Al Sharpton: No ‘Circumstances’ Would Require Officer Wilson To Fire Six Times

Channeling Jesse Jackson’s comments earlier this week on Newsmax TV, MSNBC’s Al Sharpton argued that no circumstance justified Michael Brown being shot multiple times, using the logic that he was unarmed. This despite reports that Brown had charged and beat Officer Darren Wilson prior to the fatal shooting.

During a predictably soft interview with host Alex Wagner on the August 20 edition of Now, Sharpton insisted that “there was no life extenuating circumstances that anyone can figure out that required six bullets.” The PoliticsNation host decided to play the role of judge and jury, claiming that no one was even questioning his rush to judgment:

You've got to remember that there's no question Michael Brown had the civil right to not expect to be killed or shot multiple times. There's no dispute about that by police when he was unarmed and there was no life extenuating circumstance here. I mean, we're debating on whether he moved forward or not with the policemen, and most eyewitnesses say it didn't happen. But are we serious here? He never had a weapon.

Wagner offered no serious rebuttal to Sharpton’s presumptuous statement, adding that “there's a precedent for racial bias and police profiling and police brutality.” The segment wrapped with Sharpton outlining his eulogy planned for Michael Brown’s funeral next week.  He announced:

We also must say to America, that as they bury their son, we must bury this whole disparity of justice. There must be a solution where we can question those bad apples if they [are] proven to be that. They must be proven, in the police department, without looking un-American. We're doing it because we really believe in America more than those that want to protect us from bad apples. If you really believe in America, you believe in America's ability to be fair in how it dispenses justice.

The PoliticsNation host seems to have no issue adjudicating this complex and divisive case all on his own.


The relevant portion of the transcript is below.

MSNBC
Now with Alex Wagner
August 20, 2014
4:08 p.m. Eastern                                                                                                          

ALEX WAGNER, host: Let's talk a little bit about what Jelani Cobb was just saying, regarding – comparing this to Trayvon Martin. The fact that there was a trial for George Zimmerman and that outcome -- the fact that Darren Wilson, the police officer that is involved in the shooting who shot Michael Brown and killed him may not actually be – there is a possibility, a distinct possibility, that he will not be charged with anything. And I guess I wonder, do you think Attorney General Holder's involvement in the federal case will be enough for the community?

AL SHARPTON, host of PoliticsNation: I think that there is involvement, if it leads to two things, one that I'm hearing is of course they would love and really want: prosecution. And there's the possibility that if the evidence leads to that, that Mr. Holder and the federal government would do what they don’t trust the state government will do. Secondly, I think they want to see the federal government investigate the local police and the local district attorney’s handling of these cases.

Let's not forget this story that's out about a 2009 case, where a man allegedly was beaten by police and then charged with his blood destroying the police, uh, government property, which was the clothes of the cops that beat him. Now, if that’s true, and we’ve not been able to confirm it, but it’s certainly believed by a lot of the community and I’ve been down there as you know with the families several times now. There's reason they don't trust the local prosecutors and they want to see the federal government investigate. And they can investigate whether or not there's been racial disparities in how policing is and deal with policing on a civil level and deal with the officer on a criminal level.

[…]

SHARPTON: Well it should be America's agenda to preserve and protect the civil rights of people. You've got to remember that there's no question Michael Brown had the civil right to not expect to be killed or shot multiple times. There's no dispute about that by police when he was unarmed and there was no life extenuating circumstance here. I mean, we're debating on whether he moved forward or not with the policemen, and most eyewitnesses say it didn't happen. But are we serious here? He never had a weapon. There was no life extenuating circumstances that anyone can figure out that required six bullets. So you at least need to have this brought before a court of law because there's probable cause.

You must also remember, and I think I heard this over and over again when I was down there, one of the reasons the family and others are talking to people like me, we've been involved with the federal government came in. I was involved in the Rodney King case where the state acquitted the police with Rodney King and the federal government we got to come in with a lot of us and civil rights groups. Abner Louima, I was in the lead of a lot of community pressuring where we did get the local prosecutor in New York, not in Midwest or the South, to step aside and the federal government prosecuted. That policeman is still in jail today. And that happened 17 years ago. So there is a precedent for this. So in many ways they are acting like it's personal to Holder, there's a precedent where the federal government has done this.

WAGNER: Certainly. And there's a precedent for racial bias and police profiling and police brutality. Let me ask you, you are going to be giving the eulogy at Michael Brown's funeral next week. How have you begun to sort of collect your thoughts for that? And given all of these other cases that you have worked on and led the charge on, how is this one different in your experience?

SHARPTON: This is different because it really is at a time that we have so many cases. Eric Garner in Staten Island. The case in Los Angeles of the woman. America is at defining moment. So as we are there on Monday to give our condolences and love and support of a family, that will have a most difficult day in their life, we also must say to America, that as they bury their son, we must bury this whole disparity of justice. There must be a solution where we can question those bad apples if they be proven to be that. They must be proven, in the police department, without looking un-American. We're doing it because we really believe in America more than those that want to protect us from bad apples. If you really believe in America, you believe in America's ability to be fair in how it dispenses justice.

Connor Williams
Connor Williams
Connor Williams is a contributing writer for NewsBusters.