Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Wednesday night brought on Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons to discuss the Eric Garner case and crime in the black community.
Simmons on Monday described the lack of indictments for police officers as “lightning striking the black community over and over and over again.”
After playing a clip of this line, O’Reilly asked Simmons why there is conflict between the police and African-Americans.
“I believe the strife between poor black and the police is driven by black crime. That’s the nexus point. Do you believe that?” O’Reilly asked.
“No,” Simmons responded. “I believe that we can make a good relationship between the police and community with sensitivity training both for the community and for the police.”
O’Reilly acknowledged that Garner’s death was troubling, but again repeated his views on crime in the black community.
“The bigger issue that you are not acknowledging is that the astronomical crime rate among young black men — violent crime — drives suspicion and hostility on the part of the police, who have to be confronted with it,” he said.
Simmons responded by arguing that “if there is crime or prison culture that ensues in the black community” it’s due to the “War on Drugs.”
“Ninety-five percent of the people who go to jail for non-violent, first-time offenses, are people of color,” he said.
O’Reilly then asked if “selling heroine and crack on the street” is a violent crime. Simmons did not answer at first.
“Am I invisible? Are you hearing me?” O’Reilly pressed.
The two then argued over drugs and violence, leading them to express how difficult it is to converse with each other.
“You are a good man, but you are so desperately wrong it pains me to talk to you,” O’Reilly said.
“I feel the same way about you, Bill, but I like you,” Simmons responded.
Watch the video via Fox News: