President Joe Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “racism is an American problem,” during an ABC News interview with Pierre Thomas.
Garland did not directly mention any ongoing cases in the interview when he was asked to do so on the Derek Chauvin trial, saying, “I intend to wait until the verdict before I will say anything, and I would urge the American people to do the same.”
When asked by Thomas if he “believes there is bias and pockets of racism in law enforcement,” Garland answered, “Racism is an American problem. I think that.. umm.. it’s plain to me that there has been and remains discrimination against African Americans and other communities of color, and other ethnic minorities.”
“I think it’s reflected in discrimination in housing and employment and the justice system. … We do not yet have equal justice under law,’ said Garland.
Concerning the social unrest in 2020, Garland remarked, “I also saw the videos last summer, all through the summer.”
Garland added, “I felt that beginning last summer, at least, there was a chance to bring this to the fore of the national consciousness, to create a moment in which we could change.”
“And like many Americans, I was shocked. But many black Americans were not shocked because they have known of this kind of treatment before,” he continued.
“And part of the reason that I wanted to be attorney general was I wanted to help bring that change,” he added. “All of us in our family feel an obligation – public service – and try to protect other people the way the country protected us.”
Garland also said about his ambitions that he has an “opportunity to do some very important things. I have the opportunity now to lead a Justice Department in pursuit of civil rights.”
“I have a chance to lead a Justice Department in pursuit of the rule of law and ensuring the independence of the department, and its independence — particularly — from any kind of partisan influence in the way we bring investigations or prosecutions,” he concluded.