McConnell: Can’t ‘Deafen’ Ourselves to Pain of Black Americans, Riots Inflicting ‘Unjust Violence Themselves’

During a speech on the Senate floor on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated that the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd “do not look like three isolated incidents.” And said that the country needs to listen to “the anger, the pain, or the frustration of black Americans.” McConnell also stated that “protests dedicated to ending unjust violence” cannot “mutate into riots that inflict unjust violence themselves.”

McConnell said that in the deaths of Arbery, Taylor, and Floyd, “We need the truth, and we need swift justice under law. But here is something that requires no investigation: In no world whatsoever should arresting a man for an alleged minor infraction involve a police officer putting his knee on a man’s neck for nine minutes while he cries out, ‘I can’t breathe’ and then goes silent. To me, to a great many of my fellow Kentuckians, and to millions of outraged Americans, these disturbing events do not look like three isolated incidents. They look more like the latest chapter in our national struggle to make equal justice and equal protection of the law into facts of life for all Americans, rather than contingencies that sometimes depend on the color of one’s skin. Obviously, this struggle remains incomplete.”

He added that the country “cannot deafen itself to the anger, the pain, or the frustration of black Americans. Our nation needs to hear this.”

McConnell continued, “Yet, over the last several days, citizens have watched with horror as citizens — as cities across America have convulsed with looting, riots, and destruction. On a nightly basis, initially peaceful demonstrators have been hijacked. Americans have watched protests dedicated to ending unjust violence mutate into riots that inflict unjust violence themselves.”

He later added, “These important protests began with the notion that basic physical safety and legal protections must be non-negotiable for every single American, bar none, that American liberty and the rule of law must be universal truths for all, not special privileges for some. That point is absolutely right. That is a righteous and important mission. And it is exactly why these senseless and destructive riots need to end.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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