Carson: Activists should advocates for ‘all black lives, not just a few’

22 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ben Carson On Racial Bias In Policing: ‘I’m Still Waiting For The Evidence’.

COLUMBIA, SC — Speaking to a bipartisan group of black lawmakers and community leaders on Saturday, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said he has yet to see evidence that black men and women are being disproportionately targeted by law enforcement.

A Republican and two Democratic presidential candidates took part in a criminal justice forum Saturday at a historically black university – offering very different visions on the federal government’s role in addressing injustices against African-Americans.DES MOINES, Iowa — About halfway through Friday night’s Presidential Family Forum — a Republican candidate roundtable that featured seven 2016 contenders — the moderator lobbed a softball question toward Ben Carson. “Is President Obama an armchair quarterback?” Frank Luntz asked, referring to what conservatives widely view as the administration’s overly passive foreign policy. “Are you asking me?” a momentarily confused Carson replied, which prompted friendly laughter to ripple across the ballroom of more than a thousand Iowa conservatives. Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson characterized police violence against blacks as isolated events born out of a lack of “mutual respect” between African-Americans and police. This rhetorical regurgitation was greeted with a warm round of applause by many in the audience — not the loudest ovation of the night, but probably the most easily won.

I’m going to shoot you,’” he said to moderator Jeff Johnson from Black Entertainment Television. “I’m still waiting for the evidence.” Rice’s death is just one recent example of systematic biases within police departments. It’s not getting us anywhere.” Carson said the relationship between law enforcement officials and the communities they serve is at the heart of true criminal justice. Studies conducted in labs show that police are considerably slower to press the “don’t shoot” button for an unarmed black man than they are for an unarmed white man.

Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, talked of mutual respect between police and communities, severe punishment for “rogue” police officers and reducing poverty by using taxes from off-shore money returned to the country to create enterprise zones. Indeed, even as the candidate has begun to slide recently in national polls amid brutal media coverage and questions about his grasp of foreign policy, the gentle neurosurgeon has remained remarkably popular, with huge majorities of Republican voters reporting favorable impressions of him.

He also talked of institutional racism in theory and not going overboard with policies addressing a handful of cases in which officers shoot unarmed blacks without reason. That’s the thing that’s lacking – mutual respect. “I think it makes a huge difference when people know each other,” the retired neurosurgeon added. “That’s really going to be the solution – those relationships.” Carson said media coverage of police abuses had cast the profession in a negative light, taking away from the sacrifices most law officers make for civilians. “We need to take care of police officers because they take care of us. And while there hasn’t yet been enough polling to measure how the recent terrorist attacks in Paris might effect Carson’s standing in this first-in-the-nation caucus state, voters interviewed Friday often seemed torn between wanting to support him, and doubting whether he is up to the job. Martin O’Malley, both seeking the Democratic nomination, offered a slate of policy proposals to combat unfair treatment of minorities in the criminal justice system. It’s a very stressful job,” Carson continued. “For those who don’t like police officers, I’d like you to think about what your life would be like if they weren’t around for 24 hours.

Asked which candidate most impressed her after the forum concluded, Jan Swinton — who traveled two hours from the southern Iowa town of Fairfield to see the contenders live — enthusiastically rattled off the names of several Republicans. When presented with evidence of these biases, Carson appeared to change his tone, telling ThinkProgress that police who kill unarmed black men should be swiftly brought to justice. It would be awful. “I’ll show you the Tamir Rice video,” he said, referencing footage of a 12-year-old shot and killed by police in Cleveland earlier this year over a toy gun. “I believe we ought to be talking about all black lives, not just a few,” Carson said, disputing the notion the movement should only focus on alleged police brutality. “In our cities, the number one cause of death in our black communities is homicide.

Sanders and O’Malley said they would push to reduce incarceration rates for African-Americans, equip all police with body cameras, decriminalize marijuana and demilitarize police departments, among other proposals. Swinton emitted a reluctant chuckle, and then sighed wistfully. “I really like Ben,” she said. “He’s really smart.” She thought for a moment, and then offered up another virtue. “If you read his stuff, it’s the best stuff.” But? “When you see him in person he just doesn’t bring it on. O’Malley touted his record of enacting criminal justice reforms: reducing crime and incarceration rates, closing a violent prison and restoring voting rights to prior felons.

You don’t condemn the whole group and create policies over some bad apples.” Carson, the only African-American presidential candidate among Democrats or Republicans, said he never had trouble with police growing up because his mother taught him to be respectful of authority. I don’t think he’s gonna be quick enough and firm enough … He’s a nice guy, but I don’t know if he can be president.” Mike Crook, from the nearby suburb of Urbandale, said he had donated to Carson’s campaign, and he eagerly praised the quality of the candidate’s character. “He’s very down to earth. But Carson has disparaged the group, calling it “silly” and “sickening.” When asked about the movement during Saturday’s Q&A, he said activists should really be focusing on the black lives that are lost at abortion clinics. He also said felons should be able to regain their voting rights “after they’ve paid their debts to society” – putting him in line with the Democratic candidates at the forum. Carson has said that no one religion or mosque should be monitored, that all foreigners should be treated equally but that churches or groups where radicalism is present should be watched.

But Carson, in second place in the GOP nominating contest, offered little insight into what policies he would enact, beyond trying to encourage companies to bring overseas profits back to the United States and to invest them in high-poverty communities. Instead, he spent much of the time telling stories about growing up in poverty and lamented what he sees as a loss of values he said helped African-Americans endure slavery and the Jim Crow laws that mandated segregation. Even voters aligned with one of his rivals were protective of him, believing that the mainstream media had subjected his inspirational life story to nitpicky vetting, and that liberals were unfairly targeting him because they were threatened by the idea of a black candidate winning the Republican nomination. That’s your best defense.” “I would be in favor of monitoring a mosque or any church or any organization or any school or any press corps where there was a lot of radicalization and things that are anti-American,” he said.

He said he also wants to see more African-Americans go into a career of law enforcement. “The greatest number of black lives are eliminated in abortion clinics,” he said. “And that bothers me. A student from Iowa State University who attended the forum said Carson held special appeal among the college Republicans he knew, who were disillusioned with Washington and wanted an “outsider,” but found Donald Trump’s alpha-male schtick to be over-the-top and dated. “They see how likable he is. That to me is a very severe problem,” he said. “So I would like to talk about all of that rather than just one small segment.” Asked again, Carson said, “wherever you have human beings, you are going to have injustice.

If there is a pattern of it, it needs to be addressed.” “We want to get to a point where little boys and girls, black and white, feel joining a police department is actually a noble and life giving service,” he said. “That’s why this election is important.”

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