In comments several online viewers said amounts to an explicit threat of domestic terrorism, Hawk Newsome, the president of Greater New York Black Lives Matter, told Fox News on Wednesday that the movement was prepared to "burn down this system" if it did not get what it wants.
"If this country doesn't give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it.. I could be speaking figuratively," Newsome said. "I could be speaking literally. It's a matter of interpretation."
During the interview with "The Story's" Martha MacCallum, Newsome insisted that he did not "condone" or "condemn" the rioting, which he framed as black people "arming themselves and defending themselves."
"Nobody's talking about ambushing police officers. We're talking about protecting lives," he said. "There's nothing more American than that. We talk about uplifting and upholding the Second Amendment but it seems to be the hypocrisy of America that when black people start talking about arming themselves and defending themselves, [that] talk is 'violent'. But when white people grab assault rifles and go to our nation's, their state capitals, it's all good."
Citing his allegiance to Jesus Christ, whom he called "the most famous black radical revolutionary in history," Newsome said he is seeking "black liberation."
"I just want black liberation and black sovereignty, by any means necessary," Newsome said.