‘You Seem to Have a Difficult Time Understanding Systemic Racism’: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee Confronts AG Barr Over Police Brutality Cases
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) confronted William Barr for not understanding police brutality and failing to pursue federal cases related to them during the Attorney General’s testimony at the House Judiciary Committee.
In her opening statement, she bluntly told Barr, “You seem to have a difficult time understanding systemic racism and institutional that has plagued so many.”
Jackson Lee started her time by mentioning a 1963 quote from the recently deceased Georgia congressman John Lewis before ripping the Attorney General for not understand how Black people approach police brutality.
“Mr. Attorney General, in your remarks you indicated we made great progress since that time and you indicated that the killing of George Floyd was shocking,” Jackson Lee said. “I disagree. It was outright cold-blooded murder on the streets of America, unfortunately by police misconduct. You seem to have a difficult time understanding systemic racism and institutional racism that has plagued so many. Mr. Attorney General, do you understand a black mother’s or parent’s talk to their child, to their son, do you know what that is?”
“I think I do,” he responded.
“I don’t know if you do but Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Sean Bell and George Floyd do,” she continued. “Black mothers and fathers have had to talk to their sons about police violence. I take no backseat to the history of this committee that has stood for good policing not misconduct. And so I ask you this question, does the Trump justice department seek to end systemic racism and racism in law enforcement? I just need a yes or no answer.”
“To the extent there’s any racism in the institutions in this country and the police then obviously this administration will fully enforce,” Barr responded before Jackson Lee cut him off and asked if he thought there was systemic racism in police departments.
“I don’t agree there’s systemic racism in the police department,” Barr said after a back-and-forth.
Jackson Lee then asked Barr why the Department of Justice has only pursued one pattern of practice case under President Donald Trump’s administration. Barr didn’t fully answer the question, rather referring back to an older statement.
“I would hope that the DOJ would focus on systemic institutional racism,” Jackson Lee concluded. “Because there’s good policing. That’s what we’re doing in the judiciary committee and that’s what we need you to join us on, Mr. Attorney General. And to recognize that institutional racism does exist and until we accept that we will not finish our job and reach the goals and aspirations of our late, iconic John Lewis.”
Watch above, via CNN.
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com