Chipping away at the notion that only those on the political left are concerned with how bad things have gotten between law enforcement and African-American communities over the last several months, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Sunday that the growing tension between police and black people should be a concern shared by everyone in the country, according to the Washington Post.
Boehner plainly responded with an “I do” when asked on NBC’s Meet the Press if he thought the dispute between police and black people could be categorized as a “national crisis.”
“I think that if you look at what’s happened over the course of the last year, you’ve just got to scratch your head,” Boehner said, likely referring to the spate of incidents that have sparked national outrage, including the fatal detainment of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in Baltimore; the fatal choke hold applied to Eric Garner by New York City police; the shooting of an unarmed man, Walter Scott, as he ran away from a police officer in North Charleston, S.C.; and the fatal shooting of another unarmed man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo. All were high-profile cases that emboldened the #BlackLivesMatter movement launched to bring attention to excessive police force used in black communities.
“Public servants should not violate the law,” Boehner said when asked specifically about the Gray case, in which charges have been brought against six police officers.
Boehner said that if there is any validity to what investigators say happened to Gray—that he asked for medical attention several times during his detainment and was denied it by officers—then it’s “outrageous and unacceptable.”
Boehner also said that he is all for the use of police-worn body cameras. Although he didn’t come out in favor of additional federal funding for them, he had no problem with using federal dollars for that kind of initiative: “We have got a lot of police grants that we already have on the books that can be used for this. So why not?” he said.
Read more at the Washington Post.