Responding to a reporter who claims people of color were being “targeted” by police, Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake conducted an impromptu mini-clinic on the issue, contending the question arises from a “lie” disseminated by establishment media.
The question was posed at a news conference Thursday at the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, where Lake was joined by Republican state attorney general candidate Abe Hamadeh.
“Kari, a lot of people of color feel like they are unfairly targeted by police. Are they wrong to feel that way? And regardless of if there’s any merit there, what can you as governor do to improve the perception of police?” the reporter asked.
“A lot of people of color?” Lake replied. “How many people of color have you talked to about that?”
The reporter responded, “I mean if you look at surveys –”
“Which surveys?” Lake asked. “I’m happy to look at those stats. Because I will tell you this, that I talk to people of color. I talk to all Arizonans. They’re all concerned about the crime.”
She added, “just because your skin isn’t the same color as yours doesn’t mean you want your kids to be walking down the street in an unsafe neighborhood.”
“Every Arizonan wants safety and security in their neighborhood. It doesn’t matter what your skin color is,” she said. “And if you look at stats, you will look and see that police do not target people of color.
“That is a lie that’s been perpetuated by the left and then spread and disseminated and re-spread in the media,” Lake said. “Check the stats.”
In 2015, under President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, a Justice Department analysis of the Philadelphia Police Department found white police officers were less likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed black suspects. In 2016, the Washington Post reported a Washington State University study finding those police officers are three times less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed white suspects. A review of FBI data in April showed that in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the defund-police movement, black Americans were disproportionately affected by the massive rise in murders in 2020.
That empirical evidence and much more are part of a presentation by Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald rebutting the Black Lives Matter’s “systemic police racism” narrative.
‘Nobody wants that’
In Phoenix on Thursday, another reporter followed up, asking Lake: “You don’t believe that’s an opinion a lot of people of color have?”
“I don’t,” she replied. “I think you guys find one or two people, three of four, and they’re activists oftentimes, and then you spread that narrative.”
She urged the reporters to go into minority neighborhoods and ask residents: “Do you want fewer police? Do you want to defund the police?'”
“They will look at you like you are the craziest person on the planet. Nobody wants that,” Lake said.
Hamadeh, a former Maricopa County prosecutor, followed up on Lake’s comments.
“Look behind us,” he began, pointing to officers and emphasizing that law enforcement is comprised of members of the community.
“Of course, they have a vested interest in keeping our community safe, and they’re not targeting people based on race,” Hamadeh said.
“This is a lie that has been perpetuated by the media and by members of these organizations,” he said. “And why you consistently bring this up is that you seek to further divide our country.”
Law enforcement “is under attack, and that’s why we are using a rise in crime.”
“Our cities are turning into Gotham,” said Hamadeh.
That’s because, he added, media have been highlighting cases where “sometimes it’s an honest mistake.”
He pointed again to the officers behind him.
“These brave men and women, do they look like racists to you?”
‘Since when can we not ask questions about our elections?
Earlier this month, a reporter in Arizona pressed Lake on her claim that Biden is dividing the country, asking why it couldn’t be said that Trump is being divisive by “falsely telling people he won that election when he lost it.”
“Questioning the election when there were problems is dividing the country?” she asked. “Since when can we not ask questions about our elections?”
Lake, a longtime TV news anchor in Phoenix, said she recalled many journalists and Democrats asking questions about the outcome of the 2016 election in which Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump.
“Nobody tried to shut you up,” she argued. “Nobody tried to tell Hillary Clinton to shut up. Nobody tried to tell Kamala Harris when she was questioning the legitimacy of these electronic voting machines to stop,” Lake said.
“We have freedom of speech in this country,” she told the reporter. “You, of all people, should appreciate that.”