Former San Francisco police chief criticizes Beck comments

››› ››› JOE STRUPP

"The Becks of the world are people who are venting their opinions and it is inflammatory, it generates a lot of emotion and generates in some people overreaction that apparently happened in the California case," IUPA spokesman Rich Roberts had said. "Inflammatory speech has a tendency to trigger those kinds of emotions."

Both Roberts and Ribera made the comments following Media Matters' interview with Williams, who was arrested July 19 in Oakland after a shoot-out in which several members of the California Highway Patrol were injured.

Williams told investigators that he was heading to San Francisco to kill members of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU.

In a recent interview with Media Matters, Williams repeatedly cited Beck when discussing his conspiracy theories that informed his assassination plot.

Beck, Williams said, is "like a schoolteacher on TV." Williams added, "... he's been breaking open some of the most hideous corruption."

Williams also said: "Beck would never say anything about a conspiracy, would never advocate violence. He'll never do anything ... of this nature. But he'll give you every ounce of evidence that you could possibly need."

Ribera said Beck's comments are symptomatic of the effects of outrageous talk: "There is a lot of uncivil conduct in our nation now, that type of behavior lends itself to violence."

"We have to realize that is a concern, you don't want to let an issue diminish the respect for another human being," Ribera said. "I don't think there is a question that hatred creates violence. The lack of human respect, just because you don't like people's politics or how they comb their hair doesn't mean you can promote violence."

A former San Francisco police chief who now heads a police leadership program criticized Glenn Beck for comments that a California man says helped inform his plans for a killing spree, which esulted in injuries to several highway patrolmen in nearby Oakland.

Anthony Ribera, who served as San Francisco police chief from 1992 to 1996 and now heads a law enforcement leadership program at the University of San Francisco, commented on the rhetoric that led to a shootout between police and right-wing extremist Byron Williams that occurred this summer just across the bay in Oakland.

"Someone gets into a position of power, be it in the media or otherwise, and lets their personal animosity drive the rhetoric and there is no question that some people can embrace the rhetoric and take it to the extreme," he said when asked about the July 19 incident. "They influence people and the key is that when they are in highly-influential positions people listen to them and they have to temper what they say."

He is the second law enforcement leader this week to assail Beck, commenting just days after the top spokesman of the International Union of Police Associations, which represents about 500 local police unions, called Beck's words "inflammatory speech."

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