Speaking at a historically black college on Saturday, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told a black student that if he were stopped by a police officer, he should respect what the officer was doing so “you don’t get shot in the back of the head.”
Sanders was conducting a Q&A session at Saturday’s Second Step Presidential Justice Forum event at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, as The Daily Mail reported, when the student asked, “If I was your son, what advice would you give me the next time I’m pulled over by a police officer?”
Sanders answered, “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. 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. So to answer your question. 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, what goes on.”
Speaking to Cardi B this summer, Sanders opined, “Obviously, we need to end all forms of racism in this country from Donald Trump down to the local police department.”
Sanders was not alone at the Saturday event in firing off remarks regarding the police; fellow presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden answered a similar question from a black female student by replying, “If you were my daughter, you’d be a Caucasian girl and you wouldn’t be pulled over.” That elicited applause, prompting Biden to add, “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.”
The two candidates’ responses came after a video was released last week showing an incident from April 2017 in which 16-year-old Isiah Murrietta-Golding, who was a murder suspect, fled from police after a traffic stop, jumped over a fence and was shot in the back of the head by a police officer. Murrietta-Golding and his 17-year-old brother were suspects in a shooting in which a driver was killed.
Murrietta-Golding’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit after investigators concluded that officers were justified in their actions because they believed the teenager was reaching for a gun.
Fresno police chief Andrew Hall defended the shooting, asserting Murrietta-Golding was “known to carry firearms” and pointing out out that he had entered a daycare center after jumping the fence, as The Guardian noted. Hall stated, “The use of lethal force in this case occurred while officers were investigating a homicide. The 16 year-old in this case was involved in the homicide with his brother and the brother was later arrested and pled guilty. The video represents a different vantage point and was not what the pursuing officers could see. The 16 year-old was also known to carry firearms and had jumped a fence into a child daycare center.”
.@BernieSanders to black student on how to handle getting pulled over by the police: “Identify who the police officer is – respect what they are doing so that you don’t get shot in the back of the head.”
— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) October 26, 2019
Institutional racism should no longer exist. As president, I'll put forward change to help put an end to it. pic.twitter.com/DQtPzGIfNq
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 27, 2019