Washington, DC – Republicans called out the past anti-police statements of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominee during confirmation hearings on Wednesday.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) called nominee Nusrat Jahan Choudhury on the carpet for her past statements about law enforcement during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
President Biden has nominated Choudhury to the federal bench for the Eastern District of New York.
“This is a really simple question, councilor,” Kennedy began. “Do you believe that cops kill unarmed black men in America every single day? You said it at Princeton.”
But Choudhury refused to answer the question directly.
“Senator, I said it in my role as an advocate,” the federal judgeship nominee responded.
“Oh, so you didn’t mean it,” Kennedy pushed.
Choudhury told the senator that she had only said that to make a “rhetorical point” in her role as an advocate but didn’t address the factual correctness of the statement.
But the conservative senator from Louisiana wasn’t ready to let Choudhury off the hook that easily, video of the interaction showed.
“So when you say something that’s incorrect, it’s okay to excuse it by saying ‘oh, I was being an advocate?’” Kennedy asked.
“What do you believe?” he continued. ‘Do you personally believe that cops kill unarmed black men every single day in America?”
“Senator, I believe that law enforcement have an important and challenging job in this country—” Choudhury began but Kennedy cut her off.
“That’s not what you said though, councilor,” he pointed out. “I just think that’s an extraordinary statement to make with no data to back that up. No, none whatsoever.’
“There’s no basis for you to be saying that and you knew it then and you know it now. How can anyone possibly believe that you’re gonna be unbiased on the federal bench?” Kennedy asked.
Choudhury continued to avoid answering the direct question and instead insisted that her record indicated she had worked “collaboratively with law enforcement in Boston, Chicago, Mississippi, and Milwaukee to solve complex problems to promote constitutional, effective and safe policing.”
But the lawmaker from Louisiana didn’t let the nominee get away with evading the question and he answered it for her, video of the hearing showed.
“Your record shows that you believe cops are guilty until proven innocent,” Kennedy said. “Your record shows that if a cop shoots a criminal, it’s the cop’s fault. And if a criminal shoots a cop, it’s the gun’s fault.”
“I’ve read your record and I don’t appreciate you not answering the questions straight up. I would respect you a lot more if you would just tell us what you believe and not try to hide it,” he lectured her.
Sen. John Kennedy: "Do you believe cops kill unarmed Black men in America every single day? You said it at Princeton."
Judicial nominee Choudhury: "I said it in my role as an advocate to make a rhetorical point."
Sen. John Kennedy: "So when you say something incorrect it's ok?" pic.twitter.com/xF79I58jAo
— The Hill (@thehill) April 28, 2022
Choudhury made the statement about black men being killed by police every day at Princeton in 2019, WHAM reported.
Washington Post’s police shooting database shows that a total of 11 unarmed black men were shot by police in the United States in 2019; that number includes offenders who were attacking or threatening law enforcement.
Statistics show that attacks on police, however, have skyrocketed.
On Thursday, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Chris Wray denounced the 59 percent increase in the murder of police officers in 2021, the New York Post reported.
Dir. Wray said an officer is murdered every five days in the United States, twice the rate of cop killings in 2020.
A large number of the fatal attacks on police officers were ambushes, the New York Post reported.
Ambushes increased 91 percent by mid-2021.
Fatal shootings of police were up another 13 percent this year over the same period last year, the New York Post reported.
The number of police officers shot so far this year – both fatal and non-fatal – was up 43 percent over 2021 by early April.