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Ex-Detroit police chief to appear in Obama town hall

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Former Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee will appear in a nationally televised town hall meeting on racial discrimination and violence with President Barack Obama that will air Thursday night on ABC.

Godbee, who retired as police chief in 2012 and now has a radio show on Superstation 910AM, was selected to ask at least one question of the president and panelists when the event is taped Thursday in Washington, D.C., according to the Detroit radio station.

ABC selected Godbee after he made an impassioned public plea for people to understand the meaning of the Black Lives Matter movement in a Facebook Live video that went viral last week.

“I’m tired of black men and women ending up as trending hashtags and there’s subsequently nothing being done about it,” Godbee said in the Facebook Live video, which has more than 226,000 views and 9,400 shares.

Godbee filed the video on July 6, a day after a Louisiana police officer shot and killed 37-year-old Alton Sterling during a scuffle outside of a Baton Rouge convenience store, where Sterling was selling homemade CDs. The shooting was caught on video, stoking national outrage from African Americans decrying police brutality.

“Mr. Sterling did not have his hand on a weapon,” Godbee said, later adding: “If the gun is not in his hand he cannot do anything with it.”

In the video, Godbee decried critics of the Black Lives Matter movement “by saying all lives matter.”

“That is the most asinine statement that anybody can make,” Godbee said. “In this country called the United States of America, there has never been a question of the value of white life.”

Godbee said the disappearance of a young white girl gets more media coverage than when a young black girl goes missing.

“We see this over and over and over and over again,” Godbee said during the 24-minute video.

ABC’s town hall meeting with Obama, Godbee and other black leaders will air at 8 p.m. Thursday on ABC, ESPN and Disney network channels.

David Muir, anchor of ABC’s “World News Tonight,” will moderate the town hall discussion on race and be joined by ESPN’s Jemele Hill, according to the network.


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Twitter: @ChadLivengood