Nebraska State Sen. Ernie Chambers compared the Middle Eastern terrorist group Islamic State group to American police during a hearing on March 20 about a bill that would allow concealed handguns in bars and restaurants that sell liquor.
A video (below) of Chambers' comments surfaced on March 25 and caused a firestorm of criticism, noted the Nebraska Watchdog.
After a pro-gun advocate mentioned terrorists groups as a reason to be armed, Chambers responded, "My ISIS (Islamic State group) is the police."
Chambers, who is African American, recalled some police shootings and the failure of the legal system to prosecute them.
“My home isn’t threatened by ISIS. Mine is threatened by the police,” Chambers added. “The police are licensed to kill us, children, old people."
Chambers then recalled a police beating of a woman.
"Nobody from ISIS ever terrorized us as a people as the police do daily and they get away with it,” Chambers said.
Chambers said that he is accused of playing the "race card" when he talks about minorities being killed by the police.
Chambers added, “If I was going to carry a weapon, it wouldn’t be against you, it wouldn’t be against these people who come here that I might have a dispute with. Mine would be for the police. And if I carried a gun I’d want to shoot him first and then ask questions later, like they say the cop ought to do.”
Chambers later clarified his statements, and said that he wasn't advocating shooting people.
State Sen. Beau McCoy, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson all condemned Chambers for his comments, reports Omaha.com.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said in a statement on March 26: "As public officials, we are held to a higher standard, and we should be. No one should ever suggest the use of violence against law enforcement officials."
In response, Chambers urged people to listen to exactly what he said, and added, "I will continue strongly and vociferously to criticize police. I will continue to condemn the police when they are wrong. And in my community, they are wrong.”
According to FBI statistics, nearly two black men are killed by white officers every week in the U.S., noted USA Today, with about 400 Americans killed yearly.
The Guardian recently reported the average number of all Americans killed annually by the police is undercounted by the FBI because states are not required to report all law enforcement killings.
The Guardian estimated the average number of Americans killed by police each year at 928.
In contrast, only 16 non-military Americans were killed by terrorists in 2013, according to the latest numbers available from the U.S. State Department.
(Note: Chambers' comments begin at 51:00 mark)