Tim Scott Tells NBC Anchors Why He's the Perfect Person to Enact Police Reform

Posted: Jun 11, 2020 11:15 AM
Tim Scott Tells NBC Anchors Why He's the Perfect Person to Enact Police Reform

Source: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) got fired up on Wednesday after professional agitators on social media accused him of letting himself be "used" by his white Republican colleagues to work on police reform legislation. As he reminded those critics, he's been at the forefront of this issue for years. He doesn't need to be pressured to do anything. And he called out the ignorant Twitter users who dared to suggest as much.

The senator reacted at length to the charges on NBC News's "The Third Hour of TODAY" on Thursday, noting that he's the only one in his conference to have been the victim of racial profiling. He was even stopped from coming into a Senate building one day, he revealed.

"If there's someone in the conference who understands discrimination and profiling, it's me," he said. "It's the reason why I asked to lead this charge because it's a personal issue, it's the right issue."

Of course he wasn't surprised by the hate. As the only black Republican senator in Congress, he says he's targeted every day. Perhaps even if he made as innocuous a statement as, "I like apple pie."

Scott is working with Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and James Lankford (R-OK) to come up with an alternative to the Democrats' Justice and Policing Act. 

He got right into the details in his NBC interview. The GOP's offering, the Justice Act Package, will look at the use of body cameras, no knock warrants, grants on deescalating the aggression, the use of force such as chokeholds, as well as a duty to intervene, which may have helped in the tragic George Floyd incident in Minneapolis.

"The three officers that were standing there as the one officer was on Mr. Floyd's neck, we think there should be a duty to intervene," Scott explained. "We're trying to provide the resources necessary to retrain these local departments as well as provide more incentives for policies to change. If we do that part, we will make a difference."

Sen. Scott explained that he's been putting energy into this issue since Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, was shot in the back by a police officer five times in North Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, and the inconsistent police report that was accompanied with the incident.

"I've been waiting for this for a long time," Sen. Scott said. "I'm sad that it takes another death to get here. But if we're doing our jobs and we're doing it right. It's not Republican and Democrats. It's Americans working together to solve this serious issue that has been running rampant in communities of color."