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Senator Booker Slams Justice System
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Summary: Senator Cory Booker delivered a blunt speech to the Senate, stating that the American legal system is not a justice system at all.

 Senator Cory Booker (D., N.J.) passionately addressed the Senate floor on Wednesday, slamming the justice system, saying, “our legal system is not a justice system,” Philly.com reports.

  
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Booker explained that the recent riots and civil unrest that have unfolded in response to the grand jury decisions in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases are about much more than those two individuals. He said, “It is a reflection of a deeper anguish, an unfinished American business that has lasted for decades.”

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Booker spoke for nearly 20 minutes. For emphasis, he paced through the aisles as he lamented the incarceration rates for blacks and Latinos, the harsh sentences for minor drug convictions, and argued that inequalities in law enforcement rebel against the founding principles of America.

Lawyers were arrested for videotaping protests in Ferguson.

Booker told the story of how, as a boy, his parents would “coach “ him on how to interact with the police, “how [he] should speak and talk, what [he] should do with [his] hands,” because of how he may be treated differently for being African American.

Booker is one of two African Americans in the Senate. Booker has addressed the Senate before about bringing change to the criminal justice system, but his most recent speech is the most candid by far. He argued that on a daily basis, people “feel this frustration about an American legal system that is falling short of American ideals.” He continued, “What is anguishing so many [is] the application of this legal system in unequal ways to different portions of our population.”

The last words of many victims killed by police have been taped over Harvard professors’ portraits.

To support his argument, Booker noted that an 800 percent increase has occurred in the federal prison population in the last three decades. Booker said, “overcriminality anguishes this nation, aggravates divisions” and costs taxpayers money. He also noted “collateral consequences” for those who go to jail, noting that they are ineligible for federal education grants, loans, work assistance, and may be denied public housing. Booker states that this group needs these services the most, and without them they end up hopeless: “Hopelessness is a toxic state of being, and those kids then often get back up into that underground economy, back into that world of drugs.”

Booker used as an example that some citizens who use marijuana may be sentenced to mandatory minimum jail terms of five years, but that “other folks, like the last three presidents, have gotten away with it.”

However, Booker said that the issue is not about race. He noted that whites are arrested twice as often as blacks, but blacks are 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by cops. “This is data that should not shock us along racial lines, but shock us along American lines.”

According to a study, cops kill black teens 21 times more than white teens.

Be sure to check out the video to see Booker’s powerful speech.

Photo credit: nypost.com



 

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