Fox News host Bill O’Reilly criticized protesters in Ferguson, Missouri on Monday night and minimized fatal police shootings against Black men during a phone interview with guest host Eric Bolling.
“‘No justice, no peace’? These people don’t want justice,” O’Reilly told Bolling. “What if the facts come out and say it was a justifiable shooting by the police officer, [that] this guy was coming at him? What if they say that? You think these people are going to accept that?”
O’Reilly argued that, according to FBI statistics from 2012, the yearly ratio of 420 fatal police shootings compared to 12 million arrests defused charges that police unfairly targeted the Black community.
“This is an infinitesimal situation,” O’Reilly said. “It doesn’t happen, and those people who run in to Ferguson or any other city and say that the police are hunting down young Black men are lying. And they’re grossly insulting law enforcement across the country. Because this stat shows it all.”
O’Reilly did not mention that, as USA Today reported on Friday, the study in question only counted data from 750 out of 17,000 law enforcement agencies around the country. Nor did he mention that this type of data is only reported voluntarily.
“There is no national database for this type of information, and that is so crazy,” University of South Carolina criminologist Geoff Alpert told USA Today. “We’ve been trying for years, but nobody wanted to fund it and the [police] departments didn’t want it. They were concerned with their image and liability. They don’t want to bother with it.”
On Monday, O’Reilly said he supported President Barack Obama’s decision to send Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson to supervise the federal investigation into the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown last week.
“The state authorities there have botched the case,” O’Reilly said. “And the local authorities are the Keystone Kops. So let’s get the feds in and do a transparent investigation. That’s what every good American should want — to know the truth, finally.”
At the same time, the O’Reilly Factor host defended the heavily-criticized decision by local police to release footage of a confrontation between Brown and a convenience store owner prior to the shooting.
“A smear? How can facts be a smear?” O’Reilly asked. “How is that possible? If you want a transparent investigation — which I do, you have to put the facts out.”
O’Reilly did not mention that Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Brown, was not aware of Brown’s encounter at the convenience store when he ordered Brown to stop walking on the street before the shooting happened.
Watch O’Reilly’s commentary, as aired on Monday, below.