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Giuliani and Dyson Argue Over Violence in Black Communities

The author and the former mayor got into a heated exchange over race and policing in America.
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Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Georgetown Professor Michael Eric Dyson got into a heated exchange over policing in black communities Sunday morning on Meet the Press.

After Giuliani expressed sympathy towards the grand jurors deciding whether or not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown, Dyson defend the outrage of the protesters. Dyson said Governor Nixon’s decision to preemptively enact a state of emergency sent the wrong signal, sparking a heated debate on race.

“Mayor Giuliani speaks about what's, you know, unconscionable and what should be indicted. What should be indicted is the criminal justice system that continues to impose undue burdens on African American, Latino, and other poor people,” Dyson explained.

Giuliani disagreed, saying people aren’t focused on the reason behind the heavy police presence seen in black communities. “We are talking about the significant exception, 93% of blacks are killed by other blacks,” Giuliani argued.

Dyson called that a false equivalency, saying police officers are agents of the state sworn to uphold the law. “Black people who kill black people go to jail. White people who are policemen who kill black people do not go to jail,” Dyson responded. “If a jury can indict a ham sandwich, why is it taking so long?”

Giuliani continued to argue that the problem is rooted in the black community. “What about the poor black child that is killed by another black child? Why aren't you protesting that,” Giuliani asked Dyson.

The tense exchange continued as Dyson argued that most criminals involved in black on black violence end up in jail. That’s when Giuliani interrupted to ask, “why don’t you cut it down so so many white police officers don’t have to be in black areas?”

“The white police officers wouldn’t be there if you weren’t killing each other 70-75% of the time,” Giuliani said a few seconds later.

“Look at this! This is the defensive mechanism of white supremacy in your mind sir!” Dyson concluded.

Giuliani also defended Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s decision to preemptively enact a state of emergency, saying it’s hard to second guess a governor.

“I would have had a state of emergency, but I would have kept it quiet,” Giuliani said. “In other words I would have kept my police on alert, I’d have kept them in places you couldn’t see them, be ready in a moment’s notice to stop any violence,” he explained to NBC’s Chuck Todd.

— Shaquille Brewster