Washington, DC – A number of prominent Democrats have pushed back at U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib’s (D-Michigan) vitriolic tweet that called American policing “inherent & intentionally racist” and advocated ending police, prisons, and “militarization.”
“It wasn’t an accident,” Tlaib posted shortly after it was revealed that the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota police officer who shot fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright on Sunday thought she was using her Taser.
“Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist,” Tlaib’s tweet continued.
“Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence. I am done with those who condone government funded murder. No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed,” the congresswoman from Michigan opined.
It wasn't an accident. Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist.
Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence. I am done with those who condone government funded murder.
No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can't be reformed.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) April 12, 2021
Now-former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter resigned from the police department on Tuesday, along with the police chief and the city manager.
She has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Wright.
There was immediate pushback from both sides of the political aisle after Tlaib tweeted about abolishing police and prisons.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) told CNN that he did not agree with Tlaib’s statement.
“I think that what we need to do is to understand that there needs to be major, major police reform all across this country,” Sanders said. “We are tired of seeing the same thing, week after week and year after year. We do not want to see innocent African Americans shot in cold blood.”
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina) condemned Tlaib’s statement and said the problem was who was being recruited, CNN reported.
“This is not about policing. This is not about training. This is about recruiting,” Clyburn said.
“Who are we recruiting to be police officers?” he asked. “That to me is where the focus has got to go. We’ve got to have police officers.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) focused her remarks on support for police reform legislation, FOX News reported.
“As I painfully watched the trial of Derek Chauvin during Holy Week, I was grateful that the House had already passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act,” Pelosi said. “This is all the more sad with the tragic killing of Daunte Wright this week. Our legislation provides a solution to systemic racism and does not paint all law enforcement with the same brush.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said much the same thing and promised to bring the George Floyd legislation to the Senate floor for a vote this session, FOX News reported.
“Look, we all know we have to root out systemic bias in law enforcement and we feel the best way to do that is the Justice in Policing Act,” Schumer said. “I don’t know if it passed the House this year, but it passed it last year, and we are making every effort to move it forward in Senate.”
Tlaib’s spokesman, Denzel McCampbell, defended his boss and told the Detroit News that Tlaib “was talking about the fact that we continue to see death after death at the hands of police officers with no meaningful accountability for the officers or departments involved.”
“We’ve seen countless millions of dollars pumped into police training and half-measures, only to see the recent killing of Duante Wright mere miles from the Derek Chauvin trial justified as a ‘mistaken’ use of a gun instead of a Taser,” McCampbell said. “If you can’t distinguish between a gun and a Taser, you shouldn’t be carrying either.”
Detroit Police Chief James Craig called Tlaib’s comments were “a disgusting knee-jerk response,” the Detroit News reported.
“This was a tragic incident, and it should’ve never happened. But when these tragedies happen, you shouldn’t just broad-bush the entire profession,” Chief Craig said.
“To say policing should be abolished gives no consideration to the people who live in our neighborhoods who rely on police to provide service. What happens to those folks? What about the victims?” the Detroit police chief asked.