FBI Director James Comey on Thursday called for a conversation about race in the United States that extends beyond law enforcement.
Speaking at Georgetown University, Comey said the United States is at a crossroads following incidents involving white police officers fatally shooting unarmed black men in 2014. He said racial bias exists in all areas of American society.
“Debating the nature of policing is very important but I worry that it has become an excuse at times to avoid doing something harder,” Comey said.
He called for a national debate about real and perceived racial biases both inside and outside law enforcement.
Comey said racial bias is not an epidemic in law enforcement any more than it is in academia or the arts and quoted from a song in the musical “Avenue Q” titled “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.”
Comey’s speech marked the first time in recent history that an FBI director has specifically addressed the issue of race, an FBI spokesman said.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s response to the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City has been more narrowed. Rather than calling for a national conversation about race, he commissioned a task force to review local police practices and develop community policing strategies.
Comey said he was not letting law enforcement off the hook.
He called for local law enforcement agencies to begin mandating data collection on shooting deaths by police broken down by demographics.
Currently, local police report fatal shootings to the FBI on a voluntary basis, which Comey said invalidates the data.
“Without complete and accurate data, we are left with ideological thunderbolts,” he said. “And that helps sparks unrest and distress and does not help us get better.”
The FBI investigated the death of unarmed teen Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri in August and the results are expected to be released in the coming weeks, before U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder leaves office.
(This story adds dropped word “said” in fifth paragraph)
(Reporting By Julia Edwards; Editing by Susan Heavey and Bill Trott)
Trump rages at new light bulbs during White House meeting for making him look orange
President Donald Trump on Friday complained about energy-efficient light bulbs that he claimed made him look orange.
As reported by Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason, the president said he wanted to bring back older light bulbs that would give him a more flattering skin tone.
"Trump quips that the new light bulbs don’t make him look good and being a 'vain' person, that’s important to him," Mason reports. "He says they make him look orange. He plans to bring cheaper light bulbs back."
MSNBC host reveals stunning new evidence that blows a hole in Republicans’ defense of Trump
During the House impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, Republicans have frequently pushed the talking point that there couldn’t have been any real “quid pro quo” between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Despite a multi-month delay, they claim, the funds allocated for military aid to Ukraine were eventually released without Zelensky ever investigating former Vice President Joe Biden or his son, Hunter Biden, as Trump wanted. No harm, no foul, these Republicans argue.
Many have explained why this argument does hold up for a variety of reasons. But MSNBC’s Ari Melber, on his Thursday show, outlined a new reason why that talking point is bogus: 14% of the money allocated for military aid to Ukraine remains unreleased, according to the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report.
Former ‘America First’ Senate candidate arrested for domestic violence for a second time
A Maine man who was gearing up to challenge Susan Collins (R-ME) for her Senate seat has been charged with domestic violence -- for the second time, CentralMaine.com reports.
On Sunday, 45-year-old Derek Levasseur was arrested and booked at the Fairfield Police Station on a domestic violence assault charge. He was later released on bail.
Levasseur announced his Senate bid earlier this year touting an “America First” platform, making him the first Republican to challenge Collins since she was elected in 1996. He later quit the race, blaming pressure from "party elites." According to the police report, he was involved in a “domestic situation” inside a residence when he was arrested.