On June 11, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade offered hard-line defenses of police departments nationwide.
In the wake of demonstrations against the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department, law enforcement has come under increased public scrutiny for abuses of power, and Congress is working on legislation to address popular concerns. Although Kilmeade has expressed his opposition to Floyd’s killing, he still appears all too ready to endorse other acts of police violence, while continuing to protect officers responsible for them.
At the end of a segment with Fox contributor Tammy Bruce, Kilmeade vented his frustrations against the Seattle city government for abandoning a police precinct, which was later occupied by protesters in part of a barricaded area they call the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” or CHAZ. Kilmeade warned other cities, “When you give in, you show weakness, and you will be steamrolled. You don't show kindness. Weakness leads to absolute abuse.”
Kilmeade also opposed ending qualified immunity, a legal provision that prevents police officers from being sued in civil court for actions they took while on duty. Ending qualified immunity has been a goal of the protests and, recently, Democrats in the House of Representatives as well. Kilmeade lamented that policing would be “impossible” without qualified immunity, for fear of lawsuits against individual officers “should someone feel as though [the officer] violated their rights.”
Kilmeade also said that modifying qualified immunity is a “non-starter” that will force officers to “either leave the force or sit in their cars, because who would want to risk their future of making $41,000 a year and know you can be sued by the people you're trying to help.”
In one dark example of Kilmeade’s deference to the police, he complained to a New York detectives union representative that “there used to be a sense of ‘yes sir, no sir’ when it came to police officers.” His co-host, Ainsley Earhardt, mentioned earlier in the show that George Floyd’s brother said at his funeral that he “was begging for his life and still called the officer ‘sir.’”