article by Laura-Barron Lopez via huffingtonpost.com
WASHINGTON ― In the course of one year as an elected official, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) was pulled over seven times by law enforcement. Another time, a Capitol Police officer demanded that Scott show him his ID because the special pin on Scott’s suit jacket ― a pin assigned to United States senators ― evidently wasn’t enough.
Scott shared these stories and more Wednesday evening during a roughly 18-minute speech on the Senate floor. He is the only black senator in the Republican conference, and one of just two in the upper chamber.
His speech on Wednesday was the second in a series of three in response to a lone gunman killing five police officers in Dallas last week, as well as the police shootings of Alton Sterling, who was killed outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile, who was shot during a traffic stop in Minnesota. Scott delivered his first speech on Tuesday and plans to deliver the final one Thursday.
“This speech is perhaps the most difficult, because it’s the most personal,” Scott said during his Wednesday remarks.
Scott’s address on Wednesday came after four other senators urged their colleagues to take a vote on criminal justice reform ― something many lawmakers say is badly needed.
“There is a deep divide between the black community and law enforcement ― a trust gap,” Scott said. “We cannot ignore these issues. Because while so many officers do good ― and we should be very thankful in support of all those officers that do good ― some simply do not. I’ve experienced it myself.”
Scott said he chose to talk about his encounters with police, experiences that left him feeling humiliated and “very scared,” because he’s heard people trying to paint Castile and Walter Scott ― a black man who was killed by a police officer in South Carolina last year while running away ― as criminals.
“OK, then,” Scott said. “I will share with you some of my own experiences.”
I shuddered when I heard Eric Garner say “I cannot breathe.” I wept when I watched Walter Scott turn and run away and get shot and killed. And I broke when I heard the 4-year-old daughter of Philando Castile’s girlfriend tell her mother, “It’s OK, I’m right here with you”…
In the course of one year, I’ve been stopped seven times by law enforcement officers. Not four, not five, not six, but seven times in one year as an elected official. Was I speeding sometimes? Sure. But the vast majority of the times, I was pulled over for nothing more than driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood, or some other reason just as trivial…
It’s easy to identify a U.S. senator by our pin. 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.” I’ll tell you, I was thinking to myself, “Either he thinks I’m committing a crime, impersonating a member of Congress” ― or, or what? Well, I’ll tell you that later that evening I received a phone call from his supervisor apologizing for the behavior. Mr. President, that is at least the third phone call that I’ve received from a supervisor or the chief of police since I’ve been in the Senate.
To read more and see video of Scott’s speech, go to The Huffington Post.