CNN host Don Lemon was perplexed by the violence that erupted in Ferguson after the St. Louis County grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson, and turned to Rev. Jesse Jackson for an explanation.
“It went in front of our legal and judicial process and the outcome was the outcome and we must abide by it. The lawlessness and the violence is really — it should not have happened and there should be no excuses made for it,” Lemon said to Jackson on Tuesday morning.
Jackson explained that while he does not approve of violence, the Ferguson community is in a lot of pain.
“There is a body of people who after a long train of abuses, Don, people simply explode,” he said.
Lemon remained focused on the violence and looting following the grand jury’s decision, and continued to ask Jackson why some people failed to remain peaceful.
“The whole thing starts with an unarmed teenager shot in his own neighborhood six times and left to rot in the street in the sun for four and a half hours. That is the beginning of the origins. The origin didn’t start with looting, it started with shooting,” Jackson responded. “Therefore both violence must end on both sides. Then we might move toward tranquility.”
Lemon then asked multiple times how Jackson could “make excuses” for looters in Ferguson.
“I don’t want to speak for you, that you’re making excuses for the bad doers,” the CNN host said. “So what do you want to leave with people? What is your message going forward?”
“I am not making excuses going forward. I’m giving an analysis that compounded injustice leads to anarchy and justice leads to peace,” Jackson answered. “I am fundamentally an advocate of non-violence but I understand how pain plays out when it’s compounded, and it is a long train of abuses.”
Lemon then suggested that the violence in Ferguson was a change from peaceful protests in the 60s.
“Reverend, part of your legacy is that you marched with Dr. King peacefully, non-violent protests,” he said. “What has changed in our culture and our society that people result — resort to things that played out here last night in Ferguson?”
“You do know that when Dr. King was alive we had the Watts riots and the Newark riots and the Detroit riots and Chicago,” Jackson responded, adding that “police action triggered those riots.”
“Blacks are ten times more likely to be arrested. That matters. And for juries to look in the face of killed young blacks and say that jury was justified in letting them go through, that’s a bitter pill to swallow,” Jackson added.
Watch part of the exchange: