Cory Booker Gets Emotional When Asked About Police Brutality and Blocking of Anti-Lynching Bill in Senate


Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) spoke emotionally to late-night host Stephen Colbert on Thursday when asked about police brutality and Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) blocking of the anti-lynching bill, fighting back tears when he discussed his own experiences with racism.

Booker showed his support for those marching against police brutality, claiming he wished he had joined the protests at Lafayette Park this week.

The senator then went after President Donald Trump for saying he “honored peaceful protesters” before forcibly driving them away from the White House.

“To unleash tear gas, rubber bullets, men on horseback charging or marching into that crowd, it was horrific, and tramples some of the most, to me, sacrosanct ideals of America,” Booker said. “The right to petition your government, the right to protest, the right to free speech. Even the right to a free press.”

Colbert then asked Booker, who has a law degree, about the posse comitatus act. Booker explained that it prevents the president from using the military against American citizens. There is one exception to the act —  if the citizens pose a threat to the government — Booker explained, adding that the last time it was used was in 1992, during the riots protesting the police beating of Rodney King.

Booker got visibly emotional when asked about the situation in Washington D.C., where military force is currently being used against protesters.

“What it is is sad, what it is is hurtful, what it is is scary,” Booker said. “I’m a United States senator and I left here late last night, and I literally thought twice about putting on my shorts and a T-shirt to walk home because the painful thing that—and the conversation I’ve had with many other black men this last week — is to know you have this fear, you’ve had it all your life.”

Booker remembered conversations he had with family members, during which they told him people would treat him differently because of his race. The senator also recalled his own experiences with the police, revealing that officers once drew their weapons on him and accused him of stealing his own car.

Remarking on the injustices black Americans face, Booker noted, “Now it is displayed for all of America to see, something that is an everyday haunting part of your thoughts that maybe, when I’m walking home as a United States senator, I might be mistaken and something might happen. That’s wrong.”

Booker told Colbert he was “emotionally raw” after leaving the Senate floor on Wednesday, referring to a debate over anti-lynching legislation.

“I’m yelling at, with respect, to a colleague, who stopped 99 senators ready to vote for an anti-lynching bill, for dear god,” Booker said of Paul’s blocking of the bill. “A bill that had been killed for a century when thousands of Americans had been lynched. And we finally get a bill passed only four dissenters from the house, Republicans and Democrats and it was stopped?”

Watch above, via CBS.

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