'Full time in a different reality': Kamala Harris blasts Trump and Barr for not acknowledging systemic racism in policing

Senator Harris said that “there should be accountability” for Jacob Blake’s shooting by police in Kenosha last month

Griffin Connolly
Sunday 06 September 2020 16:06
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Kamala Harris says Trump and Barr are living in 'different reality' when they deny systemic racism exists

Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris has said Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr live in an alternate reality from the rest of America when they say there is no systemic racism in the US.

“I think that Donald Trump and Bill Barr are spending full time in a different reality," the California senator said in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash that aired on Sunday.

“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” — one for white people, and another for minorities, Ms Harris said.

At a roundtable event in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week, a reporter asked the only two black people on the dais, local pastors James and Sharon Ward, if they believed police violence was a systemic issue.

Mr Trump cut in before either of the pastors could answer.

"I don't believe that. I think the police do an incredible job, and I think you do have some bad apples," the president said.

Last month, Kenosha was the site of several anti-police brutality protests which devolved into pockets of rioting and looting, as tensions flared over the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake.

Senator Harris said in her interview on Sunday that while she does not have all the facts surrounding Mr Blake’s shooting, she believes charges "should be considered in a very serious way and that there should be accountability."

The clashes in Kenosha continued a summer of confrontations with law enforcement after the death in police custody of George Floyd in Minneapolis; Breonna Taylor who was shot dead by police at her home  in Louisville, and others.

Mr Barr said expressly last week that he does not believe there are “two justice systems,” and that claims of systemic racism in law enforcement are overblown.

"I think the narrative that the police are on some, you know, epidemic of shooting unarmed black men is simply a false narrative and also the narrative that that's based on race," Mr Barr said.

"The fact of the matter is it’s very rare for an unarmed African American to be shot by a white police officer," the attorney general said

Ample data has shown that black people are far more likely, proportionately, to be the victims of unarmed police shootings than people of other races.

After the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, The Washington Post began compiling national data on fatal shootings by on-duty police officers.

Although black Americans represent just 13 per cent of the US population, they were killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans, the data found.

Ms Harris suggested in her interview on Sunday that American politicians can’t address “racial disparities” and close existing gaps if they can’t even acknowledge that they are real.

“It does us no good if we want to solve those disparities to pretend they don’t exist,” she said.

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