Basketball legend and NBA analyst Charles Barkley defended Louisville police this week, insisting that the shooting of Breonna Taylor shouldn’t be “lumped in” with other high-profile shootings of unarmed black people.
On the Thursday night TNT pregame show for game four of the Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets, Barkley sounded off about his thoughts on the case.
“I don’t think this one was like George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery and things like that,” Barkley said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“I feel sad that this young lady lost her life. I think this one was — the no-knock warrant is something we need to get rid of … across the board. But I am worried to lump all these situations in together.”
“And I just feel bad that the young lady lost her life,” he added. “But we do have to take into account that her boyfriend shot at the cops and shot a cop. So like I say, even though I am really sorry she lost her life, I just don’t think we can put this in the same situation as George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery.”
He also pushed back against the nationwide movement to defund police departments.
“I hear these fools on TV talking about defund the police and things like that,” Barkley said. “I’m like, wait a minute, who are black people supposed to call? Ghostbusters? When we have crime in our neighborhoods?”
Some took to social media to criticize his comments.
“I didn’t know I could be this disgusted by Charles Barkley,” Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko wrote.
“What is Charles Barkley talking about???????????????” journalist Britni Danielle wrote. “This [Brianna Taylor’s death] isn’t like Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. You’re right. It’s not, because she was at home, asleep in her bed. TF???”
But fellow Hall of Famer and commentator Shaquille O’Neal defended Barkley’s opinion.
“I have to agree with Charles, this one is sort of lumped in,” O’Neal said.
“You have to get a warrant signed and some states do allow no-knock warrants. And everyone was asking for murder charges. When you talk about murder, you have to show intent. A homicide occurred and we’re sorry a homicide occurred. When you have a warrant signed by the judge, you are doing your job, and I would imagine that you would fire back.”
Conservative pundit Candace Owens defended both Barkley and O’Neal in a tweet.
“Congratulations to @SHAQ and Charles Barkley for having the courage to TELL THE TRUTH about #BreonnaTaylor on live TV,” she wrote. “It is rare for respected athletes to have the spine to buck the DISHONEST media narrative but the facts are the facts.
“Try it Lebron!” she added, calling out the Lakers legend who has been the most vocal professional athlete on police brutality.
Conservative journalist David Hookstead also said he agreed with Barkley.
“Charles Barkley nuked the idea of defunding and abolishing the police,” conservative journalist David Hookstead wrote. “He CORRECTLY pointed out that fewer police doesn’t make black people safer. It’s more dangerous.”
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