Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey has weighed in on the controversy of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick protesting the national anthem.
Booker finds it ironic that the public is more outraged by the peaceful anthem protests than they are about the shooting death of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“Right now on the internet you have another unarmed African American who was murdered this week -- or killed this week,” Booker told BuzzFeed.
“From the video that I saw, even with the way he was being referred to ... there is this going on on the audio, and people seem to be more outraged by an NFL player taking a knee than the murder or killing of an unarmed black man,” Booker added.
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On Sept. 16, 40-year-old Crutcher was shot by Officer Betty Shelby, according to CNN.
Crutcher had abandoned his vehicle in the middle of the road and appeared to be intoxicated. When law enforcement arrived on the scene, Crutcher alternated between putting his hands in the air and putting his hands in his pockets.
In the footage of the incident, a law enforcement officer viewing the scene from a helicopter circling above called Crutcher a “bad dude.”
After Crutcher walked to his vehicle and was ignoring the commands from law enforcement orders, Shelby shot him.
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Crutcher was a father of four who had recently enrolled in his local community college. His twin sister, Tiffany, told reporters that he was planning on turning his life around.
Law enforcement says that they found PCP in Crutcher’s vehicle but no weapon. Shelby has defended her actions, recounting that she felt threatened by Crutcher because he appeared intoxicated.
“If we started to condemn everybody to death who might have some drugs in their system, all our neighborhoods would be affected,” said Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Crutcher family.
Booker wonders why public outrage for Crutcher’s death is not proportional to the outcry against Kaepernick’s protest against the national anthem.
On Aug. 27, Kaepernick told NFL Media that he would be protesting because “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
On Sept. 20, the quarterback revealed that he had received death threats, notes Sports Illustrated.
“To me, if something like that were to happen, you’ve proved my point and it will be loud and clear for everyone why it happened, and that would move this movement forward at a greater speed than what it is even now,” Kaepernick told the San Jose Mercury News.
The quarterback pointed to Crutcher’s death as a reason why he was continuing his protest of the national anthem.
“This is a perfect example of what this is about,” Kaepernick said. “It will be very telling about what happens to the officer that killed him.”
Booker appears to concur with Kaepernick on the Crutcher shooting. The New Jersey senator added that he actually disagrees with the quarterback’s method of protest, but wants his message to be discussed nationwide.
The Democratic senator said that he believes one of the “biggest cancers in the country right now that in the land of free that pledges allegiance -- We pledge ourselves, we swear an oath to the ideals of liberty and justice for all -- [that] should have a criminal system that’s so broken.”
Booker concluded that he felt encouraged by activist movements such as Black Lives Matter, noting “we didn’t get the civil rights movement because a bunch of senators sat around and said, ‘Hey, this is a swell idea.’”