Charles Barkley on Ferguson: 'Those aren't black people, those are scumbags'

The NBA legend was outspoken about the violence surrounding the grand jury decision not to prosecute white officer who shot unarmed teen Michael Brown

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The Independent Online

Charles Barkley is not one to hold back on sharing his opinion with the world.

Even if said opinion equates to calling Ferguson protestors “scumbags”.

The African American NBA legend was outspoken on the subject of the riots, looting and violence that have rocked the St Louis town since a grand jury decision not to prosecute the white officer responsible for the shooting dead of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

The police reacted to the situation with yet more violence, firing rubber bullets at protesters and emptying canisters of tear gas. Meanwhile, the US Federal Aviation Administration declared the area above the town a no-fly zone.

Still, Barkley told Philadelphia's 97.5 The Fanatic, that doesn’t mean there is any “excuse for people to be out there burning down people's businesses, burning down police cars” and so on.

“Them jackasses who are looting - those aren’t real black people, those are scumbags,” he proclaimed.

Commending the police for their work in poor, black areas, he continued: “If it wasn’t for the cops we would be living in the Wild, Wild West in our neighbourhoods.

“We can’t pick out certain incidentals that don’t go our way and act like the cops are all bad.

“Do you know how bad some of these neighbourhoods would be if it wasn't for the cops?”

He went on to discuss the media’s role in perpetuating the idea of racial injustice.

“We live in quick story media, social network situation. I’m hearing things today I never heard at all,” he said.

“I’m not saying who is right or wrong I’m just hearing the true story that came out of the grand jury investigation.

“I can’t believe anything I hear on television anymore.

“And, that’s why I don’t like talking about race issues with the media anymore, because they love this stuff, and lead people to jump to conclusions.

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Portland police Sgt. Bret Barnum, left, and Devonte Hart, 12, hug at a rally in Portland, Ore., where people had gathered in support of the protests in Ferguson

“The media shouldn’t do that. They never do that when black people kill each other.”

The sports commentator’s comments follow that of Pharrell Williams, who last week labelled Brown’s behaviour in the lead-up to his killing “bullyish” and compared it to Bill Cosby’s famed 'Pound Cake Speech' view of young, black Americans.

“When Cosby said it back then, I understood; I got it,” Williams told Ebony magazine.

“Listen, we have to look at ourselves and take action for ourselves. Cosby can talk that talk because he created Fat Albert, he tried to buy NBC, he portrayed a doctor on The Cosby Show and had all of us wearing Coogi sweaters.

“You’ve got to respect him. I believe that Ferguson officer should be punished and serve time. He used excessive force on a human being who was merely a child. He was a baby, man. The boy was walking in the middle of the street when the police supposedly told him to 'get the f**k on the sidewalk.'

Bill Cosby is currently facing mounting pressure to answer a series of historic sexual assault allegations levied against him by 15 different women.

His lawyers have stringently denied the claims.

Barkley’s remarks also come after NFL player Reggie Bush compared the “racial injustice” of the grand jury’s decision to that of the conflict between Israel and Gaza that raged over the summer.

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He posted a picture of a Palestinian man holding a sign that read: “The Palestinian People know what mean to be shot while unarmed because of your ethnicity. #Ferguson #Justice”.

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