Bernie Sanders Tells Black Male Student to Respect Police Officers ‘So That You Don’t Get Shot in the Back of the Head’
Maxine Shen, Daily Mail, October 27, 2019
Bernie Sanders was caught on camera telling a black male student — who had asked for advice when being stopped by police — to respect what cops do ‘so that you don’t get shot in the back of the head.’
The Democratic presidential candidate’s surprising answer came during a Q&A session at Saturday’s Second Step Presidential Justice Forum event at Benedict College — a historically black college — in Columbia, South Carolina.
During the event, which was broadcast by MSNBC, Sanders took a question from a black male student in the crowd, who asked: ‘If I’m your son, what advice would you give me the next time I’m pulled over by a police officer?’
Sanders paused for a long moment, before answering that ‘I would do my best way to identify who that police officer is. In a polite way, ask him or her for their name. I would respect what they are doing so that you don’t get shot in the back of the head.’
Sanders went on to say, ‘But I would also be very mindful of the fact that as a nation, we have got to hold police officers accountable for the actions that they commit.’
He then rounded out his answer by saying that, ‘I would be very cautious, if you were my son, in terms of dealing with that police officer, but I would also defend my rights and know my rights and make sure, if possible, that police officer’s camera is on.’
Sanders’ response was met with seemingly lackluster applause from the audience — in stark contrast to the answer that fellow candidate Joe Biden gave when asked the same question.
During Biden’s time on stage, a black female student asked him for his advice the next time she was pulled over by a police officer.
In the video clip, which was shared by Biden’s Twitter account, the former Vice President immediately responded: ‘If you were my daughter, you’d be a Caucasian girl and you wouldn’t be pulled over.’
As laughter and applause breaks out, Biden says, ‘No. No! But here’s the deal. What I’d tell you is that’s what’s wrong. That is what’s wrong. There is institutional racism that still exists.’
In response to Sanders’ encouragement to respect police officers to avoid getting shot in the back of the head, Morehouse College adjunct professor David Dennis Jr. wrote, in a since deleted tweet, ‘Bernie Sanders does not understand race in America. At. All.’
Sanders’ statements come just days after surveillance video of an unarmed Hispanic teenager being shot in the back of the head while running from people was made public and grabbed national headlines.
The video, which was from an April 2017 incident, showed 16-year-old Isiah Murrietta-Golding running from police in Fresno, California. He had fled from police during a traffic stop and could be seen hopping a fence while trying to escape. An officer then shot Murrietta-Golding ‘— a murder suspect — in the back of the head, killing him.
The video was released on October 23 as part of an upcoming wrongful death lawsuit launched by Murrietta-Golding’s family. Investigators had previously determined that the officer’s use of lethal force was justified because they thought the teen was reaching for a gun.