Megyn Kelly: Aren't charges against cop in unarmed black man's murder proof "the system is working"?

She also questioned whether Ray Tensing should be charged with murder if he "just panicked"


Scott Eric Kaufman
July 30, 2015 6:30PM (UTC)

On "The Kelly File" Wednesday night, the titular host was joined by former Los Angeles Police Department detective Mark Fuhrman and syndicated radio host Richard Fowler to discuss the decision to charge the University of Cincinnati Police Department's Ray Tensing with murder in the shooting death of Samuel Dubose.

Fuhrman began by defending the legality of the stop. He didn't acknowledge that it was understandable why Dubose believed that he only needed a rear license plate, given that legislators have been publicly debating a bill on the matter for quite some time, focusing instead on the fact that it was "a probable cause stop, he wanted to stop the car, so he found a reason to."

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"He's polite, he demands things politely," he added. "I suspect that what occurred here is that as he was working against the driver pulling the door shut, and as he's going for his weapon, it discharges. He's just trying to make an accidental shooting look like a probable cause shooting, a justified shooting."

Kelly pointed out that Tensing blatantly lied to other officers as they arrived, saying that "he tried to run me over" and "my hand was stuck, he was dragging me," and Fowler agreed that the video directly contradicted those statements.

After Fowler described the killing as a murder, however, Kelly jumped back in, questioning whether there really was "malice aforethought" in Tensing's actions, or whether he "just panicked."

"Do you see somebody who just doesn't know what he's doing and makes a ridiculous decision in the heat of the moment?" she asked. Fowler replied by noting that is possible for Tensing to both not have known what he was doing and have murdered Dubose.

Kelly switched topics at this point, saying that "the narrative" that's coming out of this case is "See? There go cops again, just gunning down black people in the middle of the street for no reason."

Fuhrman explained that "if you're going to cherry-pick each and every case, you're going to find cases going back years."

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Kelly played off that, asking Fowler whether the charges against Tensing were proof "that the system's working."

"Here's the thing," he replied, "the system is still broken, Megyn. The fact that this officer shot an unarmed African-American man at point-blank range in the head shows that there's something wrong with the entirety of the justice system."

"It does?" she asked. "It impugns the entire justice system?"

Fowler explained that the reformation has to start at the bottom, with the police departments who are arresting people, but Kelly balked at having that discussion, asking instead whether he believes "somebody is sending a message to that cop saying it's OK to murder somebody for missing a front license plate?"

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Neither Fowler nor Fuhrman had a chance to answer that question, however, as she closed the segment there. As unsatisfying of a note as that was to end a segment on, at least she didn't close it out by crowning herself black America's greatest champion like someone on her network did last night/>.

Watch the entire segment below via Fox News.

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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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Mark Fuhrman Megyn Kelly Ray Tensing Richard Fowler Samuel Debose The Kelly File




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