Freddie Gray: Marc Lamont Hill Argues with Tara Setmayer

The issues within Baltimore dealing with Freddie Gray will always have its two popular, and polarizing, sides of debate. One side of the debate suggests that everything about this situation is racial. These people would ask if any of this would have happened if Freddie Gray was white. Others, however, see this as an issue of overall bad policing. Thus, there is a differing of opinion between what the bigger issue is.

And this is where Marc Lamont Hill and Tara Setmayer comes in. During a segment onCNN, they had a war of words:

Blaze host Tara Setmayer squared off with CNN’s Marc Lamont Hill, arguing that Gray’s arrest was a singular case of police misconduct, not an incident in a wider problem of systemic police mistreatment of African-American suspects. “You don’t have to put a race card on everything,” she said.

Hill wasn’t having it. “Black people die every day at the hands of law enforcement,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what color the officer is. The only color that matters is blue…. State violence against citizens is a problem. State violence against poor people is a problem. It’s disproportionate. When you look at the number of black people that die at the hands of law enforcement in proportion to their demographic percentage, we’re overrepresented in police killing. That’s not a coincidence.” [1]

On Hill’s side, there is the understanding that Black people have a wide spread problem with police issues. On Tara Setmayer’s side, there is the problem that police just weren’t doing their jobs. Sadly, they are actually arguing when they mostly agree with each other.

Marc Lamont Hill Wins the Debate

The issue that needs to be addressed is that Marc Lamont Hill is absolutely correct in most (not all) of his affirmations. White it seems that many write Hill off as a “race baitersupreme”, there has always been underlying issues with the police dealings with Black people in Baltimore. With a high rate of killings by police, added to the “zero tolerance arrest” policy being upheld, Black people in Baltimore see the police as adversaries. Adding on the fact that the police has had these issues for decades should set off an alarm. TheNAACP had to get an investigation into the police as far back as 1980. So, Marc Lamont Hill knew what he was talking about.

Marc-Lamont-Hill-baltimore_1_640xThe problem with Tara Setmayer’s argument is that she didn’t come prepared to actually defend her premise. She came with a lot to say but didn’t back it up with any worthwhile facts. Meanwhile, she wanted to argue against a situation where the facts, figures, and the burden of evidence has existed for more decades than many want to admit. It is safe to say that this was not Tara Setmayer’s battle to win.

We can call Marc Lamont Hill a “race baiter” all you want. We can even question some of the things he said (Gray was never shot; I’m need to see some numbers dealing with those middle class black people being harmed as well). What we can’t say is that Marc Lamont Hill wasn’t telling the truth.

Tara Setmayer was Also Correct (Short Sighted)

Still, can we just collectively say that Tara Setmayer was right about one thing: Baltimore has a policing problem? The city has paid about $5.7 million since 2011 over lawsuits claiming that police officers beat ups alleged suspects [2]. Even sadder, many would think that these people “brought it upon themselves”. Yet, seeing that the victims ranged in age from 15 years old all the way up to 87 years young, age is nothing but a number [3]. Tara Setmayer did recognize that the police have an issue with handling their business without giving someone a black eye or broken bones.

I just hope that she recognizes the race issue within all of it before it is too late. It needs to be noted that most of these suspects that won lawsuits were Black [4].

Marc Lamont Hill and Tara Setmayer Need a Common Ground

Both Marc Lamont Hill and Tara Setmayer should come to an impasse. They are both arguing over the same initial issue: police brutality. Yet, they both want to address the obvious racial disparities that exist. Tara Setmayer shouldn’t have even argued against something so painfully obvious. In addition, Marc Lamont Hill needs to make sure the facts check everything before he mentions it. In the end, this debate would have been worthwhile if the problem wasn’t already obviously one sided.