Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) accused National Public Radio host David Brown of causing police officer deaths by questioning him about current events during an interview about the murder of Houston Deputy Darren Goforth.
Goforth was ambushed while pumping gas on Friday, the Houston Chronicle reports. Shannon Miles, the man accused in the shooting, had spent an unknown amount of time in a psychiatric institution before the shooting.
Brown asked Patrick about a statement this week telling Texans to address police officers respectfully and pick up their tabs at restaurants. Some have pointed out that respect is earned, Brown said, and added that many have been troubled by videos posted online that show police officers abusing people physically or killing them while they are unarmed.
“There’s a lot of skepticism out there. How do you convince those people?” Brown asked.
Patrick, a radio personality by trade, responded by telling Brown that asking critical questions results in police officers dying, saying:
“You know, your type of interview has to stop. When I was asked to do an interview on NPR, I asked myself, ‘do I really want to do this? They’re not in the police officers’ corner.’ And you’ve proven that by your interview… Yes there are people in every profession who cross the line and should be fired. Quit focusing on that small percentage of those in law enforcement who have made a mistake or broken the law themselves. Focus on the men and women that you and your family depend on every day to protect your life.”
Law enforcement officials were quick to link Goforth’s killing to the Black Lives Matter movement, which sprang up in response to the large number of police killings of unarmed people of color. Leaders from the movement have called that irresponsible.
“It is unfortunate that Sheriff Hickman has chosen to politicize this tragedy and to attribute the officer’s death to a movement that seeks to end violence,” Deray McKesson told CBS News.
Patrick called the killing of Goforth a hate crime.
“I’m tired of this ‘certain lives matter.’ All lives do matter, and particularly law enforcement,” Patrick said in the interview. “There is a war on police by some people.”
Patrick blamed the rhetoric that has cropped up, pointing out a chant during an anti-police brutality march in Minnesota on Saturday. According to CBS News, the march was peaceful. Some in the group chanted, “pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon,” which had officers patrolling the march upset.
Brown quickly pointed out there is a difference between “rhetoric” and actions, saying “words are words.”
Patrick shot back that there have been seven officers killed in August and two in September.
“Let’s not make this political speak,” he said. “Let’s talk about it as it is… At some point, if this war on police continues, you are going to find fewer and fewer men and women who are willing to do that job.”
On Wednesday, Monica Foy, a university student from Houston, was arrested after tweeting negatively about Goforth after the killing. According to the Chronicle, she asked why so many people cared about his death and suggested he may have deserved to be killed. She then deleted the tweet and later tweeted simply #blacklivesmatter.
A Montgomery County Sheriff’s spokesperson told the Chronicle the department “received a call” that she had an outstanding warrant and was arrested at her home after deputies “checked the system.”‘
According to the website Fatal Encounters, which tracks killings by U.S. police officers, 726 people have been killed by police in 2015. According to the website Killed By Police, which also tracks police killings, 105 people were killed by police in the month of August. Six people were killed by police in the month of September so far.
Listen to the full interview here: