Chris Hayes was determined Tuesday night to repudiate a narrative that’s emerged following the decision by the Ferguson, Mo. grand jury to not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown.
“There are so many issues here that Mike Brown and Ferguson represent that are broader than what happened on Canfield Drive [where Brown was shot in August],” Hayes told NBC legal analyst Lisa Bloom. “But I refuse to allow people to not be factual about what we did and did not learn from the grand jury testimony.”
He was addressing the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture, which has become the latest focal point in the simmering debate over Ferguson. The gesture has long been a sign of solidarity with Brown, who allegedly his hands up when he was killed by Wilson in August. Hayes used the outset of his show to push back against critics who have disputed that claim.
“Now there is a narrative that we see in certain quarters that the gesture itself of putting your hands up is to perpetuate a lie about the last moments of Michael Brown’s life, as if the grand jury testimony and the forensic evidence definitively show that Mike Brown was not shot with his hands in the air,” Hayes said.
He continued: “While that is how the evidence has been framed by [St. Louis County prosecuting attorney] Bob McCulloch and many others, that is not what is actually in the thousands of pages of grand jury documents.”
One of the “quarters” where that narrative has sprouted has been in Hayes’ own backyard. Several hours before Hayes delivered his impassioned fact-check, his fellow MSNBC colleague Joe Scarborough took to his seldom-updated blog on Politico to opine on the gesture.
“Actually, it is offensive because the gesture suggests that a police officer pointed a gun and shot a black man whose arms were in the air while he said ‘hands up, don’t shoot,'” Scarborough wrote. “The fact is that there is no credible evidence that remotely supports the absurd claim that ever happened. But then again, protesters also falsely claimed that Officer Darren Wilson stood over Michael Brown while shooting bullets into his dying body.”
The gesture has become Scarborough’s latest bête noire. On Monday, he railed against the five St. Louis Rams football players who made the gesture before their most recent game against the Oakland Raiders.
The St. Louis Police Association urged the team to punish the players, and Scarborough said the cops had “every reason to be pissed off this morning.”
It’s unclear if Hayes’ commentary was a veiled shot at his colleague. But Scarborough, who’s taken digs at MSNBC’s more liberal-minded hosts in the past, appeared to all but call out Hayes during an animated discussion on Wednesday’s “Morning Joe.”
“A cop is not out on the street going, ‘You know what I’m going to do today? I’m going to move our society forward,’” Scarborough shouted. “A cop on the street has one job and the job is to protect the people in that neighborhood. It is not to make a statement that makes primetime people on MSNBC feel better about America.”
“All In with Chris Hayes” airs in primetime.
MSNBC, for its part, is brushing off the disagreements between Hayes and Scarborough.
“MSNBC embraces diverse opinions on our network,” a spokesperson told TPM in an email. “Our hosts often have strong points of view, and they aren’t always going to agree.”
Watch the Hayes video on MSNBC’s website.
Watch Scarborough below:
This post has been updated.