This partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, April 24, 2001 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order last night's entire transcript.
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HANNITY: As we continue on HANNITY & COLMES, coming up next, I go one on one with former national economic adviser under Bill Clinton. Gene Sperling will join us.
But, first, in the "Battle Zone" tonight, yesterday, the first hate-crime indictment was handed down stemming from those violent protests in Cincinnati. A man was charged with ethnic intimidation, criminal damaging and menacing for allegedly shouting racial slurs at another man and throwing a brick through his car window. The man charged was white. The victim of the attack was black.
Also, charges and reports of violence against white people, even a videotape, as you see there, that shows a white truck driver being dragged out of a truck and beaten, and it raises the question: Why have the black suspects not been charged with hate crimes as well? Is there a double standard?
Joining us now from Cincinnati -- he's on the big one, WLW AM 700 -- radio talk-show host Bill Cunningham. Also tonight, criminal-defense attorney Keith Watters.
Bill, you were on this program, and you raised the -- you said the last time -- and I'm paraphrasing. Correct me if I'm wrong -- that there's basically been a national blackout about a story where there has been
racial intimidation during those riots where -- and we're -- we're going to show this tape again. There was a white truck driver who was dragged out of his truck reminiscent -- right there -- of Reginald Denny and then
beaten pretty severely, and you say this was one of many cases. Am I wrong?
BILL CUNNINGHAM, RADIO TALK-SHOW HOST: Sean, first of all, it's always great to be with you.
In Cincinnati, over the last two weeks, we've had about 130 incidents of racial violence, black on white, and about one or two white on black, which were retaliator. I believe Mike Allen (ph) is having difficulty making some of these racial-intimidation cases against blacks because of a lot of silence in the black community.
The videotape you're playing, Reginald Denny-like, has resulted in no arrests because they cannot locate the individual who had the bandana on. It's sad, but I think, ultimately, there are going to be some charges filed, and you know, Sean -- I'm not sure Alan's aware of this -- but the FBI statistics recently showed that a black was more likely to be charged with a hate crime than a white and that the liberals push hate crimes for the wrong reasons.
HANNITY: I -- look, I'm against hate crimes because I think, if you do a crime, you do the time for what you did and -- whatever thoughts or mean-spirited thoughts were going through your head. Basically, I don't believe you should put a penalty on someone's thoughts. I -- that's my opinion.
But now are you saying this is not the only incident? You're...
CUNNINGHAM: Oh, no.
HANNITY: ... saying that there's repeated incidents? Have you spoken to people? Are the police aware of it? Is there other videotape out there? It took us -- you told us about this videotape that was available weeks ago, and it was -- I can't tell you how difficult it was to get a hold of it.
CUNNINGHAM: Sean, there was a national blackout on the black-on-white violence because it didn't fit media stereotypes. I've done several shows on WLW about this, and we had dozens and dozens of incidents recorded where white people called in, they were picked out because of the color of their skin, and the prosecutor's office and the police were trying to make those cases, but the national media had a blackout because it didn't fit the media stereotype of what crime is in America.
COLMES: You know, that's really amazing. Keith Watters, black-on-white violence, it seems, is the media stereotype in this country.
KEITH WATTERS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That's correct.
COLMES: That's what you see more often than anything else, and for Bill Cunningham to say the exact opposite of that just astounds me. I don't know -- I mean, do you ever watch the evening news? Do you ever watch local newscasts? Keith, let's have you respond to what you've just heard.
WATTERS: Well, also, it's not for the media to bring charges. We shouldn't be making the cases sitting here on television. A prosecutor sits down with police officers, investigators, a grand jury, and the
overwhelming number of indictments have been against African-Americans.
And not only that, African-Americans were selectively arrested during the curfew where white people were allowed to go free. There's been a suit filed in federal court in Cincinnati about that. The whole history of that city is one of racism...
COLMES: All right. Let's look...
WATTERS: ... and so I think -- I don't want to make it black-white, but that's what we keep saying. I think all people need to take a breath, step back, and see what can be done with constructive comments about a very volatile situation in the city.
COLMES: Right. Bill Cunningham in Cincinnati, 64 protest-related indictments. Sixty-one of those are against African-Americans. Most of those arrested because of violating the curfew African-American. Are you suggesting that law enforcement is somehow going easy on African-Americans
CUNNINGHAM: Alan, I believe the national media does not want to accurately portray what happened in this town, which was massive black-on-white violence, because it -- they might be accused of being insensitive. When Matthew Shepard was terribly killed in Wyoming, it was a national story.
Right now, there's a trial going on in Louisville, Kentucky, in which two gay men brutally raped and murder a little boy, and it's received scant, if any, national coverage. The media has a national bias.
Here in Cincinnati -- Cincinnati, Keith, is America's most livable city. I'm proud to be a Cincinnatan. The cops here aren't white or black. They're blue.
WATTERS: Well, obviously, you have some problems you've got to attend to with all those African-Americans getting shot by the police in your city. You need to get back to work on resolving these problems.
CUNNINGHAM: Keith, there's a very simple principle in Cincinnati. If you shoot at cops, white or black, you get shot back. In the last six years...
WATTERS: So if you have a misdemeanor and you're running from the
CUNNINGHAM: ... there's been no whites running.
WATTERS: ... you should be shot and killed like a dog.
COLMES: All right. All right. Hold on. Bill, you know that there's a problem in Cincinnati, for years that there have been lawsuits, a federal lawsuit filed against the police chief, the city, and unnamed officers just recently alleging blacks are unfairly targeted, a disproportionate number of blacks arrested from this recent melee. You know that to be the case. How you are trying to paint a picture that's exactly the opposite is outrageous.
CUNNINGHAM: Brother Colmes, none of those suits have resulted in anything negative about Cincinnati yet. It cost $125 to file a lawsuit. Cincinnati will win those particular lawsuits.
Sadly, we have thousands and thousands of blacks who rioted, and some whites. It was a disgusting situation. And I deal with conduct as an American, not with color, and Cincinnati is America's most livable city and will always be.
HANNITY: All right. Bill, we'll -- we'll let you give the statistics about those shootings when we get back. And, also, was it a riot or -- some are saying it's unfair to call it that but only a rebellion.
And, also, remember, for all news all day, stay with the Fox News Channel.
And, later tonight, Gene Sperling, former President Clinton's economic adviser, and I -- we go head to head. Who gets credit when the economy booms? Is it the Reagan model or the Clinton model? You know where I stand.
COLMES: Let's go back to our debate.
Bill Cunningham, I'm not debating with you whether or not Cincinnati is the most livable city. I hear it's a wonderful city, and there are wonderful people in Cincinnati.
CUNNINGHAM: Great people.
COLMES: So that's not really the issue here. But the question is whether or not there has been a decades-long problem of tension between the black community and police officers.
You've had -- the Kerner commission, which studied the situation, upheld that view. The ACLU suing the city for 30 years of discrimination. You see video now that we're showing, and to say that the media doesn't more often portray blacks in a negative light, as you're seeing now, is outrageous.
I mean -- so for you to say the opposite makes no sense whatsoever, Bill.
CUNNINGHAM: Alan, I'll say this. Never permit facts to get in the way of your opinion.
COLMES: Well, what fact -- tell me where I was wrong. What fact did I have that was not right?
CUNNINGHAM: These are some facts. Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, in the last six years, had more than twice as many police shootings as Cincinnati. Here in Cincinnati, 10 of the 15 who were killed shot at cops when return fire was given to them. The individuals engaged in vicious misconduct that caused their death and not skin color. Liberals always want to talk about skin color. Conservatives...
COLMES: No, you're making this a liberal-conservative, black-white thing.
CUNNINGHAM: ... want to talk about conduct.
COLMES: You're the one doing that. You're playing that game. You're now pointing figures at liberals, acting as if they're the ones who are race baiting.
CUNNINGHAM: Correct. They are.
COLMES: Let's not play that game. I deny it, and I decry it. It's horrible.
CUNNINGHAM: You should plead guilty, Alan. You're guilty of race baiting.
COLMES: That's absurd.
WATTERS: Not only that, you shouldn't compare yourself -- why don't you compare yourself to a positive standard where there are no police shootings? Why don't you try to strive for a city of harmony instead of all this racial rhetoric that you're coming on with?
CUNNINGHAM: Well, Keith, tell criminals to quit shooting at cops and they won't get shot.
COLMES: And tell -- and don't -- you deny that there's a police problem with -- at least a perception problem, where time after time the person who is shot at the hands of a police -- happens to be African-American? Many of them did not have a gun. Many of them had not committed felonies like Timothy Thomas, and you don't see that as a problem?
CUNNINGHAM: Alan, I say there's a perception problem in the African-American community in Cincinnati and around the country, but perception is not reality. The reality is that cops are not racist. The reality is cops, black and white, are doing their job.
WATTERS: I don't know what planet you're living on.
HANNITY: Hey, let me -- let me get -- let me go to Bill Cunningham. Bill...
WATTERS: I don't want to go there.
HANNITY: Bill, let me ask you this. Let's get some -- how many cops have been shot, how many have been killed in Cincinnati?
CUNNINGHAM: In the last -- in the last four years, there's been four police deaths all at the hands of African-Americans.
HANNITY: Let me -- let me ask you. Of the -- of the last 15 shootings, how many pulled weapons on police officers first?
CUNNINGHAM: Ten of the 15.
HANNITY: Ten of the 15. And of the last four shootings, weren't three of the four African-Americans...
HANNITY: ... officers shooting African-American suspects?
CUNNINGHAM: Correct. And one important -- one important fact for everyone listening, Sharon Zealey (ph) is the African-American Clinton appointee U.S. attorney, a liberal, and she passed holy water on all 15 cases.
HANNITY: Well, that says a lot. Now, Keith Watters, that ought to impress you. You're a big Clinton supporter. You know, I want to show the looting video, and I want to show this other thing because there have been many that are afraid to use the R word, riot, and they use another word, a substitute word. Look at this video, and they say this is a rebellion. When you see this video, Keith, of looting and just...
WATTERS: No, it's -- it's a riot. Sean, it's -- it's wrong to defame other people's property, deface it. It's wrong to hurt anybody. I don't even -- civil disobedience -- but I don't believe in riotous conduct.
HANNITY: But do you -- and when this man is dragged out of his truck, as we -- as we had showed earlier -- Keith, you denounce that? You...
HANNITY: ... see that as...
HANNITY: I would say it on the other side. I mean, you're a reasonable man.
WATTERS: Absolutely. The people who are doing those -- in the streets are hooligans. They should be prosecuted, according to law. There's no question about that. We don't get social change in this country by rioting in the streets.
HANNITY: Well, I think we ought to use all that video, Bill Cunningham, and you have access to it, and the police ought to go over it, and they ought to arrest every single person that they can.
I mean, in this particular case, just the truck driver driving through town, he happens to be white, he's pushed out of his truck, and he gets his brains beaten in in a corner over here, and I see people cheering and celebrating and laughing and thinking that this is funny.
CUNNINGHAM: Sean, two other things that are very important. There's a looters' defense fund that's been set up by the African-American community in Cincinnati, and African-American leaders here have called for amnesty for everyone arrested. There's been...
HANNITY: This is outrageous.
CUNNINGHAM: ... about 800 arrests.
WATTERS: You know, Sean, I think -- I think the rhetoric needs to be toned down. Both sides should show restraint. I think the police need to show more sensitivity. I think fair-minded white people and fair-minded black people need to discuss this and try to work it out because we're not getting anywhere with all these invectives going back and forth.
COLMES: All right, Keith. We thank you very much. Bill, thank you very much for being with us tonight.
CUNNINGHAM: Alan, the truth will set you free.
COLMES: Thank you so much for the -- I appreciate the advice.
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