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Liz Warren in Hot Water With Her Own Police Chiefs After Calling Criminal Justice System ‘Racist’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) prompted some stern backlash when she called the United States’ law enforcement system “racist.”

Warren reportedly said the justice system was “racist […] from front to back,” a characterization that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the nation’s top law enforcement officer, called a “slander of every law officer and every prosecutor in America.”

Police from Warren’s home state of Massachusetts similarly piled on, calling Warren’s remark an “insult” and, among other things, a way to spread “false and damaging information” about police officers.

Steven J. Wojnar, the president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and the chief of police in the town of Dudley, said he was “extremely troubled” by Warren’s statement, according to MassLive.com. Similarly to Sessions, Wojnar lamented how cops already faced intense scrutiny and that adding to that was unhelpful.

“As a police chief in your home state of Massachusetts, as well as the statewide association representative, I am extremely troubled by this statement,” he wrote in a letter to Warren, according to the Boston Herald.

Read his letter below:
Dear Senator Warren,

As President of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, I felt compelled to write you and ask for clarification of your recent comments. An article that appeared in The Worcester Telegram and Gazette from August 4, 2018 was entitled “Elizabeth Warren: Criminal Justice System ”racist“ front to back.”
While at a Congressional Black Caucus event at Dillard University in New Orleans, you are quoted as saying, “the hard truth about our criminal justice system: It’s racist…I mean front to back.”

As a police chief in your home state of Massachusetts, as well as the statewide association representative, I am extremely troubled by this statement. Labeling the entire criminal justice profession as “racist” spreads false and damaging information about our members. We feel we do a very good job in Massachusetts of producing professional and community oriented police officers. These men and women, from a variety of backgrounds, provide dedicated service to their respective communities under difficult and highly scrutinized circumstances each day. As leaders, we are always concerned about having our officers conduct themselves professionally and fairly when dealing with the public. 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.

From the outside, it appears your statement was strategically placed to gather support for your position. As you may know, this is troubling to the law enforcement professionals in the state you represent. In recent months, we have seen the murder of two officers in Yarmouth and Weymouth. In only the last two weeks, two officers were shot in Falmouth. All of these officers were simply doing their jobs when they encountered dangerous individuals. The outpouring of community support for these officers and their departments would appear to be contrary to your position. On each occasion mentioned above, the respective chiefs were contacted by their elected local, state, and federal officials. They were offered any support necessary. I am sure the discussion about the profession being racist was never brought up during these times. Why is it appropriate now? At bare minimum, we are requesting an explanation for your comments. As law enforcement professionals, as well as your constituents, that is deserved. I gladly offer you the opportunity to discuss anything with us that you feel appropriate. We always remain open to a conversation. Should you wish to do so, please feel free to contact me.

Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson claimed that with her statement, Warren “slapped” the faces of “many District Attorneys, Judges, Probation Officers, Parole Officers.”

"Chief's Response To Senator Warren"Good afternoon, last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren stated "The American…

Posted by Yarmouth Police Dept. on Friday, August 10, 2018

He added that her comments cast doubt on comments she previously made about fallen officers:

It is more bothersome that a short time ago Sen. Warren made some efforts to pay respects to Sgt. Sean Gannon and Sgt. Michael Chesna who lost their lives while protecting us all. Sen. Warren’s recent statement tarnished us all and dimished the sincerty of her condolence efforts. I now cannot trust her actions or words are real. I have a lot of repect for those who serve in elected positions even though we may disagree at times, however statements like this are disrespectful and divisive.

The Yarmouth Police Department, Frederickson said in a challenge to Warren, “will continue to serve ALL people with dignity and fairness.”

Frederickson also called Warren’s statement “divisive,” something a man also hinted at while questioning Warren during a town hall on Thursday.

“As a young American of color, your recent comments that you made in New Orleans are just a little bit concerning to me,“ he said. ”I’m just concerned that your rhetoric there is inciting some of the division that you claim the president is purporting.”

Warren responded by claiming that she was attacking the criminal justice system as a whole rather than the individuals who composed it.

“What I was talking about is a system that has a lot of good people in it — a lot of people, law enforcement officers, judges, public defenders who, by golly, have dedicated their lives to getting out there, to try to build a justice system that works,” she said.

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