Harry Reid on Baltimore Protests: 'Let’s Not Pretend The System Is Fair'

| by Ethan Brown
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid made strong statements on April 28 concerning the ongoing crisis in Baltimore after the death of 25 year old Freddie Gray in police custody.

“Let’s not pretend the system is fair, let’s not pretend everything is OK,” said the longtime Democrat from Nevada.

During the legislative day, Reid also commented on the situation, albeit in a more constructive tone.

“We can’t condone the violence we see in Baltimore. But we must not ignore the despair and hopelessness that gives rise to this kind of violence. When there is no hope, anger and despair move in. That’s the way it is. We can’t ignore that. So let’s condemn the violence but not ignore the underlying problem,” Reid said.

In his plea, Reid focused on pieces of legislation that would reform sentencing laws throughout the country and welcome more business in urban and minority communities, reported Politico.

Reid’s calls for economic and social justice reform earlier this week are a contradiction to his own legislative agenda when he presided as the Senate majority leader from 2005 to 2015. During his final year as majority leader, Reid did not bring up any legislation that would have tackled the systems in question. Specifically, bipartisan legislation authored by Democrat Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky addressed these reforms, but was ultimately ignored by Reid, The Washington Post reported.

Also, Reid has presided over a state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. In May 2010, Nevada’s unemployment rate stood at 14 percent, ranking as the state with the highest unemployment in the nation.

Focusing more on the criminals who were looting during the protests in Baltimore on April 27, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also commented on the matter.

“Obviously our hearts go out to those who’ve been injured and the other activities that have occurred there that are so regretful. I hope the investigation into illegal behavior will be concluded soon and those that engaged in criminal behavior will be promptly pursued and charged,” the Republican senator commented.

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Sources: Politico, The Washington Post, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Photo Credit: Fighting For Our Health, Flickr Creative Commons