- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nebraska state Sen. Ernie Chambers is facing backlash for comments he made Friday during a legislative hearing on a concealed gun bill, in which he compared the police to the Islamic State terrorist group.

“My ISIS is the police,” the 77-year-old independent said, Watchdog.org reported. “The police are licensed to kill us — children, old people.

“I wouldn’t go to Syria, I wouldn’t go to Iraq, I wouldn’t go to Afghanistan, I wouldn’t go to Yemen, I wouldn’t go to Tunisia, I wouldn’t go to Lebanon, I wouldn’t go to Jordan, I would do it right here. Nobody from ISIS ever terrorized us as a people as the police do daily,” Mr. Chambers said. 

“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,” he said, Watchdog.org reported.

State Sen. Beau McCoy, a Republican, said Wednesday that he was appalled by Mr. Chambers’ comments and called on his colleague to apologize.

“I think Sen. Chambers owes those who wear the uniform of law enforcement an apology,” Mr. McCoy said during a speech on the floor of the Legislature, the Omaha World-Herald‎ reported.


Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer issued a statement Wednesday calling Mr. Chambers’ comments “reprehensible.”

“The comments that Senator Ernie Chambers made today at the Nebraska Unicameral are not only reprehensible but are completely without merit,” Chief Schmaderer said, the World-Herald‎ reported. “The comments are unbecoming of a state senator and have brought no value to the discussion of police community relations. I stand with my Omaha Police Officers as they are hardworking dedicated professionals.”

Mr. Chambers explained to Watchdog.org that the people in his community feel terrorized by police, but clarified that he is not advocating shooting cops.

“I don’t carry a weapon. I’ve never carried a weapon,” he said. “I’m not advocating that anybody, especially anybody in my community, go out and shoot people.”

Mr. Chambers said he was drawing a parallel between people being killed by Islamic State militants and American citizens being killed by law enforcement, Watchdog.org reported.

“They’re encouraged and they’re given a free pass,” he said. “All [police] have to say is you felt like you were in danger, then a citizen could say, ‘I will shoot first and ask questions later.’”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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