Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina made a personal speech on the Senate floor July 13 about how he has been racially profiled while serving as an elected official (video below).
“In the course of one year, I’ve been stopped seven times by law enforcement officers,” Scott said during his speech. “Not four, not five, not six, but seven times in one year as an elected official. 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 then recalls an instance in 2015 when he was walking into an office building after being on Capitol Hill for five years, while wearing his U.S. senator pin, when a guard stopped and questioned him.
“The pin, I know. You, I don’t. Show me your ID,” Scott recalls the guard saying.
“I’ll tell you, I was thinking to myself, ‘Either he thinks I’m committing a crime, impersonating a member of Congress ... or, or what?’ Well, I’ll tell you that later that evening I received a phone call from his supervisor apologizing for the behavior,” Scott said.
That was at least the third phone call Scott has received from a supervisor or chief of police since becoming a senator, he noted.
Scott’s speech was the second given in a series of three in response to the Dallas police shootings on July 7 and the shootings a few days earlier of both Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Minnesota, by police officers.
“We do have serious issues that must be resolved,” Scott said. “In many cities and towns across the nation, there is a deep divide between the black community and law enforcement. A trust gap. A tension that has been growing for decades. And as a family, one American family, we cannot ignore these issues. While so many officers do good and we should be thankful ... very thankful and supportive of all those officers that do good. Some, simply, do not.”
Scott’s Senate address was made after four other senators urged their colleagues to vote on criminal justice reform, according to The Huffington Post.
In conclusion, Scott asked his colleagues to “recognize that just because you do not feel the pain, the anguish of another does not mean it does not exist.”
Ignoring it will only make the nation vulnerable and leave people blind, he said.