Conservative talk radio host Michael Berry can be heard comparing teens who attended a now infamous pool party last week in McKinney, Texas, to “jungle animals,” in audio from his Monday show posted online by Media Matters.
The party gained national exposure after footage went viral showing a white police officer confronting attendees, many of whom were black, and wrestling a 15-year-old black girl in a bikini to the ground, as well as drawing his gun. McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley said officers who arrived on the scene “encountered a large crowd that refused to comply with police commands.” According to Conley, 12 officers in total arrived on the scene and there were no official reports of injuries.
“You’ve got a ready-made crowd of people who don’t have day jobs that are ready to storm the streets and threaten the cops,” Berry said on his eponymous show on Houston’s KTRH, which is an iHeartRadio network station. “Let me suggest that for the people who end up getting in fights with the cops: Shut your mouth!” NBC News cannot be certain the audio was not edited.
“Let me ask you, how many among you would put on a badge and a police uniform today?” he added. “How many of you would put on a badge, police uniform and be the first to respond — by yourself — to a crowd of teenagers, amped up — watch ‘em! Man, they’re screaming! ‘Get outta here! Who are you?! You don’t know what you! You go! You get! Who are you?! You can’t do that! No man, we gon’ get you! You bet!’ I mean you’re talking about, like, jungle animals. I mean this is wild, crazy, out of control.”
On his Monday broadcast, Berry also defended the “probably white” people who called police to the scene at the pool party, saying they were “scared to death” because “there’s a bunch of black people and they’re out on the streets and they’re fightin’ and carryin’ on and they’re playing that music from Jay-Z.”
Msnbc reached out to KTRH for comment but has not heard back at this time.
Berry has a history of using incendiary, racially insensitive rhetoric. When plans were revealed in 2010 to potentially build a mosque in close proximity to the site of the World Trade Center in New York City, he said on his show, “I hope somebody blows it up … I hope the mosque isn’t built, and if it is, I hope it’s blown up, and I mean that.” Those remarks led to an FCC complaint from the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Berry has also been an unapologetic Obama birth certificate conspiracy theorist.
The officer involved in the McKinney incident resigned on Monday evening and an investigation is currently underway into what took place. “The excessive force on an unarmed 14-year-old girl clad only in a bikini by an officer wearing a uniform and a gun was particularly troubling,” said Cornell William Brooks, president of the NAACP, on Monday. “These teens appeared to be simply attending a pool party and deserved respectful treatment under the law.”
During a press conference on Tuesday, McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley came out against the officer’s actions. “His actions are indefensible,” he said. “Our policies, our training, our practice do not support his actions. He came into the call out of control and, as the video shows, was out of control during the incident.”