Next time you're assembling a criminal defense team, remember to forget Melissa Harris-Perry. On her MSNBC show today, MH-P commented on the news that authorities are considering charges against Michael Brown's stepfather Louis Head, who on the night the grand jury declined to indict, jumped on a car and implored the crowd "burn this mother------ down! Burn this b--ch down!" Numerous buildings were thereafter torched.
Argued Harris-Perry: "arson and looting . . . are not necessarily violence." She added that those crimes should bear a "legal difference" from violence against "bodies." Even if you accept Harris-Perry's premise [I would argue that arson, which brings the real risk of endangering lives, is violent], so what? Assault isn't as bad as murder, either. That doesn't mean you don't prosecute the former, only that the punishment must fit the crime.
PS: Do you think Harris-Perry would argue that arson and looting weren't violent if a KKK crowd carried it out after a Grand Dragon called for it?
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY Let me also just point out, arson and looting, while illegal and not things that I support and I think also counterproductive in many ways, are also not necessarily violence in that they are they are violence against property, and that does actually carry a legal difference, right? I mean, violence against property ought to be different than violence against bodies.
JANAI NELSON, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND: Certainly harming a human being is worse than burning down a building.
HARRIS-PERRY: Right, it should be, right?