By Mick Krever, CNN
U.S. House Member Hakeem Jeffries, a black congressman from Brooklyn, New York, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday that he views some “bad apple” police officers as a threat to his son.
“I’ve got to worry every day about what could happen to him – not just from the robbers, but from a bad apple on the police department.”
His remarks came a day after a grand jury in the New York City borough of Staten Island decided not to indict a police officer who used a banned choke hold on an unarmed black man, which resulted in his death.
“I was really struggling as a father as to what to say to my older son in particular about what this verdict, or failure to indict, means in terms of his everyday actions on the streets of New York. I was actually comforted by the fact that I called and he got home safely.”
Jeffries called the decision a “stunning miscarriage of justice.”
“In many ways it’s a stain on the credibility of American democracy.”
“The overwhelming majority of New York City police officers are to be commended for the great work that they’ve done in partnership with the community in reducing crime.”
“But there are bad apples on the police force, and when you unleash them without consequence you see the type of tragedy that results.”
CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, himself a former prosecutor, put the confrontation between police officers and the victim, Eric Garner – which was all caught on tape – into context.
“The crime for which Eric Garner was arrested was the … sale, apparently, of individual cigarettes without paying taxes on those sales. That was the so-called crime at the heart of this case, and that was not a crime that justified, I think, this sort of use of force.”
“The idea that that did not lead to any criminal charges really seems troubling and questionable.”
One need only pay a visit to an American prison to realize how much progress the country still has to make when it comes to the treatment of racial minorities.
“If you go to a prison in America, as I have many times in my journalistic career, your immediate impression is these prisons are almost all black people inside them – and this country is not majority, or even close to majority black people.”
“And that is something that is, to me, the most stark evidence of how this country – while having come an enormously far way – has a long way to go as well.”