first, and who was first to have reasonable fear of imminent bodily harm.
Kevin Jackson's entire career is based on the idea that he differs, politically, with most black people, and that that's ok. What's not really ok is for CNN to neglect to tell its viewers that.