BALTIMORE (WUSA9) - An NBA legend caused a controversy at a Maryland church during a discussion about race relations and police brutality in America.
Audience members say it happened during a recent taping of Charles Barkley's new show, "The Race Card," on TNT.
Prince George's County resident Marion Gray-Hopkins attended the taping earlier this week at a church in East Baltimore. Her son, Gary Hopkins Jr., was shot and killed by a Prince George's County police officer in 1999.
She said she was disappointed by how the event turned out.
"He validated that he is a number one jerk," she said.
She said Barkley downplayed the issue of police brutality and talked down to the audience when he tried to tell it to focus more on quelling black on black crime.
The issue of police brutality has been a major subject in Baltimore ever since the death of Freddie Gray in 2015.
"He started [the conversation] with, "I want you to share with me your feelings. Let's be real here,'" she said. "And, as people began to be real with him, he offended people."
The way Barkley conducted himself at the church received a lot of discussion on social media when the website, "The Undefeated", published an article about his Baltimore visit Wednesday afternoon.
Writer Milton Kent wrote that Barkley told the audience he believes racism exist, but that American discrimination is more about economic empowerment than skin color.
WUSA9 has reached out to Turner, the parent company of TNT, to see if either it or Barkley had a comment about the incident.
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