American presenter Joe Scaborough branded the coverage of the Ferguson protests following the shooting of Michael Brown "bulls**t" in a heated television segment.
The MSNBC presenter said the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture by five St Louis Rams football players during an NFL game on Sunday night in solidarity with Brown was the "final straw" for him.
The former Republican congressman questioned why the unarmed teenager shot dead by a police officer in August had "become the face of Black oppression" in America, insisting that race wasn't the issue.
"There are so many great people to embrace as heroes in the black community that deciding you’re going to embrace a guy who knocked over a convenience store, and then, according to grand jury testimony, acted in ways that would get my children shot … that’s your hero? That's the reason you want to burn down black businesses?," he added.
Scaborough suggested the shooting of Brown was the "reverse" of the Trayvon Martin case, where a young, unarmed African-American was also shot to death. His killer, George Zimmerman, claimed he acted in self-defence and with justifiable use of deadly force. He was acquitted by a jury on all charges.
In the Brown case, police officer Darren Wilson argued he used deadly force to defend himself against Brown because his life was in danger. A grand jury in St Louis County declined to indict him, triggering a new round of violent protests in Ferguson.
The presenter went on to say he had listened to "enough BS" on television and claimed many of his guests agreed with his statements privately, but were too "afraid" to express their views on Ferguson on national television.
He added: "People saying one thing when the camera’s on and then saying something completely different when the camera gets turned off, because they’re somehow afraid they’ll be called racist if they tell the truth."
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