In a new interview with CNN, former NBA all-star Charles Barkley pushed back after reporter Brooke Baldwin alleged the officer-involved death of Eric Garner in New York was a "homicide." A grand jury has yet to issue a decision in the controversial police chokehold that resulted in Garner's death earlier this year.
“I don’t think that was a homicide,” Barkley replied.
“What was that? It was a chokehold, you see it,” Baldwin shot back.
“I think that cops were trying to arrest him and they got a little aggressive,” Barkley said. “I think excessive force, you know, something like that. But to go right to murder — Brooke, when the cops are trying to arrest you, if you fight back, things go wrong.”
He also said he doesn’t believe the cops were trying to kill Garner, but he was a “big” man and they were trying to get him to the ground.
"Homicide" is defined as the "killing of one human being by another," and can include noncriminal killings. Barkley appeared to be arguing that the killing didn't amount to murder.
Watch the interview via CNN below (portion about Garner case starts at around 3:30):
Earlier in the interview, Barkley also refused to back down or apologize for his recent comments about the Ferguson grand jury decision in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. He stood by his assertion that the Ferguson protesters who looted local businesses are "scumbags."
Barkley’s response was immediate after Baldwin pressed Barkley to respond to the “flak” he’s received over the remarks. The former NBA great recently said he thinks the grand jury came to the right decision in not indicting officer Darren Wilson based on the evidence presented.
“The ‘scumbag’ comment — respond to that,” she said.
“When you’re looting people’s property, that’s what you are,” Barkley replied. “That’s against the law. It’s not your property. You wouldn’t want people to do it to your house. If you go back to the stepdad, he didn’t want people to burn down his house.”
Later in the interview, Barkley said it’s always tragic when parents lose a child, regardless of the circumstance. However, he argued the “notion that white cops are out there just killing black people” is “flat-out ridiculous.”
“Cops are actually awesome,” he added. “They are the only thing in the ghetto between this place being the ‘Wild, Wild West.’”