President Obama’s town hall went smoothly, if you were a viewer who caught the taped event broadcast on all ABC-affiliated networks.
After the taping of the town hall, according to pool reports, a woman with ties to one of the most prominent casualties of the Black Lives Matter movement began shouting.
“I was railroaded!” Erica Garner shouted. “I was railroaded by ABC on the two-year anniversary of my father’s death!”
Erica Garner is the daughter of Eric Garner, who died after being restrained by the NYPD in the famous “chokehold” case nearly two years ago. The NYPD officer who carried out the “chokehold” restraint was cleared by a Staten Island grand jury.
“I was railroaded! That’s what I have to do? A black person has to yell to be heard?” Garner shouted.
Garner exploded onto Twitter after the taped event:
Erica Garner also leveled a damaging accusation against the president after the town hall. In addition to calling the event a “farce” and a “sham,” she characterized the event as “exploitation.”
“It was nothing short of full exploitation of Black pain and grief,” she cried. “They shut out all real and hard questions.”
Garner had more sharp criticism for The White House and ABC, as reported by the New York Daily News.
“I need all of you to know that this #ABC town hall that will air at 8pm is a sham. They shut out ALL real and hard questions,” Garner wrote.
“They lied to me and my family to get us to travel to DC to participate. Taking time away from things I had planned to remember my father,” she continued.
While various reports captured the most distillable complaints of Erica Garner, the New York Daily News gave an even more agonizing picture:
The daughter of NYPD chokehold victim Eric Garner screamed at organizers of a town hall meeting on race relations and community policing Thursday after missing a chance to speak with the host — President Obama.
An upset Erica Garner could be heard backstage shouting profanities as Obama shook hands with audience members because she wasn’t allowed to ask the president a question at an hour-long program hosted by ABC.
“I want to talk to the President,” Garner insisted at event, which took place in Washington D.C. “You all jerked me around.”
President Obama, for his part, attempted reconciliation with the obviously distraught Garner after learning of her outcry.
“After the ABC-hosted townhall that was taped this afternoon, the President had a brief opportunity to visit with Erica Garner who was upset that she didn’t get called on to ask a question,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.
It wasn’t the only confrontation for President Obama, who was attempting to address growing racial tensions amid explosive reports of police shootings in the past few weeks: the Alton Sterling case in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the Philando Castile case in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.
Obama also had to deal with concerns about anti-police violence after a lone gunman massacred five police officers in Dallas, Texas a week ago.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican at the town hall, challenged the president about his support for police officers. Patrick stated that while police officers in his state know he has their backs, he cannot currently say the same of the president.
“They know you support law enforcement, of course. But do they really in their heart feel like you’re doing everything you can to protect their lives?” Patrick told Obama.
Patrick’s comments come after the White House controversially declined to give a ‘blue light’ tribute to the fallen Dallas police officers, in a similar manner that was given to the LGBT community after a Supreme Court decision on gay marriage and for breast cancer awareness month.
The Lt. Gov. also faulted Obama for “being too quick to condemn the police without due process and until the facts are known.”
“Words matter, your words matter much more than mine. Everything you say matters,” Patrick added.
The president rejected the notion that he was not giving adequate support to the police.
“I have been unequivocal in condemning any rhetoric directed at police officers,” he stated. “I rely on law enforcement to protect me and my family, just like everybody else does.”
The president also said that he’d be “happy to send” Lt. Gov. Patrick a copy of every relevant speech he’s made since Ferguson, all of which he claimed expresses support for police. At the town hall, he took the opportunity to do so again.
“I don’t want a generation of young people to grow up thinking either that they have to mistrust the police or alternatively, that the police who are doing a good job and out there, taking care of their communities that they’re constantly at risk not just from criminals but also because of the community mistrusts them,” Obama said.
President Obama, speaking only hours prior to a devastating terrorist attack in Nice, France that killed at least 75 people with a weaponized vehicle, also doubled down on his calls for increased gun control:
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 15, 2016
The president has received pushback over the claim made at the Dallas Memorial from critics who were quick to point out that customers for computers and books do not receive background checks. The claim received three Pinocchios from the Washington Post fact-checker.
Source: independent journal