CNN’s “New Day” panel discussion on race relations and law enforcement descended into absolute chaos Monday morning after one of the guests, former NYPD detective and analyst Harry Houck, heatedly argued that black people are “prone to criminality.”
Talking about the police killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, he said activists should stop claiming that blacks were being “picked on” by law enforcement and proceeded to slam “racial demagogues” for wrongfully complaining about “disparities of blacks and whites in jails.”
“In New York City alone, blacks are 23 percent [of the population],” Houck said, launching into a list of statistics. “They make up 75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, 60 percent of all violent crimes. White only 3 percent. That is why there are more blacks in jail than there are whites.”
Although host Chris Cuomo tried to keep things under control, the discussion turned into a shouting match after CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill exclaimed, “Harry just went on national TV and said black people are prone to criminality,” and Houck replied with, “Well, they are.”
“You think black people are prone to criminality?” Hill asked furiously. “You don’t mean to say that. I’m going to give you a chance to correct [yourself]. You don’t mean that black people are prone to criminality.”
While Hill blamed the statistical gap on the “system that is dysfunctional,” the third panelist, former NYPD Chief Philip Banks who remained quiet throughout the dispute, took a moderate approach to the matter.
“It doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of good cops,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that law enforcement doesn’t serve communities through. It means that changes have to be made, talks need to be stopped, and action needs to take place.”
The truth is, police shootings do affect African Americans more than any other demographic. The Washington Post reported in an analysis that of the unarmed men shot and killed by police in 2015, at least 40 percent were black, who (interestingly) only make up 6 percent of the population.
Watch the complete exchange between Harry Houck and Marc Lamont Hill in the video above.