Conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly appeared on the New York City radio show Bernie and Sid in the Morning on 77 WABC Thursday to give President Donald Trump some advice leading up to the election.
He discussed the shooting of Jacob Blake and the racial tension over police use of force that has been fomenting violence across the country with hosts Sid Rosenberg and Bernard McGuirk.
Blake, 29, was shot seven times in the back Sunday as an officer tried to detain him in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He is hospitalized in Wauwatosa and is reportedly paralyzed from the waist down. Police have said they were responding to a domestic dispute.
O’Reilly urged authorities in Wisconsin Wednesday to release a preliminary report on the Kenosha police shooting. “They have assembled the information and the public has a right to know. Delaying hurts the country,” he tweeted Wednesday.
He told the radio hosts that the country was harmed because of the four-day delay and people were “turning on each other.”
Democratic Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul told the media Wednesday afternoon that police had responded to an incident in which a man was at the residence of a woman and was not supposed to be there. He did not say whether that man was Blake.
Blake was near a knife when the shooting took place, but he would not say whether Blake was carrying the knife when he was shot.
The Kenosha Police Department officer who opened fire was identified as Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year-veteran. He held Blake’s shirt and opened fire as he tried to get in a vehicle, Kaul said. “Officer Sheskey fired the weapon into Mr. Blake’s back,” he added.
Officers were trying to arrest Blake and had deployed a Taser unsuccessfully when he opened the driver’s side door of a vehicle and “leaned forward,” Kaul continued.
Investigators found the knife in the footwell of the vehicle, and Blake confirmed to investigators that he was in possession of a knife, Kaul said.
“I don’t criticize people who are angry about black men being killed by police officers,” said O’Reilly. “I don’t do that because I don’t know what happened.
“What I will criticize is that you have no right as a human being to convict people on television … that is what’s driving all of this,” he said. “So no matter what happens, no matter how heinous it is on either side, the police or the perpetrator — the alleged perpetrator — you don’t know. You are not there. You don’t have information,” he warned.
“But these commentators go on and they convict people right from the jump and it’s not just in police confrontations. It’s everything. The allegation is the conviction now, and then people react to the conviction,” said O’Reilly. “So what you have is like a giant lynch mob in the United States that’s just waiting for information from television that so many times is not even accurate. They don’t tell you the whole story.”
“So I would appeal to everybody… you can show your displeasure with the overall situation and I sympathize with that but don’t take destructive action….we are all concerned about this,” O’Reilly noted. “Every decent fair minded American is concerned about it but we have to step back and reign in our emotions until we find out exactly what happened….and we also have to stop destroying innocent people’s property and we will stop that. We will.”
The attorney general said Sheskey and other officers involved in the incident are on administrative leave as the investigation by local, state and federal officials, including the FBI, continues.
Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said he has also asked the U.S. attorney’s office to investigate.
The Department of Justice confirmed Wednesday it had opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting.