Soon after a grand jury decided not to indict a New York City police officer for the chokehold death of Eric Garner last July, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly admitted he believed the killing was alarming, but shot back at radio host Tavis Smiley when he insisted that black men are being killed by police officers at an alarming rate, reports The Blaze.
“I think this would have happened to a white guy doing the same thing,” O’Reilly said. “I don’t think this had to do with skin color. I think it had to do with poor judgments made by the group of police officers.”
In response, Smiley called O’Reilly’s comment “speculation” and cited examples like Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Sean Bell as cases in which cops unnecessarily used lethal force on black men.
“There is no respect for the humanity and the dignity for black life in this country,” Smiley said.
But O’Reilly didn’t agree and instead asked the host whether he was aware of how many blacks were killed by gunfire in the previous year. When Smiley admitted that he didn’t know the stat, the host informed him that the number was “123.”
“Do you know how many whites were killed?” he asked. “326. There are 43 million-plus black Americans – 123 were killed by police gunfire. There isn’t an epidemic of this … But when it happens, it’s extremely troubling.”
Smiley replied that there are more whites than blacks in the country, which proved it’s still “open season, hunting season” on blacks and asked O’Reilly if he honestly believes he doesn’t notice a “pattern,” to which the controversial host replied, “I don’t because the statistics don’t say there is a pattern.”
“Again, 123 deaths out of 43 million-plus is miniscule – every death is a tragedy; I’m with you,” O’Reilly said. “Three times as many whites are shot by police than blacks. I don’t think it’s hunting down blacks.”
Watch the clip here: