Black citizens in Charlotte are not necessarily protesting due to police injustice, but rather because they “hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not,” according to a U.S. congressman who represents a district in that city.
Charlotte has seen protests over the past three days after police fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott, a Black man, on Tuesday under questionable circumstances.
Republican U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, whose district includes parts of Charlotte, was being interviewed on BBC TV Thursday night about the protests and the protesters’ grievances.
“The grievance in their minds the animus, the anger they hate white people, because white people are successful and they’re not,” Pittenger said.
He went on to further explain that the problem also stems from people on welfare accustomed to being dependent on the government.
“It is a welfare state. We have spent trillions of dollars on welfare, but we’ve put people in bondage, so they can’t be all that they’re capable of being,” Pittenger added. “America was a country of opportunity, freedom and liberty. It didn’t become that way because of a great government who provided everything for everyone.”
The North Carolina Democratic Party released a statement blasting Pittenger’s remarks.
“These comments are inexcusable. At a time when we need calm and understanding while we learn more about the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, Congressman Pittenger is fanning the flames of hate with his racist rhetoric,” NCDP Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds said. “This sort of bigotry has become all too common under the party of Donald Trump. Our great state should not be represented by someone who would make such hateful comments. Congressmen Pittenger must apologize, and Governor McCrory and every Republican leader in this state should denounce this hateful rhetoric immediately.”
Late on Thursday Pittenger attempted to apologize, via Twitter and on CNN, saying, “My anguish led me to respond to a reporter’s question in a way that I regret,” adding that he was “quoting statements made by angry protesters last night on national TV” and his “intent was to discuss the lack of economic mobility for African-Americans because of failed policies.”
The North Carolina Republican Party earlier Thursday issued a statement blaming local NAACP leader William Barber for “encouraging violence” when he demanded the release of police videos showing Scott’s shooting, which protesters and Scott’s family are calling for as well.
In a statement yesterday,Congresswoman Alma Adams of North Carolina said, “The events taking place in Uptown Charlotte are heartbreaking, but this problem did not start here. I share the pain, anger and frustration of millions of Black mothers and grandmothers who still seek justice. We need answers, but nothing will come of violence. We need transparency, and that starts with releasing body cam footage from the shooting. Only through transparency, accountability and collaboration can we deescalate the violence. Our city will come together if we work together.”