Monthly Archives: May 2020

Harris: ‘We do have two systems of justice in America’

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris said President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr are “spending full time in a different reality“ when it comes to racism in the justice system.

“The reality of America today is what we have seen over generations and, frankly, since our inception, which is we do have two systems of justice in America,” Harris told CNN’s Dana Bash in an interview that aired Sunday on “State of the Union” in response to Barr’s comments that there are not two systems of justice for Black and white Americans.
“I don’t think that most reasonable people who are paying attention to the facts would dispute that there are racial disparities and a system that has engaged in racism,” she added. “There’s no question that we have seen an unacceptable incidence for generations of unarmed Black men being killed. Nobody can deny that.”

In an interview Wednesday on CNN, Barr acknowledged “there are some situations where statistics would suggest” people of color are treated differently than white people but said the justice system was not inherently racist.

Harris, a former prosecutor who served as attorney general of California, also said charges should be considered for the white police officer who shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old unarmed Black man, in Kenosha, Wis.

“I am not in full position of the facts of the case,” Harris said. “But based on what I’ve seen, I think that charges very much should be considered and should be considered in a very serious way and that there should be accountability and consequence.”

When asked about the suspension of a group of police officers involved in the suffocation death of a 41-year-old Black man, Daniel Prude, in Rochester, N.Y., Harris said she expects the state’s attorney general to “review all of the evidence and make the appropriate decision.”

Rep. Demings slams Trump on racial equity training, protests

Rep. Val Demings condemned President Donald Trump on Sunday for an order to crack down on federal anti-racism training initiatives.

“We need a commander-in-chief who clearly understands and wants to address racism in all systems,” the Florida Democrat said in ABC’s “This Week. “Until we get to that point, we will continue to see the problems and be plagued by the problems that we’re seeing every day right now.”

In a White House memo from the Office of Management and Budget, Trump is cited for believing anti-racism training in the federal workforce is “divisive” and “anti-American.” Responding, Demings, a former Orlando, Fla., police chief said, “Racism has been the ghost in the room in this country for 400 years.”

“We got to deal with inequality in all things,” she said. “In health care, we see the effects of Covid-19 on Black and brown communities. In education … we know that [the] overwhelming majority of people in our prison systems, for example, are Black and brown, and a majority did not graduate high school. We’ve got to deal with injustices in education, in lending, in housing.”

Asked about the nationwide protests on racism and police brutality, Demings urged peaceful protesting and accountability for looting and violence.

“Our job is to make sure that peaceful protesters are able to exercise their right guaranteed under the First Amendment,” Demings said. “But we also have to make sure that those who break the law, those who exercise violence, regardless of what side of the political aisle that they’re on, must be held accountable.”

Demings slammed Trump for “throwing fire” at protests, agreeing with a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll that most Americans say Trump is making protests and unrest worse.

“While America was going through civil unrest in all 50 states, quite frankly, America was on fire, we had a president, a commander-in-chief, who with us walking around with a gasoline can, not trying to sow peace and calm, but actually throwing fire on an already volatile situation,” Demings said in her interview.

Jacob Blake speaks out for first time since police shooting

MILWAUKEE — Jacob Blake has spoken publicly for the first time since a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer shot him seven times in the back, saying he’s in constant pain from the shooting, which doctors fear will leave him paralyzed from the waist down.

In a video posted Saturday night on Twitter by his family’s lawyer, Ben Crump, Blake said from his hospital bed that, “Twenty-four hours, every 24 hours it’s pain, nothing but pain. It hurts to breathe, it hurts to sleep, it hurts to move from side-to-side, it hurts to eat.”
Blake, a 29-year-old father of six, also said he has staples in his back and stomach.

“Your life, and not only just your life, your legs, something you need to move around and forward in life, can be taken from you like this,” Blake said, snapping his fingers.

He added: “Stick together, make some money, make everything easier for our people out there, man, because there’s so much time that’s been wasted.”

Blake, who is Black, was shot in the back by a white police officer on Aug. 23 after walking away from the officer and two others who were trying to arrest him. The officer, Rusten Sheskey, opened fire after Blake opened his own SUV’s driver-side door and leaned into the vehicle. The shooting was captured on video and posted online, sparking several nights of protests and unrest in Kenosha, a city of about 100,000 between Milwaukee and Chicago.

Sheskey and the other officers who were at the scene were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice. None of them have been charged.

Blake, who had an outstanding arrest warrant when he was shot, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges accusing him of sexually assaulting a woman in May and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Blake appeared remotely via video conference from his Milwaukee hospital bed, wearing a dress shirt and tie. He spoke only to respond to the judge’s questions.

The state Justice Department has said a knife was recovered from Blake’s vehicle, but it has not said whether he was holding it when officers tried to arrest him.

The man who made the widely seen cellphone video of the shooting, 22-year-old Raysean White, said he saw Blake scuffling with three officers and heard them yell, “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” before gunfire erupted. He said he didn’t see a knife in Blake’s hands.

The Kenosha police union said Blake had the knife and refused orders to drop it. Blake fought with police, including putting one officer in a headlock, the union said. Police twice used a Taser, which did not stop Blake.