MSNBC Host Hints Rioters No Worse Than Pro-Trump Protesters

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On Saturday morning, MSNBC weekend anchor Kendis Gibson had difficulty seeing a difference between peaceful anti-lockdown protesters in Michigan and violent protesters in Minnesota who are looting and committing arson — other than a racial difference — as he fretted over President Donald Trump condemning one, but not the other.

During a discussion of charges being brought against former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin over his role in the death of George Floyd, Gibson brought up President Trump tweeting support for the right-leaning protesters in Michigan, and then more recently against rioters in Minnesota:

KENDIS GIBSON: What do you make of the President’s reaction to all of this sort of protests? …  there were two tweets, Rochelle, from the President — one May 1st, one May 29th — the May 1st one where he says the Governor of Michigan “should give a little and put out the fire.” “These are very good people, but they’re angry.” The 29th one, of course, dealing with black folks, “These thugs are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd. I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to the governor. The military is on the way.”

The obvious difference that the Minnesota rioters are being violent, while demonstrators in Michigan were not, seemed to go completely over his head as he turned to former congressional counsel Rochelle Ritchie and asked: “What is the difference here? You had the armed white folks there in Michigan, and you had black folks who weren’t necessarily armed in Minnesota.”

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A bit earlier, the segment promoted the view that the prosecutor handling the Floyd case was not doing enough in spite of the arguments in favor of proceeding cautiously as Ritchie complained:

ROCHELLE RITCHIE, FORMER CONGRESSIOAL COUNSEL: I think it’s very upsetting that this chief prosecutor, Mike Freeman, tried to gain brownie points by insulting the Maryland state’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby in Baltimore city, by bringing up the Freddie Gray case. First of all, when he announced the charge of murder and manslaughter, he said it as if he was supposed to get a round of applause, but it was not until a reporter asked him what degree of murder that he said “third degree” because he feared it was a weak charge. So he tried to play off of the ignorance of people who don’t know the law and pacify us with these very weak and insulting charges of the murder for George Floyd.

Neither anchor pointed out that it is true that some prosecutions of police officers have failed to secure convictions because prosecutors went overboard by pursuing more serious murder charges that were more difficult to prove. 

Gibson further tried to undermine the prosecutor, Mike Freeman — notably a Democrat — as the MSNBC host followed up:

KENDIS GIBSON: And he also tried to do a little bit of celebration the previous day saying he’s the only prosecutor who has prosecuted a police officer for shooting somebody that was an Australian white woman — the cop was a black cop, but that was a whole other matter. But he didn’t point out those details.

It was not mentioned that Freeman had Officer Chauvin arrested much more quickly than Officer Mohamed Noor who was arrested eight months later. 

Later in the hour, MSNBC contributor Katie Phang did eventually point out that Freeman can decide to pursue more serious charges later against Chauvin after taking more time to study the evidence, so there’s no practical need to rush the case and risk botching it.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Saturday, May 30, MSNBC Live:

ROCHELLE RITCHIE, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL COUNSEL: And I think it’s very upsetting that this chief prosecutor, Mike Freeman, tried to gain brownie points by insulting the Maryland state’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby in Baltimore city, by bringing up the Freddie Gray case. First of all, when he announced the charge of murder and manslaughter, he said it as if he was supposed to get a round of applause, but it was not until a reporter asked him what degree of murder that he said “third degree” because he feared it was a weak charge. So he tried to play off of the ignorance of people who don’t know the law and pacify us with these very weak and insulting charges of the murder for George Floyd. 

KENDIS GIBSON: And he also tried to do a little bit of celebration the previous day saying he’s the only prosecutor who has prosecuted a police officer for shooting somebody that was an Australian white woman — the cop was a black cop, but that was a whole other matter. But he didn’t point out those details.

What do you make of the President’s reaction to all of this sort of protests? I brought it up the last hour, but there were two tweets, Rochelle, from the President  — one May 1st, one May 29 — the May 1st one where he says the Governor of Michigan “should give a little and put out the fire.” “These are very good people, but they’re angry.” The 29th one, of course, dealing with black folks, “These thugs are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd. I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to the governor. The military is on the way.” What is the difference here? You had the armed white folks there in Michigan, and you had black folks who weren’t necessarily armed in Minnesota. 

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