In the wake of recent social unrest following officer-involved shootings of two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana, Jesse Jackson fanned the flames of resentment – even claiming Ferguson, Missouri, Officer Darren Wilson is a “killer” who “walked away” after the death of Michael Brown.
And that’s the kind of rhetoric that gets America’s cops killed, says Jeff Roorda, a retired police officer and a four-term Missouri representative who served as the go-to police commentator in the wake of the Brown shooting.
“There’s such a backlog of these killings of blacks without any consequences,” Jackson charged during a July 10 appearance on “Fox & Friends Sunday.” “Rodney King was beaten and was on camera, and the police walked away. … Trayvon Martin, the killer walked away. Michael Brown, Ferguson, the killer walked away.”
Jackson failed to note that George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch coordinator in Florida who shot Martin in February 2012, was acquitted by a jury.
Also, a grand jury chose not to indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who shot Brown in August of 2014. Additionally, the Department of Justice cleared Wilson, concluding that the officer shot Brown in self-defense.
Watch Jesse Jackson’s statements during his July 10 appearance on “Fox & Friends Sunday”:
But Jeff Roorda told WND Jackson is perpetuating a false narrative and encouraging anti-cop violence with his rhetoric.
“I find it alarming and profoundly disappointing that Reverend Jackson has chosen to ignore indisputable facts by clinging to the now debunked notion that Darren Wilson gunned-down Michael Brown in cold blood in the streets of Ferguson,” he said. “This dangerous hate speech only serves to exacerbate an already volatile situation.”
Roorda, now the business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association and author of the upcoming WND book, “The War on Police: How the Ferguson Effect is Making America Unsafe,” continued:
“Words have consequences. By ignoring the facts in the Wilson case and so many other cases, national leaders at the highest level are missing one opportunity after another to urge calm and peaceful deliberation in these high-profile police encounters. By fostering false narratives and injecting race into cases where there is no evidence that race played a role, voices of authority are telling young black men that there is a concerted effort by law enforcement to victimize and murder them. That sort of irresponsible rhetoric emboldens young men to take up arms in Ferguson, Baltimore, Dallas and many, many other places.”
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In fact, in a separate interview with CNN, Roorda said the inflammatory rhetoric over the last two years led to the moment in Dallas, Texas, Thursday in which five police officers were shot to death and nine others wounded by black nationalist Micah Xavier Johnson. Johnson also injured two civilians.
“It stirs the exact emotions that we saw in that sick human being that took these five police officers’ lives. … Those confrontations (between police and black young black men) can just as easily end with a police officer dead. We ought to talk about the underlying problems that lead to those deadly confrontations instead of all this hate speech against police and all this dishonestly about what’s really happening here.”
Watch Roorda in a debate with CNN political analyst Angela Rye:
As WND reported, following the shooting of Brown, 18, Ferguson and surrounding areas erupted in protests and riots, with activists decrying the killing of a black teen by a white officer and bringing forth the now-widely known Black Lives Matter movement. The nation watched weeks of racially charged protests accompanied by looting, riots, Molotov cocktails, gunfire, bricks and burned buildings.
According to police, Wilson reported ordering Brown and Dorian Johnson, who were walking in the middle of a street, to move to the sidewalk. Amid the confrontation, Wilson heard a radio dispatch reporting the convenience store robbery and realized Brown and Johnson fit the descriptions of the suspects.
Surveillance video of the robbery appeared to show Brown strong-arming a clerk as he stole a box of cigars.
Johnson claimed Wilson pulled up in his squad car and said: “Get the ‘F’ on the sidewalk.”
He alleged the officer, from inside his vehicle, “grabbed my friend around the neck” and “was trying to choke my friend.” He said Wilson then tried to pull Brown into the car, drew his weapon and said, “I’ll shoot you.”
Johnson said, in the “same moment, the first shot went off.”
He said Brown was shot and then stopped, raising his hands, but the officer continued shooting him.
In contrast, the police report said Brown pushed Wilson into his squad car, assaulted him and struggled to get the officer’s weapon. A shot was fired in the car before the struggle moved to the street, where Wilson fired his gun multiple times as Brown rushed toward him.
A source close to the department’s top brass told Fox News that Wilson suffered severe facial injuries and was nearly beaten unconscious by Brown moments before the gun was fired.
Official county autopsy reports concluded Brown had marijuana in his system and that he was shot at least six times from the front, which supported claims he was running toward Wilson.
After a grand jury found no wrongdoing on Wilson’s part, Jackson, livid at the decision, traveled to Ferguson. He claimed he was seeking justice for Brown.
“The fact is, for three-and-a-half months, this was no jury of substance,” Jackson told a Missouri crowd. “No jury of integrity. No real America. This was a hangman’s noose. It’s not right, and we all deserve better.”
Meanwhile, despite Jackson’s claim that Wilson “walked away” after the death of Brown, NPR reported last summer that the ex-cop has been in hiding with his family.
A spokesman for the Ferguson Police Department said he is unable to put WND in contact with Wilson. A message left with Wilson’s lawyer went unreturned.
The New Yorker’s Jake Halperin met with Wilson in August.
Halperin told NPR, “You get the sense of a guy who was not leaving his house hardly at all.”
At the time, Wilson and his wife were reportedly unemployed, and Wilson told Halperin he is unemployable.
Asked if Wilson feels “betrayed” by the Ferguson Police Department, Halperin said, “Yeah. I think he does. Wilson claims that the department told him if he came back to the force, he would be putting them in danger. Wilson said they put that on me. So I think he feels that he was. … [H]is wife also was a police officer on the force. And she doesn’t go back because she doesn’t want to be on the street and known as his wife. So now they’re both unemployed and can’t find work, and I think that has created this sense of bitterness. …
“One of the most powerful parts he said to me – ‘When we go out in public, there are three [things] we never say: Darren Wilson, Michael Brown and Ferguson. … He’s trying to somehow excise that from his life, and it’s just obviously impossible.”
Brown’s parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Wilson. They’re seeking punitive and compensatory damages in excess of $75,000, plus attorney fees.
Even after referring to Wilson as a “killer” who “walked away” in his interview with Fox on Sunday, Jackson said he is hoping America will choose reconciliation.
“There’s a backlog of pain, and somehow we must look at the issue of violence on the one hand, which is almost diversionary [inaudible] issue of poverty and racial disparity. We must not just focus on police but on the issue of poverty and racial disparity and figure out in this very tough season here how to choose reconciliation over retaliation and revenge.”