During an explosive exchange on Monday’s edition of “Hannity,” frequent Fox News guest and former Secret Service agent and police officer Dan Bongino tore into Fox News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera, taking issue with his analysis about the death of Rayshard Brooks and calling him “full of crap.”
The contentious conversation focused on the death of Brooks, an African-American man who was shot dead by an Atlanta police officer Friday night.
Police were summoned because Brooks fell asleep in his car, which was parked in a Wendy’s drive-thru lane, blocking traffic.
After Brooks failed a sobriety test, one of the officers attempted to arrest him. He then resisted arrest and grabbed one of the officer’s stun guns.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “[r]estaurant surveillance video released late Saturday by the GBI shows Brooks running away and then turn and appear to fire the Taser at the pursuing officers.”
It was at that point that now-fired Officer Garrett Rolfe shot Brooks in the back. Rolfe has now been charged with murder.
While Bongino acknowledged that “any death is a tragedy,” he argued that the police officers in Atlanta should not have handled the situation differently: “What would you do in this scenario? You had a subject who was pulled over and stopped for allegedly driving drunk. Are you going to let him take off in the car and potentially hurt someone?”
“What reasonable person wouldn’t respond to defend their own life?”
Rivera, on the other hand, argued that the police should have let Brooks go: “He’s a drunk driver. He’s running away with the taser. Where’s he going to run? How far is he going to run before he runs out of steam?”
At this point, Bongino began ripping into Rivera: “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Bongino went on to point out that Rivera had “never walked a foot post or engaged in a foot pursuit” in his life and therefore, he could not empathize with the difficult situation the officers found themselves in.
As Rivera attempted to defend himself, Bongino urged him to “stand down.” Bongino repeatedly shouted “you don’t know what you’re talking about” as Rivera continued speaking.
Bongino continued: “You are putting yourself in the shoes of a police officer. You have zero experience. You are full of crap and you know it!”
Rivera once again minimized the risks associated with letting Brooks walk free, asking “Where’s he going to go, Dan?”
Bongino reminded Rivera that Brooks “fled and pointed a stolen weapon in the face of a police officer in hot pursuit.” Rivera talked over Bongino and maintained that “you don’t get shot in the back for that” before accusing his fellow guest of “defending the indefensible.”
While it’s understandable that Rivera would be upset about Brooks’ death, his analysis fails to acknowledge what may have happened if Rolfe did not respond the way he did. As Bongino pointed out, “he engaged in an action that could have caused serious physical injury or death to the law enforcement officer.”
As the segment came to a close, Bongino told Rivera: “The only person humiliating themselves in this interview is you pretending you have any idea what you’re talking about.”
Conservative scholar Heather MacDonald, author of “The War on Cops,” explained another consequence of letting Brooks go free during an appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Wednesday: “What if he had walked home and gotten hit by a car? Then, the officers would also have been accused of murder and indifference to black life.”
Rivera and Bongino’s heated exchange reflects the fact that the country is on edge after George Floyd’s death as well as the shooting of Rayshard Brooks, both of which led to violent and destructive riots.
Regardless of the circumstances that preceded it, Bongino’s takedown of Rivera has already secured a spot on a list of the “most memorable cable news moments” of 2020.
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