CNN commentator Van Jones called the typical policing strategy in the United States "dumb and dangerous and discriminatory" Tuesday night during coverage of clashes between protesters and law enforcement in Minneapolis, where the killing of a young man at a traffic stop last week has enflamed the tensions surrounding the ongoing trial of Derek Chauvin, the officer accused of killing George Floyd.
VAN JONES: Number one, I want to say the reason those young people are out there and folks are out there tonight is because people are losing faith in the system. The reason that young man —people say, why didn't he do what he was told?
Please understand there are two different Americas here. If, when you see a police officer, you see the badge and not all those weapons, you are in one part of America. If when you see a police officer, you see all those weapons and don’t see the badge, it’s because your experience has been they don’t come at you with respect. They don’t come at you with trust. They come at you with force. When people see somebody coming at them armed who has never treated you with respect, you can panic.
The reason you don't panic, if you are saying, "I don't understand it," when you are given respect and trust, when you are shown respect, shown trust, all you see is a badge. "How are you doing, sir?"
If you have been treated with no respect and trust, when you see that person coming in, you are looking at the weapons.
In this case, you have got somebody who is panicking, and then as you have been saying all night, the trained, professional, 26 years on the force, had been on the force for 6 years when the young man was born, somehow panics and does the wrong thing. And people want to give the officer the benefit of the doubt, but these young folks that are protesting are not given that same benefit. that's what's playing out there tonight...
The deeper problem is that the policing methodology that we have in the country right now is both dumb and dangerous and discriminatory. It is dumb to have all of these cops out here with all of these weapons, tasers and pepper spray and batons and guns and dogs and drones, pulling people over for like little, what do you call it, your taillight’s out?
You are going to throw that much firepower against communities on stuff like that? Send them something in the mail. It’s just dumb to direct this much firepower. No other country does this. This much-armed personnel against such petty offenses. That’s dumb. And it’s dangerous for both sides because why are you pulling all these people overdoing this stuff? Everybody is terrified. Everybody’s afraid. It’s discriminatory because, first of all, they pull people of color over all the time. The numbers are completely clear on this. Then the interaction is completely different.