'Morning Joe' Scarborough erupts in defense of police in Ferguson, NYC

Dylan Stableford

While assessing Charles Barkley's comments about Ferguson and racial profiling on Wednesday, "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough said, "Let's have a real conversation on race."

But the conversation quickly turned into a shouting match, as Scarborough erupted during an exchange about American policing.

It began as Scarborough argued that police activity in minority communities is based on crime data.

"If you're a black cop and you see me walking down the street, and you see an 18-year-old black guy walking down the street in the south Bronx, and you're told to stop and frisk, your job is to stop crime based on data," Scarborough said, "What do you do as a black cop? Do you go, 'I'm going to go across the street and frisk the white dude who looks like he lives in Connecticut?'"

Guest Dorian Warren, an assistant professor at Columbia University, countered that policies such as stop-and-frisk are flawed and skew the crime data.

"I would say the white dude is in that neighborhood to buy drugs," Warren said.

Co-host Mika Brzezinski said both men in Scarborough's scenario should be frisked.

“It should not be based on the data," Brzezinski said. "It should be based on moving society forward, and treating whites and blacks equally.”

“A cop is not out on the street going, ‘You know what I’m going to do today? I’m going to move our society forward,’” Scarborough screamed. “A cop on the street has one job: to protect the people in that neighborhood. It is not to make a statement that makes prime-time people on MSNBC feel better about America.”

The outburst came on the heels of the MSNBC host's criticism of his own network's coverage of the Ferguson protests.

"Somebody needs to tell me why Michael Brown has been chosen as the face of black oppression," Scarborough said on Monday, a day after several St. Louis Rams players took the field with their hands up. "This Ram thing was the final straw for me. I have sat here quietly and listened to BS being spewed all over this network and all over other networks. I can't take it anymore."

Scarborough took issue with the idea that Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was fatally shot with his hands up by officer Darren Wilson. Wilson told a grand jury that Brown charged at him after punching him several times in the face, and did not have his hands raised.

"It's absolutely terrible that that black man lay in the street for four and a half hours," Scarborough said. "That's one area where you can say no white man would lay in the street for four and a half hours. There are places where there are great inequities. That said, at least get your signs right. If this movement is important enough to you, don't base your movement on a lie."

Scarborough added: "By the way, if I've offended anybody by saying what I've said, trust me: 95 percent of America thinks just like me. Just because there are cowards that won't say that on TV, that's your problem, it's not mine, because you're not getting the truth."

On Tuesday, Scarborough continued his criticism of the team and league for not punishing the players.

"The St. Louis Rams think it's cool to suggest St. Louis cops shoot young black men with their hands up in the air when we know that was a lie?" Scarborough asked. "It's a lie."