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Police, Opponents Criticize Warren’s Remarks on ‘Racist’ Justice System

Democratic senator said system was ‘racist ... I mean, front to back’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was criticized for her remarks calling the criminal justice system “racist.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was criticized for her remarks calling the criminal justice system “racist.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren was criticized by her Republican challengers and law enforcement in Massachusetts after declaring in a speech that the criminal justice system is “racist.”

Speaking at New Orleans’ Dillard University last week at an event hosted by Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond, the Massachusetts Democrat said “the hard truth about our criminal justice system: It’s racist … I mean, front to back.”

In response, Dudley Police Chief Steven Wojnar, president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, wrote a letter criticizing her remarks, the Telegram & Gazette reported.

“Labeling the entire criminal justice profession as ‘racist’ spreads false and damaging information about our members,” he wrote.

Wojnar cited the shootings of two officers from Yarmouth and Weymouth and the outpouring of community support they received.

“When our elected officials make generalized and inflammatory statements about our entire profession, without any information to back their position, it creates further hostility toward our officers and can damage the positive relationships with our residents that we have worked long and hard to establish,” he said.

Republican challenger Beth Lindstrom also criticized Warren’s remarks.

“Warren should apologize for her ‘racist’ remark against those who work in our criminal justice system,” she said.

Warren addressed the remarks at a town hall event in Eastham on Saturday, WCVB reported, saying she was talking about the system, not individual officers.

“Our law enforcement officers get up everyday, and they put on a uniform, and they put their own lives on the line to keep us safe,” she said. “This system needs reform. It needs change.”

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker defended law enforcement when asked by the Boston Herald.

“They absolutely feel like they’ve been on the wrong end of a lot of the rhetoric that’s gone on in this country for quite a while,” he said.

Fellow Democrat Rep. Seth Moulton , who like Warren is often mentioned as a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 20202, defended Warren’s remarks.

“There are aspects of the justice system that are clearly racist in their results. That doesn’t mean that everybody who works in the justice system is a racist,” he said.

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