Two members of President Trump’s Cabinet dismissed the notion there is systemic racism across police departments on Sunday.
“I do not think that we have a systemic racism problem with law enforcement officers across this country,” Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.
He acknowledged some law enforcement officials may abuse their jobs.
“I would say that there are individuals in every profession across this country that probably abuse their authority and their power. We need to hold them accountable,” Mr. Wolf added.
Attorney General William Barr shared the same sentiment on Sunday during an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation, suggesting institutions in this country have been reformed since 1960.
“I think there is racism in the United States still, but I don’t think the law enforcement system is systemically racist,” Mr. Barr said. “I understand the distrust, however, of the African American community given the history in this country.”
He noted that for most of U.S. history, institutions in America were explicitly racist but they have been being reformed since the 1960s.
The issue of racism within law enforcement has been brought to the forefront during weeks of protests and riots in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis over Memorial Day weekend.
The video with the officer’s knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes was caught on video. The officer has since been charged with second degree murder.
Rep. Val Demings, Florida Democrat, who is a former Orlando police chief, said if America’s problems are to be solved, leaders have to be painfully honest about fighting systemic racism.
“We know that it has reared its ugly head in law enforcement agencies, in housing, in education, and in too many other places,” she told ABC on Sunday. “We have a lot of work to do and systemic racism is always the ghost in the room.”