In a Wednesday speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who is black, shared several personal experiences when he was targeted by law enforcement — even as a member of Congress — and called on Americans to address racism.
The senator shared several stories about being pulled over by police, and he noted that he has been stopped by law enforcement seven times in the last year. He admitted to speeding twice, but said, “The vast majority of the time, I was pulled over for nothing more than driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood or some other reason just as trivial.”
On one occasion, he said that a police officer stopped him because he thought Scott was driving a stolen car. Scott also shared that he was stopped by Capitol Police while wearing the pin designating that he is a senator. The police later called to apologize — Scott said it was the third time he’d received such a call.
He also noted that his brother was once stopped when an officer thought he was driving a stolen car because it was a Volvo, and he said that a former staffer sold his car because he was “tired of being targeted” for driving a nice car.
“I do not know many African American men who do not have a very similar story to tell – no matter their profession, no matter their income, no matter their disposition in life,” Scott said.
“While I thank God I have not endured bodily harm, I have, however, felt the pressure applied by the scales of justice when they are slanted,” the senator later added. “I have felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness and the humiliation that comes with feeling like you’re being targeted for nothing more than being just yourself.”
Scott added that this anger should never lead to violence.
“No matter this turmoil, these issues should not lead anyone to any conclusion other than to abide by the laws,” he said. “There is never, ever an acceptable reason to harm a member of our law enforcement community. Ever.”
Scott asked for Americans to do their best to understand what the black community experiences.
“I simply ask you this: Recognize that just because you do not feel the pain, the anguish of another, does not mean it does not exist. To ignore their struggles, our struggles, does not make them disappear. It simply leaves you blind and the American family very vulnerable,” he said.
Watch the whole speech:
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