Marc Lamont Hill on controversial Chris Dorner comments

Columbia Professor explains comments comparing cop killer to a superhero


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 14, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY: Now for the "Top Story" tonight. Dr. Marc Lamont Hill teaches at Columbia University here in New York City and has appeared on The Factor a number of times. You may have seen him. He's an ardent liberal guy. And that's fine. All points of view are to be heard on this program. But yesterday on CNN, Dr. Hill said something very controversial about mass killer Christopher Dorner.


HILL: And as far as Dorner himself goes, he's been like a real life super hero to many people. Now, don't get me wrong what he did was awful, killing innocent people. He's bad.


HILL: But when you read his manifesto -- when you read the message that he left, he wasn't entirely crazy. He had a plan and a mission here. And many people aren't rooting for him to kill innocent people -- they are rooting for somebody who was wronged to get a kind of revenge against the system. It's almost like watching "Django Unchained" in real life. It's kind of exciting.


O'REILLY: Now put yourself in the shoes of family members who are suffering grievously right at this moment because of Dorner's murders. How do you think they are reacting to that analysis?

Joining us now from lower Manhattan is Dr. Hill. So to be fair to you because I've known you a long time and I've got to give you a chance to explain this. Go.

HILL: Well the first this is you just mentioned the family members of the victims. And quite frankly, my heart goes out to them. And if my words in any way caused them any pain or trauma or stress, more than they already are experiencing, I offer them my deepest condolences and my apologies. I have no problem saying that.

What I was saying on CNN though, was not that I support Dorner and not that he was a super hero to me. I was asked to explain why he was getting so much online support. And what I was saying is to many people they're not seeing him as a mass killer. The media narrative isn't that he's just a mass killer. The media narrative is that he was someone who was wronged by a corrupt department and now he's exacting his revenge which was the "Django" comparison.

I'm not condoning what he did. But Americans are capable of having two thoughts at the same time. We can walk and chew gum at the same time, we can critique him and say look Dorner was wrong for what he did. But there might be a real story here about corruption, about violence, about targeting individual people that we can also talk about at the same time. And I think that's what this crisis has produced for us.

O'REILLY: All right, let me tell you why you are wrong. In any kind of historical context when there is a heinous crime committed, you cannot take anything away from the crime by trying to explain why certain misguided people are supporting the killer. That would be like saying you there are some Russians who supported Stalin because they were victims of the czar who took their land away. You can't do it.

I understand what you were trying to do. You were trying to explain this mind set on the Internet and the call-in radio programs that people who hate the police and think the L.A. police is racist are trying to explain what put Dorner over the edge. I got it.

HILL: Yes.

O'REILLY: But what you didn't do and -- and -- and number one, I don't even think that engagement is worthy this close to the crimes. So got -- you let things die down a little bit before you get into that -- condemnation of Dorner and the people supporting him absolutely. But you didn't do that. You condemn Dorner but not the people who are supporting him which I -- I condemn the both. So that's why you put yourself in a position to be chastised.

Do you understand my point of view?

HILL: I do understand your point of view. And I wish in retrospect that I had explained further. I don't think though that the fundamental argument that I was making was wrong even though if the message itself gets lost. Because if we are having this conversation then we're not having the conversation that I actually want to have.


O'REILLY: You can't have a conversation on speculation.

HILL: Well it's not speculation, Bill.

O'REILLY: The system said -- it absolutely is speculation because the system ruled -- a judge in an investigative capacity for the Los Angeles Police Department -- that Dorner did something wrong and he was fired. Now the LAPD has reopened the investigation, fine.

HILL: Well they have to.

O'REILLY: But right now -- no they don't. They don't have to do anything. He -- that case was --

HILL: I'm saying in the face of media scrutiny, Bill they absolutely have to.

O'REILLY: If the media wants to scrutinize I don't have a problem with that but you come up with the facts first. You don't speculate on things that you don't have any facts on.

HILL: Here's the hard fact about the Los Angeles PD, every year they get thousands of complaints of brutality and corruption.

O'REILLY: Every police department gets that.

HILL: No, I know.

And every major police department those claims get investigated by their internal affairs bureau. In other words, the police investigate the police and decide whether or not the police were wrong or right. And in that context, you don't get justice. There is no outside force.

Let me finish the subject -- that's his point.


O'REILLY: That's your -- and that's your -- if you want to do a macro analysis of why police should be investigated by an outside, you know, agency that had nothing to do with police. I don't have a beef with that. But you don't -- you don't speculate --

HILL: That's what this crisis allows for Bill.

O'REILLY: No, no, no.

HILL: It would be irresponsible of us to simply talk about Dorner as the crazy mad man and not also, also I'm saying this also people out there also talk about police corruption.


O'REILLY: You can only do that when you have evidence that police corruption is in play and there is no evidence in this case.

And the second mistake that you make and being a professor, this comes right into your academic background is that you give credibility to a killer. To a guy who is obviously not thinking clearly. He killed four human beings, innocent human beings. You don't give any credibility to him. Anything he says. And everything he says is suspect because of what he did. Do you understand that?

HILL: And that -- and that's why it's important to dis-entangle those two things. I'm not saying investigate the LAPD because Christopher Dorner initiates the conversation about the LAPD or police more broadly. There is already a decade or excuse me century long critique of the LAPD that we need to have. And he puts the spotlight back on it. I'm not legitimizing killing.

O'REILLY: That conversation comes later then. No it doesn't come --


HILL: No. You don't get to make that decision, Bill. You don't get to decide. There are people who are suffering --


O'REILLY: No I get to decide here, Doctor. I get to decide.

HILL: You get to decide when we talk about -- when we talk about police brutality, Bill?

O'REILLY: Look don't get yourself in even more trouble here.

HILL: Bill you are not right about this.

O'REILLY: Less than 24 hours -- less than 24 hours after a police officer is murdered by this thug, you are out there with hypothesis. You have got to give it a little time.

HILL: It's not a hypothesis. Bill, it's not a hypothesis to say that police corruption exists. I'm not saying that Christopher Dorner --


O'REILLY: Not in this case, it doesn't. You can't link it.

HILL: No let me finish the thought, Bill. I'm not saying that Christopher Dorner's manifesto is true or false. That's not my -- that's not my claim.

O'REILLY: You were insensitive, doctor.


O'REILLY: You were insensitive to the victims' families, that's what you were.

HILL: And like I say and like I say if I was insensitive to the families I offer them my condolences but I'm still --


O'REILLY: Take the "if" out there doctor, take the "if" out there and you've got it and we appreciate you coming on the program. And I -- I don't want Hill to suffer here because Hill has been a stand-up guy over the years but I absolutely think you're wrong and insensitive and that's my opinion.

HILL: We agree.

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