House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), in an interview with NBC’s Meet The Press on Sunday, indicated that he sees relations between police and black communities as a “national crisis.” Boehner told NBC that “I think that if you look at what’s happened over the course of the last year, you just got to scratch your head.”
Boehner is, of course, referring to events such as the deaths of Freddie Gray in Baltimore and Michael Brown in Ferguson at the hands of police officers (as previously reported on by the Inquisitr,) both of which touched off riots and brought to light abuses of police power and privilege against people of color. Charges have been laid against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, including a charge of “second-degree depraved heart murder” and, while the officer who shot Michael Brown was exonerated, the case brought to light a system of systemic racism and abuse in Ferguson that spans decades.
Speaker Boehner said that he was outraged at the events in Baltimore, and pointed the finger at failing education programs, suggesting that “more than half [of our children] get a diploma they can’t read.” Boehner suggested that inner-city kids are “… trapped in bad schools, that don’t provide a real education” and that “if you’re poor and you’re in a rotten neighborhood” that they aren’t getting the positive reinforcement they need the 91 percent of the time they don’t spend in school.
Boehner dismissed claims that fixing the education system meant spending money, saying that “if money was going to solve the education problem, we would have solved it decades ago,” emphasizing the need to establish activities for kids (such as scouting) and to reach out and educate the parents as well “because they likely didn’t get one either.”
On the subject of police, as noted by Politico, Boehner said that “public servants should not violate the law. If these charges are true, it’s outrageous, and it’s unacceptable.” Boehner expressed his support for police departments using federal grant money to equip their officers with body cameras.
“I think most departments around the country are moving toward body cameras. […] We have got a lot of police grants that we already have on the books that can be used for this. So, why not?”
The full interview with Speaker Boehner included commentary on 2016 politics, the role of money in politics (which Boehner majorly downplayed), and more. Watch the full video below.
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]