Rep. Cedric Richmond: ‘Can’t Use Black Lives Matter As Scapegoat’

DALLAS, TX - JULY 8: Dallas police escort residents near the scene where four Dallas police officers were shot and killed on July 7, 2016 in Dallas.
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Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) says the Black Lives Matter movement is being used as a “scapegoat” after five Dallas police officers were shot and killed during protests.

At a press conference convened Friday morning by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) following the shootings, Richmond referred to the CBC as the “conscience” and “intellectual capacity” of Congress as he used the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling of Louisiana and Philando Castile of Minnesota by police officers, and the killing of the Dallas police officers as reason to call for further gun control measures.

“When we look at this Congress, we can do nothing but conclude that they are co-conspirators in the devaluation of the lives of men and women of color,” Richmond said, adding:

People cannot use Black Lives Matter as a scapegoat. Those young kids came together to protest something that was not imagined, something that was real. They started protesting in Ferguson, and the sad part is we keep having more events that they have to protest. So when we talk about their anger and frustration and their activism, you can’t blame them for these incidents happening. And as much as people would like to call them thugs and other things, they do that for their comfort, so that they can explain to themselves why bad things happen…The Black Lives Matter movement has been positive and created and sparked a debate…

Many members of the CBC who spoke attempted to distance the Black Lives Matter movement from the fatal Dallas police shootings, presenting the movement as merely a group of young black people looking for more opportunities.

Richmond continued that Black Lives Matter’s ultimate goal is “economic opportunity so every young black boy and girl can reach their dreams.”

“And about blaming Pres. Obama – that’s just absolute nonsense from people who just can’t get over the fact that Michelle Obama, President Obama, and his children wake up every day in the White House,” he said.