South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott called on churchgoers and police officers nationwide to take a stand against “bad apples” in their communities while chatting with Dr. James Dobson to discuss the unrest in the U.S. following the death of George Floyd.
Scott, a 54-year-old Christian and Republican, joined the 84-year-old Christian psychologist for an episode of Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk radio program Wednesday as days of protests and violence have hit cities nationwide, leading to 17 deaths in riots and over 300 officers injured.
After videos of Floyd’s neck being pinned down by a Minneapolis police officer surfaced before he became unresponsive and eventually died, it drove many Americans to hit the streets of their towns and cities to call for racial justice and an end to police brutality.
Touching on the issue, Scott told Dobson that it's impossible to begin the conversation without first acknowledging that the trigger for the protests has been another “senseless death of an African American man at the hands of the police.”
“That has been an unfortunate reality for all of my life, I've been watching this unfold,” Scott said. “This time with video; it brings a new level of validation to the cries of so many people within the African American community.”
Both Dobson and Scott agreed that people must separate the actions of the violent rioters from the intent of those who peacefully protest. Dobson asked the senator how valid he found protesters’ complaints about police brutality in America.
“Now, I would say there's a complicated relationship between law enforcement officers and the African American community, and communities of color,” Scott said. “Having the chance to talk with so many folks, and then having lived through seven stops, as an African American driving a car, by law enforcement officers. As an elected official being stopped by law enforcement officers, as a United States Senator trying to enter into the Senate buildings, wearing my Senate pin, they just didn't believe me.”
“There is a complicated and emotional attachment to the fact that the discrimination that so many of us have felt is real,” he added. ”The solution to it, I think it is multifaceted and layered, but the vast majority, and I've had years and years of experience with law enforcement, the vast majority of officers have one objective: it's to do their jobs and go home. It's those apples, one bad apple spoils the whole bunch.”
Scott stressed that while there is definitely “more than one” bad apple among police in America, “there is a strong minority of officers that are casting shadows over all of law enforcement.”
“The problem is it's been this way for all of my life. And that's where you're seeing the type of energy and emotion, not violence, but energy and emotion that really want to have a civil conversation about bringing justice and fairness to the system,” Scott explained. “That has to be a separate conversation that is hard to have while you're having violence in the streets, watching people break windows, violate buildings, and other people's rights.”
Dobson asked Scott how the establishment across the country should deal with the minority of cops who are bad actors.
“For the first time in my lifetime, I've seen the majority, if not all of the law enforcement agencies in my state, South Carolina, all their associations, have come out condemning the acts of the officer in Minneapolis,” Scott said. “The fastest way to get rid of bad officers is for good ones to take a stand against them. That is the only way, frankly, to get rid of bad officers. I say that in every vein, by the way.”
“Whether it's officers, or church members, or politicians, if you're not willing to stand up against those in your own corner, so to speak, your voice is probably not going to be as helpful,” Scott added. “And it's the ability to stand against the bad apples on your side, whatever that means to whomever means it, it is the fastest way for our nation to make progress.”