Black Republican Senator Says He’s Been Repeatedly Stopped By Police In Last Year

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SOURCEThink Progress

Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, a Republican senator took 18 minutes to describe his own experiences as a black man profiled by police. He also recounted the seven times he’s been pulled over by cops in the last year, explaining that his profession isn’t enough to shield him from racist policing.

Following a Senate discussion about the need for criminal justice reform, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) got candid about the reality of being black in America, the second of several speeches on race he’s planned for this week.

“In the course of one year, I’ve been stopped seven times by law enforcement officers. Not four, not five, not six, but seven times in one year as an elected official,” he said. “Was I speeding sometimes? Sure. But the vast majority of the times, I was pulled over for nothing more than driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood, or some other reason just as trivial.”

Scott detailed several times he was followed by police for reasons he couldn’t deduce. He also admitted that he’s been questioned and profiled by police on Capitol Hill.

“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. Imagine the frustration, the irritation, the sense of a loss of dignity that accompanies each of those stops,” Scott said. “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’s remarks came nearly one week after Philando Castile was fatally shot in St. Anthony in front of a 4-year-old girl and Dallas police were gunned down by a sniper — two tragedies the senator brought up in his speech. Like Scott, Castile was stopped numerous times by officers before he was killed — 52 times since 2002, according to the Associated Press. But Scott also spoke on the Senate floor about the Dallas shooting on Tuesday, urging the country to have a “family conversation” about the challenges the country experienced last week and condemning the massacre.

“Our nation is experiencing turmoil we haven’t seen in generations,” he said. “There are wounds that have existed for more than a generation, and it’s time for the American family to work together to heal some of these wounds.”

Scott has been outspoken about race and policing in the past. Last year, he criticized the fatal shooting of Walter Scott, who was shot in the back while fleeing officer Michael Slager in North Charleston, South Carolina. Scott’s also been a vocal proponent of police body cameras, and introduced a bill to allocate $100 million to police departments, annually, in order to equip more officers with them.

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Carimah Townes is the Criminal Justice Reporter for ThinkProgress. She received a B.A. in political science from UCLA, where she also minored in cultural anthropology. While in school, she served as a festival planner and interned with the Office of Mayor Villaraigosa. Before joining ThinkProgress, she worked for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and interned with the Communications and Development teams at Vital Voices Global Partnership. Carimah is originally from Amherst, Massachusetts.

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