Senate's Lone Black GOP Senator Gives Deeply Personal Floor Speech on Race
The senator recalls being pulled over by police 7 times in one year.
— -- Sen. Tim Scott, the U.S. Senate's lone African-American Republican, delivered a candid and emotional floor speech on his own personal encounters with police racial profiling.
"I have felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness and the humiliation that comes with feeling like you're being targeted for nothing more than just being yourself," Scott said to members of the upper chamber.
Even as an elected official, Scott recalled being stopped by law enforcement seven times in one year.
"Was I speeding sometimes? Sure," said Scott. "But the vast majority of the time, I was pulled over for nothing more than driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood or some other reason just as trivial."
"I do not know many African-American men who do not have a very similar story to tell -- no matter their profession, no matter their income, no matter their disposition in life," he later added.
Scott went on to mention several other incidents, including a capitol police officer demanding to see his identification, and being denied entry to an event he was scheduled to attend while serving in the House of Representatives.
"I recall walking into an office building just last year after being here for five years on the Capitol. And the officer looked at me with a little attitude and said, 'The pin I know, you I don't, show me your ID,'" the Senator said. "I was thinking to myself either he thinks I'm committing a crime, impersonating a member of Congress, or what? Well, I'll tell you that later that evening, I received a phone call from his supervisor apologizing for the behavior."
Scott said it was the third phone call he'd received from a supervisor or police chief since being in the Senate.
"This is a situation that happens all across the country whether we want to recognize it or not. It may not happen a thousand times a day, but it happens too many times a day."
Scott implored his colleagues at the end of his speech to "recognize that just because you do not feel the pain, the anguish of another, does not mean it does not exist."
"To ignore their struggles, our struggles, does not make them disappear, it simply leaves you blind and the American family very vulnerable."
His deeply personal comments come as the nation grapples with widening mistrust between law enforcement and communities of color following the recent killings of two black men by police caught on camera in Louisiana and Minnesota. It also follows an incident in Dallas where a gunman opened fire on police during a peaceful protest, killing five officers and wounding nine others.
Scott's remarks Wednesday came in one of three floor speeches he is delivering about policing and race in America.
Ali Weinberg contributed to this report.