Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Urges Police, Black Community to Engage in ‘Conversation’

"We need to get that conversation going again."

ByABC News
July 27, 2016, 3:01 PM

— -- Former NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar urged police and the black community to start having meaningful conversations following both the recent targeted killings of law enforcement officers and the deaths of black men at the hands of police.

“It’s a frightening thing to see the breakdown start to occur like that because without the police, we don’t have a civil society," Abdul-Jabbar told ABC News’ White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl in Philadelphia. "We have chaos, and we need police absolutely. They are really heroes. We ask too much of them, and they try to do it with a smile.”

“The former Los Angeles Lakers star said “institutionalized racism” in the criminal justice system has made it more difficult for conversations to take place between law enforcement and the black community. "There is no conversation," he said. "They’re not even talking past each other."

“People make assumptions about people of color, and people of color make assumptions about the law enforcement apparatus, and neither one of them are correct,” he said.

Abdul-Jabbar grew up in a family of police officers. His father worked as a transit cop in New York City, and his grandfather also served as a police officer.

“My dad would’ve been upset that so many black people are being killed unnecessarily,” he said.

Abdul-Jabbar said he was most disturbed by the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was holding a toy gun when he was killed by a police officer in Cleveland in 2014.

“He had a toy gun," Abdul-Jabbar said. "He was playing on Christmas Day, my goodness, and the officer didn’t even wait two seconds before he shot him,” he said.

Abdul-Jabbar, who is slated to speak at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, said Hillary Clinton is the “best choice for our country.”

Donald Trump is “pandering to fear,” he said. “The answer to our problems is not chauvinism and fear mongering."

"He has no solutions,” Abdul-Jabbar continued. “He just says he’s the solution, He’s going to solve all our problems through his brilliant understanding of all the issues. Nobody is that smart. Nobody.”

Related Topics