Fox News' Elisabeth Hasselbeck justifies Sandra Bland's arrest: She could have used cigarette as a weapon

The "Fox & Friends" host suggested cops should live in perpetual fear of everyday objects and overreact accordingly


Scott Eric Kaufman
July 27, 2015 10:12PM (UTC)

On Monday's edition of "Fox & Friends," Elisabeth Hasselbeck speculated that an "irritated" Sandra Bland could have "attacked" Officer Brian Encinia with her cigarette, because the co-host is "sure someone has, in the history of this land, used a cigarette against a police officer."

Putting aside the fact that "the history of this land" contains a nearly infinite number of otherwise innocent objects that could, in a pinch, be used by someone, somewhere as a weapon. At this very moment, I have access to pens, a lamp, a cup of rapidly cooling green tea, not to mention the very keyboard on which I type these words -- any one of which could conceivably be used to attack another human being.

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Just because I could toss a cup of lukewarm green tea at any police officer who walks into my office doesn't mean that, should a police officer actually enter my office, he or she should feel immediately threatened by my Bigelow. There's no logic to that logic -- it's effectively a license to live in perpetual fear of everyday objects, and Hasselback wants to grant it to law enforcement.

But Hasselbeck continued, albeit oddly, stopping and starting almost as if her brain didn't want allow her mouth to eject the words it'd ordered her to say. "What if, I mean, there are times, I’m sure, someone has, in the history of this land, used a cigarette against a police officer,” Hasselbeck said. “Maybe chucked it at him -- pushed it at him?"

"Absolutely," former New York Police Department officer John Rafferty replied.

"If [Officer Encinia] indeed felt it could be a potential threat, was that the wise thing to do?" she asked, referring to Encinia's ordering Bland out of the car, then yanking her out when she didn't immediately comply with his order.

"I think because you know, you have to know you’re being recorded — you have to say, ‘Listen, I need you to step out to sign this warning,'" Rafferty said.

"I wouldn’t want somebody stepping out with a cigarette," he added. "I’ve had somebody try to put a cigarette out on me. It happens. I guarantee, you speak to many cops out there. But the way you say it, unfortunately you’re locked into it. Because now, it’s being recorded. Unfortunately, these officers have to remember that."

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Watch the video below via Media Matters.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Black Lives Matter Elisabeth Hasselbeck Fox & Friends Fox News Police Brutality Sandra Bland Video

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