Charles Barkley voiced support for law enforcement and criticized the media following a grand jury's decision against indicting then-Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown. He also slammed those who looted the Ferguson, Missouri, region.
The NBA legend made the remarks while speaking with radio host Mike Missanelli for Philadelphia's 97.5 The Fanatic last week after it was announced that a grand jury would not indict Wilson for the August shooting death of the 18-year-old. Protests erupted across the nation, and Ferguson was rocked by looting and arson in response to the decision. Barkley, who said he still has to go through all the documents, defended law enforcement, saying:
"I'm not saying who's right or wrong, I'm just hearing the true story that came out of the grand jury investigation," he said. "We have to be really careful with the cops, man, because if it wasn't for the cops we'd be living in the Wild Wild West in our neighborhoods. I think we can't pick out certain incidents that don't go our way and act like the cops are all bad. I hate when we do that. Think about it: Do you know how bad some of these neighborhoods would be if it wasn't for the cops?"
The 51-year-old Alabama native also criticized the media for the way it presented the story.
"I can’t believe anything I hear on television anymore ... that’s why I don’t like talking about race issues with the media because they love this stuff," he said. "Controversy sells, unfortunately. It's just an awful situation. A young kid got killed. We shouldn't just jump to conclusions on cops ... [The media] shouldn't do that. They don't jump to conclusions when black people kill each other."
Barkley also called looters "scumbags" and said the action was pointless.
"It's no excuse for people to go out there burning down people's businesses, burning down police cars. That serves no purpose. That serves no purpose whatsoever."
Last year, Barkley made headlines after he said he agreed with the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial during an interview on CNBC. Zimmerman was acquitted for the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Barkley said Zimmerman was wrong to racially profile Martin, but he criticized the media for its handling of the issue.
"I don't like when race gets out in the media because ... I don't think the media has clean hands," he said.