A CNN analyst argued on air Monday that it’s unfair to call out racism in law enforcement because black people are prone to committing crimes, sparking a heated shouting match with other guests.
In a panel on “New Day,” CNN law enforcement analyst and former NYPD detective Harry Houck said the rhetoric that the officers involved in the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile targeted the men because they were racist “has got to stop, because I’ve got statistics right here which will prove me right.”
He then launched into a list of statistics about the racial makeup of criminals.
“In New York City alone, blacks are 23 percent [of the population],” he said. “They make up 75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, 60 percent of all violent crimes. White only 3 percent. That is why there are more blacks in jail than there are whites.”
After some back and forth, CNN commentator and former HuffPost Live host Marc Lamont Hill weighed in, “Harry just went on national TV and said black people are prone to criminality.”
“Well, they are.” Houck said.
“You think black people are prone to criminality?” Hill asked. “You don’t mean to say that. I’m going to give you a chance to correct [yourself]. You don’t mean that black people are prone to criminality.”
“The statistics here show this,” Houck fired back, pointing at his sheet of statistics. “What does this say?”
The reality is that that black men are disproportionately targeted by police. An ongoing tally from the Washington Post found that 40 percent of the unarmed men shot and killed by police last year were black, even though black men account for only 6 percent of the population.
Hill also pointed to evidence of discrimination on the police force, noting that last year a U.S. Justice Department investigation found that there was considerable evidence of racism in the Ferguson, Missouri, police department.