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Several high-profile figures in the entertainment industry and the media believe that the fatal police shooting this week of 16-year-old black teen Ma’khia Bryant was unjustified and that the situation should have been handled differently.
Bryant died Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio, when a responding police officer opened fire a second before she stabbed another black teen with a knife.
Despite video footage clearly showing that the other teen would have been impaled — likely fatally — had the officer not taken swift action, Bryant’s death provoked outrage and condemnation from some sectors (not all) of the left, including media.
One rare exception was CNN’s Don Lemon, surprisingly enough, who bluntly noted in a segment Wednesday night that “police have jobs to do” — and in this case, they had had no other reasonable choice but to open fire to protect the other teen.
The vast majority of media figures disagreed, including the co-hosts of ABC’s “The View.” Referencing Lemon’s remarks, on Wednesday two co-hosts in particular, Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin, made the case that Lemon’s assessment was wrong and that the officer could have responded in any number of others ways.
“Shoot the gun in the air as a warning, tase a person, shoot them in the leg, shoot them in the behind. Stop them somehow. But if the only solution is to kill a teenager, there’s something wrong with this,” Behar said.
“There’s something very, very wrong with the way these things are being conducted. Even if the cop had to do it, there’s something wrong with it. I can’t explain it any better than that,” she added.
“Don is wrong here. You know, my question is, you know, why is deadly force always the first order of business and especially the first order of business when it comes to black and brown people in this country? I mean, when is it okay and why is it okay?” she said.
“We shouldn’t live in a country, quite frankly, where it’s acceptable for the police to shoot a 16-year-old four times in the chest over a fight. It goes from zero to execution very, very quickly when there is a black or brown person involved. That is just the truth,” she added.
By no means were Behar and Hostin alone in their complaints. Over even on Fox News, one contributor, Juan Williams, also endorsed the warning shot idea.
“I guess I would shoot the gun, not necessarily at somebody, but maybe shoot the gun and maybe run at the person and try to disarm them, like I don’t know,” he said Thursday on Fox News’ “The Five.”
“So wait, wait, wait. You would shoot the gun in the air like a warning shot?” co-host Jesse Watters then asked for clarification.
“Ah, well, hopefully to distract her and tried to stall or something so I could get — or my partner could get the knife away,” Williams then confirmed.
Even local “journalists” suggested the idea of doing something — anything — else.
Watch below as a local “journalist” asks interim Columbus police Chief Michael Woods why the responding officer hadn’t just shot Bryant in the leg:
The police chief responded by pointing out that officers are trained to target center mass to prevent innocent bystanders from being accidentally hit.
“We don’t train to shoot the leg because that’s a small target. We train to shoot center mass, what is available to stop that threat. There was a threat going on, a deadly force threat going on, so the officer is trained to shoot center mass, the largest part of a body that is available to them,” he explained.
“When you try to start shooting legs or arms, rounds miss, and then they continue on and there’s people behind that that could be in danger that are not committing anything. So we try to minimize any danger to anyone else if we have to use our firearm,” the chief added.
In fairness to the journalist, he admitted that his question was “silly” and that he was just trying to provide clarification for all the people on social media who’d been asking that same question. This seemed like a reasonable excuse.
Behar, Hostin and Williams appeared to have no reasonable excuse for their stunning lack of knowledge regarding how guns work and how policing works.
As noted by the National Fraternal Order of Police in a stern tweet posted Thursday in response to Behar and Hostin’s commentary, warning shots are prohibited nationwide:
.@joyvbehar, if you’re going to comment on police matters, have the decency to educate yourself first. You owe it to your viewers. Warning shots are prohibited by every agency in this country. Also, you might want to take a physics lesson… what goes up, must come down. https://t.co/8yBmBBuVPq
— National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (@GLFOP) April 22, 2021
Why? Because of science. Every year people needlessly die because someone decides to fire his or her gun in the air in celebration of some event.
On Jan. 1st, 2020, Philippa Ashfod, a black Texas woman, died:
NEW: Philippa Ashford, 61, was the woman shot and killed by celebratory gunfire, minutes into 2020. — @HCSOTexas
Ashford was standing in front of her house launching fireworks w family/friends when the stray bullet hit her.
No reason for this. #abc13 https://t.co/Zfl5VrARUs pic.twitter.com/JqJqOtDc5L
— Courtney Fischer (@CourtneyABC13) January 1, 2020
In 2013, the victim was Aaliyah Boyer, a 10-year-old black girl:
Aaliyah Boyer, age 10. Accidentally shot to death by New Year’s Eve #CelebratoryGunfire two years ago. #GunFAIL pic.twitter.com/5I5BT5Xp2O
— David Waldman-1, of Yorktown LLC™ (@KagroX) January 2, 2015
Neither in the case of Ashfod nor in the case of Boyer did Behar, Hostin and Williams ever speak out. But in the case of Bryant, who’d been on the verge of potentially killing another black teen when she was shot, they decided to make an exception …
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