exas Democratic Sen. Candidate Beto O’Rourke said Wednesday during a town hall event that he believes law enforcement officers target black people because of their skin color and that police are the “new Jim Crow.”
“Talking about criminal justice reform, let’s talk about where this problem started,” he said at Prairie View A&M University in Texas. “When contractors needed labor, they would talk to local law enforcement, who would arrest African-Americans for idling, for petty crimes, frivolous offenses. Those contractors would describe the number of bodies that they needed and law enforcement would provide those bodies.”
“That injustice … continues to persist today. That system of suspending somebody solely based on the color of their skin, searching for that person solely based on the color of their skin, stopping that person solely based on the color of their skin, shooting that person solely based on the color of their skin, throwing the book at that person and letting them rot behind bars solely based on the color of their skin is why some have called this — I think it is an apt description — the new Jim Crow,” he said.
Sen. Ted Cruz slammed his opponent for the “extreme rhetoric” and defended the integrity of the vast majority of law enforcement officers. “This kind of extreme rhetoric divides us on racial lines & inflames hatred,” he tweeted. “Vast majority of police officers are brave, honorable, and risk their lives keeping us safe; it’s wrong to smear them as racists.”