Fox Host Claims Viewers Were Up In Arms Over Ex-Cop’s Argument On Rayshard Brooks

Credit: photo David Levensonwww.davidlevenson.com07836 358831mail@davidlevenson.com
HAY-ON-WYE, WALES - MAY 28: Steve Hilton, Stanford academic and former political advisor, at the Hay Festival, on May 28, 2016 in Hay-on-Wye, Wales. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
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June 15, 2020 1:09 p.m.

Fox News’ Steve Hilton said viewers were “fired up” when former police officer Joe Ested made an argument on his Sunday night show that officers were not following protocol when they shot and killed Rayshard Brooks, a black man, outside of a Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta on Friday.

The former police officer said that had the Atlanta police who killed Brooks followed training protocol Brooks’ death could have been prevented.

Ested’s strong criticism of the police clashed with the perspective of former NYPD commissioner and recurring Fox News guest Bernard Kerik, who served under then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Kerik has consistently appeared on Fox News in recent weeks and has swatted away claims that there is a problem with systemic racism in policing.

Kerik, who appeared before Ested on the show Sunday, was given free and uninterrupted reign to criticize Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for suggesting that the use of force that killed Brooks was unnecessary. He also rebuked the mayor’s call for the officers involved in Brooks’ death to be fired.

Kerik’s comments also come after he recently defended the police officers who injured 75-year old protester Martin Gugino in Buffalo, New York in a viral video that shows Gugino tumbling to the ground and bleeding from his head after a forceful — and seemingly unprovoked — push from an officer. 

Kerik was police chief in 2001, when he made the decision that sent shocks of grief throughout black communities to reassign rather than fire the officers, who before his tenure, shot Bronx man Amadou Diallo 19 times, killing him. 

With such a record of defending the police, it is unsurprising that Kerik also told Fox News’ Jeanne Pirro on Saturday that “thugs” in the Atlanta community should be told not to attack police.

But it was Ested, who also authored a book on the subject, “Police Brutality Matters,” who seemed to upset the ranks of blue uniform supporters when he condemned the actions of Garrett Rolfe the officer who was fired Sunday.

“The community right now is screaming for accountability for bad policing,” Ested said. “That’s called bad policing what we just witnessed. Bad policing.”

It was this rebuke of law enforcement that drew fire from Fox viewers, who apparently shot back at Ested over Twitter during the interview. In a move that seemed as though engineered to sooth enraged Fox viewers, Hilton interrupted Ested, conceding even more time to Kerik to pile on further support of the officers — urging that they be given “the benefit of the doubt.”

None of Ested’s interview was shown on Fox News on Monday, in spite of the re-airing of other elements from the program that featured Kerik’s defense of the officers.

Media Matters’ John Whitehouse flagged the exchange Monday morning:

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