Fox News contributor and civil rights attorney Leo Terrell blew up at fellow guest Geraldo Rivera during a heated debate Thursday on “America’s Newsroom.”
Terrell and Rivera squared off over reports that newly-elected Democratic St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones planned to combat the city’s skyrocketing homicide rate with more social workers rather than more police officers.
Anchor Bill Hemmer began the segment by noting that St. Louis was one of a number of cities that had seen homicide rates spike in 2020, and said 2021 appeared to be headed down the same path. He then brought in Rivera and Terrell to discuss Jones’ plan to handle the problem with increased numbers of social workers.
“You need love and you need kindness. You know, you can always use more compassion. The problem in St. Louis, as it is in Cleveland and many other top-1o murder cities, is the drugs, the gangs, the urban violence, the black-on-black Civil War that has been going on that no one talks about,” Rivera said, noting that Jones seemed “very idealistic” and her plan somewhat “unrealistic,” but that he wished her the best.
“This whole idea of cutting back police officers and increasing social workers is a failure,” Terrell replied, citing cities such as Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. “Show me where cutting down police officers and increasing social workers is going to help reduce crime in these Democratic cities?”
Terrell went on to argue that the real solution was to fix the education system and break the poverty cycle that kept putting kids back out on the streets.
“Geraldo, give me a break. All the evidence on Fox News, all this crime is going on in Democratic cities where they basically give the keys of the city to the criminals —” Terrell continued.
“I’m agreeing with you, bud. You can’t bring a social worker to a gun fight, I agree with you,” Rivera cut in. “There is always room for kindness and compassion and these families are shattered. Let’s try to rebuild the families. I’m all for that. I just think you have to be realistic what’s going on here.”
Hemmer laid out some of the statistics, noting that crime — particularly homicide — was up in a number of major cities.
“Leo, here is the question. She said, ‘I appreciate the role of white allies in this movement of progress. I don’t believe that they have the lived experience to lead a majority minority city,’” Hemmer added.
“That is the most insulting racist comment,” Terrell replied. “You know what she is saying? Because you are white, you don’t understand what we as black people go through regarding crime. That makes the assumption then that Joe Biden doesn’t know. To say that she is basically in a better position because she is black is insulting, is racist, and makes no sense whatever. I reject that argument.”
“Hey, Leo, when was the last time you were in the ghetto? Is she saying you don’t —” Rivera pushed back.
“How dare you say that? You know nothing about me. How dare you say that?” Terrell snapped at Rivera.
Geraldo continued to argue that Jones should be allowed to try “a kinder approach,” arguing that it could possibly be successful.
Terrell was not ready to let it go, however, and continued to lash out at Rivera. “How dare you?” he asked again as both continued to shout over each other.
“Guys, we started out in a moment of peace. That moment is fleeting,” Hemmer said as he cut away.
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