This is a story about what happens when a guest on Fox News speaks the truth.
Steve Hilton’s Sunday night Fox News show started as one would expect, with a brief and unremarkable update from Steve Harrigan, who was reporting from Atlanta, where Rayshard Brooks was shot twice in the back and killed by police on Friday night.
Immediately after that report, Hilton brought in Bernie Kerik, a Trump pardon recipient and former New York Police Department commissioner under then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Kerik has been a staple on Fox News and Fox Business in recent weeks, where he has dismissed the idea of systemic racism in policing, defended the police officers who injured 75-year old protester Martin Gugino, called for Trump to send in an “enormous amount” of force into cities, and spread a conspiracy theory that financier George Soros is behind all recent protests against police brutality.
On Saturday night, Kerik appeared on Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News show where he commented on Brooks’ killing by saying that “thugs” in the community should be told not to attack police.
He continued much in the same vein with Hilton on Sunday. Given nearly eight minutes to talk, Kerik repeatedly defended the officers who killed Brooks, saying police officers deserve the benefit of the doubt until a full investigation is concluded (Click here for a transcript).
Immediately after Kerik, Hilton brought on Joe Ested, a former police officer and author of the book Police Brutality Matters. And Ested went directly after Kerik, calling out his record and saying that people like Kerik and NYC police union head Patrick Lynch are some of the reasons why taxpayers have paid over a billion dollars in settlements for police brutality.
Ested also explained how the Atlanta police officers who killed Brooks disregarded training and specifically why Brooks should not have been killed:
Hilton cut off Ested after just over two minutes, instead changing the subject to the House Democrats' policing reform plan.
After a commercial break, Hilton immediately noted that people on Twitter were “fired-up by that last discussion,” and he promised that Kerik would be on later in the show to respond:
Later in the show, Hilton did bring back Kerik but did not ask him about the specific criticisms Ested had given of the officers who shot and killed Brooks.
Instead, Hilton gave Kerik quite a bit of time to respond to Ested’s line about Kerik contributing to police misconduct that was paid out in settlements. Kerik largely repeated his talking points and agreed with Hilton’s criticism of Democrats, and he also juxtaposed the killing of Brooks with that of George Floyd in Minneapolis, saying that Floyd was murdered.
Kerik also claimed that he had “never had a problem in the Black community” when he was in charge of the NYPD or Rikers Island jail complex.
On Monday morning, Fox & Friends led the show with Kerik's comments defending the officers involved. Ested's remarks were unmentioned.
As for Kerik, as NYPD commissioner in 2001, he reportedly refused to punish the officers who shot and killed Amadou Diallo, an unarmed immigrant who was shot 19 times by officers in 1999, before Kerik became commissioner. He instead decided to leave the officers assigned to desk duty.
In response to Kerik’s decision, Diallo’s mother Kadiatou declared at a press conference that Kerik “has sent a signal that a black child's life has no meaning.''