Surprisingly Reasonable: Cuomo, Lemon Argue Columbus Cop Was Right to Shoot

Proving that it’s a cognitive choice when they act like a bunch of liberal buffoons 99 percent of the time, the Wednesday night handoff between CNN Prime Time host Chris Cuomo and CNN Tonight host Don Lemon was a breath of fresh air as they defended the Columbus, Ohio officer who shot a black teen who was inches away from stabbing another person.

Their surprising reasonableness stood in stark contrast to NBC Nightly News, who earlier in the evening tried to stoke racial tensions by deceptively editing the 911 call that brought the officer to the scene.

“And it was so interesting for me, as emotional and personal for these stories are for someone of color, especially you, Don, with your background. You were cautious about it,” Cuomo recounted when they first heard the story on social media Tuesday night. “You were saying, ‘Huh. I want to see this one. I want to see this.’”

Lemon, who normally railed against the police, built off of Cuomo by explaining how difficult it was for cops who arrive at scenes that are pure chaos and told off the peanut gallery:

When they roll up on the scene, they see people tussling around. Someone has a knife. And their job is to protect and serve. Every life on that scene. And if they see someone who is in the process of taking a life, what is that decision, what decision do they have to make?

And I that people say, “Well, you can do this you can do that.” Tasers don’t work the way guns work.

 

 

Imagining the woman who was on the verge of being stabbed was his “sister, niece, wife,” Lemon argued that the cop was right to protect a life by taking one. “And if someone is trying to take a life, on that scene, do you protect the life of the person trying to take the life, or do you protect the life of the person whose life is in imminent danger at that point,” he rhetorically asked.

He added: “That at a certain distance, a stabbing, a knife, can be much more lethal than a bullet. And especially if you get stabbed in the artery, in the temple, somewhere that you’re going to bleed out.”

Later in the conversation, Cuomo seemed to hint that he agreed with one woman he spoke with who questioned where the parents were, and why did the father get involved in the fight when the cops showed up:

An older woman of color said to me, I was like, “man, this is really hard.” The piece of tape where the guy says what he says, “you shot my baby.” She goes, “shame on him.” I said, “why? He just lost a family member, I don’t know if it’s his kid or whatever it was.” And the response was, “he came running out of that house. Why didn’t he stop it? What were they doing? Why didn’t he stop it? Why did the police have to come and control that situation? Why didn’t he?”

The chaotic nature of the scene was something Lemon returned to a couple of times. “Even in the slowed down version, the slow-mo version, the slowed version was a second,” he said. “Imagine in real-time, how fast this is happening. You’re looking around what is going on…And you see someone with a knife, and they’re trying to stab the other person. And you’re like, what do I do?”

In the end, Cuomo and Lemon were in agreement that the officer “has a duty” to defend life:

LEMON: And police, it was him saving a third party’s life on that scene justified.

CUOMO: He has a duty.

LEMON: He has a duty to do that.

CUOMO: A duty to use force to protect his own life or the life of another.

At one point, Cuomo told his friend he was “brave” for speaking the truth. “Because people don’t want to hear you say that this was a justified shooting.”

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

CNN Tonight
April 21, 2021
10:01:10 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS CUOMO: You know, we were — you were really actually, to be honest, let’s let the audience in to something. So, Don and I heard about this story last night on social media while we were coverage for you of the Chauvin verdict last night. And the initial reports didn’t seem right. And it was so interesting for me, as emotional and personal for these stories are for someone of color, especially you, Don with your background. You were cautious about it.

You were saying, “Huh. I want to see this one. I want to see this.” Because there was a lot of emotion and understandably so. You have a 16-year-old kid that is gone.

DON LEMON: Yeah.

CUOMO: And it’s a hard one. I do not know how to explain this to people in a way that doesn’t make somebody very angry.

LEMON: Well, yes. We’re dealing with a lot of emotion right now. And I’m going to talk about that in a moment. And I think that it’s real. And you have to take that — that part has to be taken into account. There’s a lot of anguish, people are very emotional right now. But we’ve to be fair about what happens when police arrive at scenes.

It is tragic that it’s a 16-year-old girl. Just as it is tragic that it’s a 13-year-old in Chicago. When police are chasing people, they don’t know how old they are. And they don’t run and say, “how old are you?” “Oh, I’m 13.” You don’t know that. Or, “I’m 16.”

When they roll up on the scene, they see people tussling around. Someone has a knife. And their job is to protect and serve. Every life on that scene. And if they see someone who is in the process of taking a life, what is that decision, what decision do they have to make?

And I that people say, “Well, you can do this you can do that.” Tasers don’t work the way guns work.

CUOMO: Not at that distance.

LEMON: Not at that distance.

CUOMO: And not with that amount of time.

LEMON: Tasers, they don’t always connect. So, you’ve got to get two prongs or what have you, and it has to connect to whatever.

I see it, if the woman in the pink was my sister, niece, wife, whatever, you have to make a decision. Is one life on that scene more valuable than another. And if someone is trying to take a life, on that scene, do you protect the life of the person trying to take the life, or do you protect the life of the person who’s life is in imminent danger at that point.

That’s why I’m not a police officer, but when I look at that, I just – as I said, it is tough. Because one is a 16-year-old, I don’t know how old the other person is. But the other person’s life was in imminent danger. And as you know, from the hostile environment training that we get on this job, and because of our proximity to law enforcement, that at a certain distance, a stabbing, a knife, can be much more lethal than a bullet. And especially if you get stabbed in the artery, in the temple, somewhere that you’re going to bleed out. [Sigh]

CUOMO: Look, I feel for — you always feel for everybody involved.

LEMON: Everybody.

CUOMO: Sometimes I don’t feel for certain parties as much as others. But I feel for the officer. You can hear it in his voice. When he said – the man on the side was saying, “you shot my baby, you shot my baby.” And he said, “she had a knife. She went right at her.” You know, this is something that he’s going to have to live with also.

LEMON: Yeah.

CUOMO: I did have one person make a good point that I hope doesn’t come across offensive. Because it’s certainly it’s not the way I mean it.

LEMON: This is what people are talking about. Because again, we weren’t on the scene. Before you say that, Chris, even in the slowed down version, the slow-mo version, the slowed version was a second.

Imagine in real-time, how fast this is happening. You’re looking around what is going on? Someone called the police, and you see someone with a knife, and they’re trying to stab the other person. And you’re like, what do I do? The taser doesn’t work that fast. What do I do?

And so, you got — What you see is a life is in imminent jeopardy at the moment. I don’t know. Yeah, that man is right, “you shot my baby.” And he is in grief and in pain, I get that. And the other person could have been bleeding out on the sidewalk as well. Either way in that position, I think that someone’s life probably would have ended. It could have been the other woman in the pink, or it could have been the 16-year-old who sadly ended up dying. Go on, sorry.

CUOMO: No, it’s just that, listen. Everything you’re saying is instructive. And brave. Because people don’t want to hear you say that this was a justified shooting.

LEMON: And we don’t know.

CUOMO: We don’t know. But I don’t know that this sets up like it did when we first saw George Floyd.

LEMON: No.

CUOMO: The moment you saw that, you knew it was wrong, the whole country knew it was wrong. White, black, whatever. You knew. But here, somebody said something to me today that gave me a little bit of clarity.

An older woman of color said to me, I was like, “man, this is really hard.” The piece of tape where the guy says what he says, “you shot my baby.” She goes, “shame on him.” I said, “why? He just lost a family member, I don’t know if it’s his kid or whatever it was.” And the response was, “he came running out of that house. Why didn’t he stop it? What were they doing? Why didn’t he stop it? Why did the police have to come and control that situation? Why didn’t he?”

And, you know, I do see that perspective as well. I hadn’t thought of that before. But the guy comes running out of the house, tries to kick one woman in the head, he’s an active part of the fight. The adults have to be adults, too.

LEMON: Well, listen. And I’ve got to run because I’ve got to get to this, and I’m going to talk to you. But in that part, it’s like what people said before the 9 minutes and 29 seconds. “Oh, he was resisting, he was doing all that.” We all know what it came down to is what happened in that 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

CUOMO: Sure.

LEMON: So, regardless of what he said, where was he, I get it. Where was he before, why didn’t he de-escalate it, I don’t know. But what it will come down to is whether the police shooting in that moment, in those seconds, were justified. And police, it was him saving a third party’s life on that scene justified.

CUOMO: He has a duty.

LEMON: He has a duty to do that.

CUOMO: A duty to use force to protect his own life or the life of another.

LEMON: It’s not going to come to this, what happened in the house. It’s not going to come, when he rolls up on that scene, they’re tussling, they’re rolling around, and then he sees someone with a knife, boom. That is the part that is going to be whether it’s justified or not. That part, not everything that happened before.

CUOMO: The analysis is only of the instant circumstances. I’m saying, if you want to have this contextual conversation that people seem to want to have about what else we can do, people fight with knives all the time, do we really need cops? The answer is no, learn how to control your kids, and don’t be so violent and we won’t need cops. But that’s not our reality. And cops get called to our lives all the time for the worst situations.

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