Sen. Elizabeth Warren has angered top police officials in Massachusetts for saying the criminal justice system was “racist … front to back.”
The Massachusetts Democrat made the remarks earlier this month at an event at Dillard University in New Orleans hosted by Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond, WFXT-TV reported.
“The hard truth about our criminal justice system: It’s racist,” Warren reportedly said. “I mean, front to back.”
Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson slammed Warren’s comments as “an insult to the hard working men and women of the Yarmouth Police Department, as well as other Local, State and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies who are part of the criminal justice system.”
Police on both local and state levels blasted the Democratic senator for her comments.
“Labeling the entire criminal justice profession as ‘racist’ spreads false and damaging information about our members,” Massachusetts Chief of Police Association President Steven Wojnar wrote in a letter to Warren.
“When our elected officials make generalized and inflammatory statements about our entire profession, without any information to back their position, it creates further hostility toward our officers and can damage the positive relationships with our residents that we have worked long and hard to establish,” he added.
Warren’s “slander” was even called out by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Fox News reported.
In a speech delivered Thursday in Georgia, Sessions condemned Warren’s statement as “a slander of every law officer and every prosecutor in America. And, frankly, I think it is an insult to their families and to the crime victims they have helped to face their attacker.”
Warren reportedly spoke to Frederickson on Saturday, according to a campaign spokeswoman who did not elaborate on the conversation.
“I spoke about an entire system — not individuals — and will continue to work on reforms to make the criminal justice system fairer,” Warren said in a statement, according to The Boston Globe.
“The entire law enforcement system has a lot of good people who get up every day and try to make this a more just, a more fair, more responsive system. And they say over and over, the system needs reform. It needs change,” she said.
Shiva Ayyadurai, a candidate challenging Warren as an independent, called her comments “election-year posturing.”
“She’s done this simply to garner political points with her constituency,” he said. “In my view, she’s part of the problem.”
Warren, who is looking to win a second Senate term in Massachusetts this November, is being called out by other opponents trying to unseat her.
“These chiefs are correct in their assessment that this was a real a slap in the face to law enforcement,” state representative and one of Warren’s Republican challengers, Geoff Diehl, said.
“People are just besides themselves. They just don’t understand how their public servants can not support the people who are on the front lines,” John Kingston, another GOP candidate, said, calling on the potential 2020 contender to apologize.
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