Raw Emotions Spill Over at President Obama’s Townhall on Race and Policing


Emotions boiled over after President Obama’s televised town hall meeting on race relations Thursday, as the daughter of a man killed by police shouted that she wasn’t allowed to ask the president a question.

“I was railroaded!” Erica Garner shouted as the taping of the ABC News special ended. “That’s what I have to do? A black person has to yell to be heard?”

Garner’s father, Eric Garner, was killed in 2014 by New York Police Department officers using a chokehold. The officers were later cleared by a grand jury.

The scene happened immediately after the town hall meeting, which gave Obama the opportunity to speak with police, political leaders and civil rights activists to discuss race and policing following a series of shooting deaths of police officers and citizens last week.

The town hall, moderated by ABC News anchor David Muir, was recorded Thursday afternoon for broadcast at 8 p.m. Eastern time on ABC and ESPN.

On Twitter, Garner called the event a “farce” and a “sham.”

“It was nothing short of full exploitation of Black pain and grief,” she said. “They shut out all real and hard questions.”

ABC said it tried to accommodate as many questions as it could. “We took an extra 30 minutes to get to as many people as we could during the town hall,” said ABC spokeswoman Julie Townsend. “The president spoke to several people after the event ended, including at length with Erica Garner.”

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Source: USA Today | Gregory Korte