Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani faced immediate online backlash yesterday morning after he asked why people protest the killing of unarmed Ferguson, Missouri, teenager Michael Brown but not black-on-black crime.
"Ninety-three percent of blacks are killed by other blacks,” Giuliani said, triggering a heated argument on NBC's ''Meet the Press.' "I would like to see the attention paid to that that you are paying to this.”
Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson, a frequent MSNBC pundit, said Giuliani was applying a "false equivalency" to the situation in Ferguson, where a grand jury will soon decide whether to charge Officer Darren Wilson in Brown's shooting death.
"Black people who kill black people go to jail,” Dyson said. "White people who are policemen who kill black people do not go to jail.”
"What about the poor black child that was killed by another black child?” Giuliani asked. "Why aren't you protesting that?... Why don't you cut it down so that so many white police officers don't have to be in black areas?”
"When I become mayor, I’ll do that,” replied Dyson, exasperated.
"White police officers wouldn’t be there,” Giuliani said, "if you weren’t killing each other.”
The comments followed a "Meet the Press" segment about disproportionately white police forces serving far more diverse populations. White officers dominate forces in most large US cities, a Washington Post analysis found. Only three out of 53 police officers are black in Ferguson, where two-thirds of the population is black.
Most murder in the United States is intra-racial, according to data from the Justice Department: White people are more likely to kill white people, and black people are more likely to kill black people.
Nearly 84 per cent of white victims from 1980 to 2008 were killed by white assailants, the department's numbers show. During the same period, 93 per cent of black victims were murdered by someone of the same race.
Some Twitter users responded with outrage, calling Giuliani’s comments racist.