In a testy exchange between former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson, the tensions of the happenings in Ferguson, Mo. came into play. Giuliani defended white police officers in the town and in general, saying that they wouldn’t be needed if Black people weren’t killing each other in his words.

The debate took place on NBC’s Sunday morning political program Meet The Press hosted by Chuck Todd, and the higher number of white officers in primarily Black neighborhoods was at the centerpiece. Giuliani opened up by discussing how he and the mayors that succeeded him, former mayor Michael Bloomberg and current mayor Bill de Blasio, worked to make the NYPD more diverse. However, things took a turn for the worse when Giuliani expressed why the imbalance was occurring.

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After Giuliani expressed sympathy towards the grand jurors deciding whether or not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown, Dyson defend the outrage of the protesters. Dyson said Governor Nixon’s decision to preemptively enact a state of emergency sent the wrong signal, sparking a heated debate on race.

“Mayor Giuliani speaks about what’s, you know, unconscionable and what should be indicted. What should be indicted is the criminal justice system that continues to impose undue burdens on African American, Latino, and other poor people,” Dyson explained.

Giuliani disagreed, saying people aren’t focused on the reason behind the heavy police presence seen in black communities. “We are talking about the significant exception, 93% of blacks are killed by other blacks,” Giuliani argued.

Dyson called that a false equivalency, saying police officers are agents of the state sworn to uphold the law. “Black people who kill black people go to jail. White people who are policemen who kill black people do not go to jail,” Dyson responded. “If a jury can indict a ham sandwich, why is it taking so long?”

Watch the entire debate below courtesy of NBC’s Meet The Press.

Photo: NBC/Meet The Press

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