OTR Interviews

'Hands up, don't shoot' pose - and perhaps a false narrative - finds its way to the Congressional floor

Congressional Black Caucus bring 'Hands up, don't shoot' gesture to the House floor, but is honest conversation about Ferguson and race ever going to take place? #Ferguson

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 2, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Joining us, Reverend Michel Faulkner and former Congressman Allen West.

First to you, Congressman.

Good evening, I should say, to both of you.

First you, Congressman. These are your old stomping grounds, the House of Representatives. Was it appropriate or inappropriate to use the House floor for this demonstration?

ALLEN WEST, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR/FORMER CONGRESSMAN: I think it was clearly inappropriate, Greta, because one of the things we have to understand, why are members of the Congressional Black Caucus promoting a false narrative? We know from the forensic evidence, we know from all of the evidence and the testimony that has been released by a prosecutor, Mr. McCulloch, it was not a case of hands up and don't shoot. Michael Brown never raised his hands. You cannot have people that are putting out this false information and, once again, you know, truly deceiving the American people.

And furthermore, if the Congressional Black Caucus doesn't want to be silent, why aren't they talking about the deaths and shootings of the young black men in Chicago? Why aren't they talking about the decimation of the black family? Why aren't they talking about the 25 small businesses that were burned to the ground that did not participate in small business Saturday? Those are the real issues that they should be talking about. Not the politicized issue that they are taking up.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I agree with you on the second part about, why aren't we talking about the issues across the country. But in terms of the "hands up" part, I did some more research on it and I'm very differential initial to grand juries. Whatever grand juries or even petit juries decide, they hear all the facts. But 16 people testified that there were hands were up. Two were asked about it, another two, and they said no hands up. Eight we not asked specifically but they did not volunteer that there were any hands up. And three said they didn't know. There was conflicting testimony in the grand jury about if the hands were up or not. That's not certainly all of the evidence. There's a lot more to be considered.

But let me go to you, Reverend Faulkner. Appropriate or inappropriate using the House floor?

REV. MICHAEL FAULKNER, PASTOR, NEW HORIZON CHURCH: Greta, I understand the gesture but we've got to get beyond the gestures. We've got to go to a national dialogue about race. And if we miss this opportunity right now in America, shame on all of us. We are at a crossroads that we've never been at before. Every time a young, black men gets shot in the streets by a white police officer, it separates us, divides us. We need unity now. And I expect our leadership in the Congressional Black Caucus and in the White House and in the statehouses across this nation to begin a dialogue of unity, not separation. Gestures such as the ones that we see, don't do it enough. It does not come enough. The protests will not bring us together. We need to come together now with a national dialogue about race and the cultural divides that we're facing in our nation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman West, was this an issue of racism or is this sort of the wrong -- lack of better word -- poster child for racism in America? Or was this a racism issue?

WEST: Of course, it was not a racism issue. Darren Wilson was responding to a call previous to the incident with Michael Brown about a small little girl in the community and then he got the subsequent call on the issue of Michael Brown.

But the important conversation we should be having are the consequences of the actions that Michael Brown took. Michael Brown, without any doubt or debate, committed several felony offenses. He robbed a store. He assaulted a store owner. He attacked a police officer. He charged at a police officer.

And again, I just don't understand why we always have to defer to the discussion about race when we should be talking about respect and regard for law enforcement, respect and regard for the rule of law, understanding and respect for our judicial and our due process. We are moving away from, you know, the discussion of the policies that have resulted in the crumbling of the inner city and the destruction of the black family. And therefore, you have these issues.

FAULKNER: Congressman West, the reason that we do come back to race every time is because, when this happens and we begin to see the similarities in case after case, year after year of young black men in urban America of being shot by police officers, it opens up the divide, regardless of the facts of the case.

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: Reverend? Reverend, let me ask you one quick question, though.

(CROSSTALK)

WEST: Why don't you talk about young black men shooting young black men?

FAULKNER: We get to a point of --

(CROSSTALK)

FAULKNER: Absolutely. I agree with that 100 percent. But what happens is we begin to separate where we can no longer hear reason, where we can no longer trust grand juries, and that is the real unsafe element in --

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: Reverend --

(CROSSTALK)

FAULKNER: Yes?

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm deferential with grand juries. Those grand juries, whether you agree with decision or not, I've never met a jury -- and I've had lots of cases where the jurors tried their best, and then everyone comes in and second guesses after they haven't heard all of the evidence. That's grossly unfair to them. But the fact is that people are focusing on, part of it, on the fact that this started as a rather a bullying or obnoxious robbery by the decedent. That's no reason that he should be shot, but that's really been left out of the discussion.

FAULKNER: Absolutely. The discussion is not -- the discussion, really, to be honest with you, as tragic as this death is, the discussion needs to go beyond this. We need to use this as a springboard perhaps for the real discussion. It's unfortunate that it has to revolve around this case. I served on the grand jury. I understand, Greta. I believe in the grand jury process as much as you do because I saw how we dialogued and debated and how we argued and how --

VAN SUSTEREN: And people work hard.

FAULKNER: Absolutely. People do work hard.

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: And people work very hard on those.

FAULKNER: But as a nation, we've got to get to the discussion. We have no one in the middle.

(CROSSTALK)

FAULKNER: It's unfortunate that we have no one in the middle.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I agree. And I agree. And I'm going to take the last word on it. We really need leadership and people not picking sides for the sake of picking sides, which, oftentimes, regrettably, on some of these issues, some of that happens. And it's very painful.

Gentlemen, I'll take the last word on that.

WEST: And we don't need to spend $250 million to say that we need to retrain police either.

FAULKNER: No, we don't.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, and you get the last word.

(LAUGHTER)

FAULKNER: God help us, if we can't come to some sort of solution.

Thanks, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you both get the last word.

Thank you, gentlemen.