Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., told a Fox News reporter that the George Zimmerman acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin could be an invitation for white people to shoot young black men.
Rangel was caught leaving his congressional office by Jesse Waters, who does segments for Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor" after host Bill O'Reilly said Rangel had refused multiple invitations to appear on the show. The interview was recorded Tuesday and aired Wednesday on O'Reilly's show.
Waters challenged Rangel on comments he made on MSNBC, where he suggested that if police had found a black Zimmerman they might have beaten him to death.
Rangel, who took an elevator and continued walking to his waiting car during the interview, said that a black man might not have been beaten to death, but likely wouldn't have been allowed to go home without being charged, as Zimmerman was. He also wouldn't have been found not guilty, he said.
"When a local community finds that it has affection for the defendant, fairness is subjective in the minds of the jury," he said.
Waters asked him about addressing the problem of black-on-black crime and said that young black men are 10 times more likely to commit homicides than whites and Hispanics combined.
"Well, that sounds like an invitation for the Zimmermans of the world to start shooting them down," Rangel said.
Waters replied: "You don't think that Zimmerman's more of a threat to black America than some of the other factors like high school dropout rates, narcotics and out-of-wedlock births?"
"I didn't before," Rangel answered, "but now that I've seen the results of the Zimmerman trial, it could be that if he's thinking like you're thinking, yeah, a lot of young blacks could be shot down just because they're black and suspected to be what you think they are."
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