Politics

Tweet Reveals the Ridiculous Thing Mike Pence Said About Racism That the Media Missed

In a vice presidential debate characterized by uncomfortable interruptions and a lack of policy discussion, Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) made an absurd assertion about racism that mostly slipped under the radar.

However a tweet from Black Lives Matter activist Deray McKesson pointed out Pence's strange assertion.

Tweet about Mike Pence at the VP debate.

In Tuesday night's debate against the Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the Indiana governor was trying to make the false point that black police officers can't be prejudiced or hold bias against other black people.

Pence accused Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton of making false accusations against police officers in the controversial shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott, who was shot by a black officer. Here's part of the transcript via The Washington Post:

"I mean, when an African-American police officer in Charlotte named Brentley Vinson, an all-star football player who went to Liberty University here in the state, came home, followed his dad into law enforcement, joined the force in Charlotte, joined the force in Charlotte in 2014, was involved in a police action shooting that claimed the life of Keith -- Keith Lamont Scott, it was a tragedy. I mean, I -- we -- we mourn with those who mourn. We -- we grieve with those who grieve. And we're saddened at the loss of life. But Hillary Clinton actually referred to that moment as an example of implicit bias in the police force."

Kaine didn't address Pence's comments about black officers directly, but instead accused Pence of being "afraid to bring up issues of bias in law enforcement."

ATTN: talked to Michael Avery, professor emeritus at Suffolk Law School and former president of the National Police Accountability Project about Pence's comments.

Avery said that yes, black officers would hopefully overcome cultural stereotypes about black people, but they're not immune from bias or prejudice:

"People have more than one identity and a black officer is a black person but he or she is also a police officer. That identity as a police officer can influence them through their training and influence how they behave. Your professional identity is a big part of that and it's the same with doctors or anybody else."

police car

Avery used the example of coming to a new city to explain that "informal training" and pervasive cultural stereotypes can influence the way officers of any race think about a community.

"If you go to a new city and someone tells you don't go in this neighborhood because it's a dangerous neighborhood, let's call that training, that's some training you've now got about being in that city. Then you find yourself in that neighborhood. That training you've received has already biased you against that neighborhood. It's already told you it's a dangerous neighborhood. Now you're in this neighborhood and here comes a black person so you cross the street. You might do that whether you're black or white. Police officers are not immune to that, and they're more afraid in certain neighborhoods than other neighborhoods."

People on Twitter were shocked at Pence's assertion that black police officers can't be biased or prejudiced.

Pence's running mate, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, has repeatedly positioned the Republican ticket as the "law and order" campaign.

Last month, Trump released a controversial plan to eliminate crime in black communities by expanding the use of stop-and-frisk across the country.

"I think you have to," Trump said at a townhall on Fox News. "We did it in New York — it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically."

The stop-and-frisk practices of the New York Police Department were deemed unconstitutional in 2013 by a federal judge due to racial profiling.

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