Rep. Charles Rangel, D-NY, apologized Monday for comments suggesting President Obama should be careful about visiting New York because he’s black.
After a plainclothes black police officer was shot to death Thursday in Harlem, in what appears to have been an accident, Rangel said President Obama should "make certain he doesn't run around in East Harlem without identification."
He also said that the chances of a police officer "of color" getting shot by a colleague were higher than for a white officer.
Black officer Omar Edwards was chasing a man and had his service weapon out when three white plainclothes officers on routine patrol yelled for the two to stop, police said. One officer opened fire, killing Edwards, police said. It wasn't until medical workers arrived that it was determined he was a police officer.
In Monday’s apology, Rangel said, “It was entirely inappropriate to bring the President and his wife into this discussion during their visit to New York, and I hope my off-the-cuff comment did not cause embarrassment to anyone.”
But Rangel didn’t completely back off his earlier remarks. “The tragic shooting of Officer Omar Edwards highlights the need for additional training of our police officers, and I am pleased that Commissioner Kelly recognizes a racial factor is involved,” Rangel said in his statement.
“I am calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to review the problems in the New York City Police Department when black officers are killed by whites, which too often is the case.”
Rangel’s earlier comments drew strong criticism from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "I have a lot of respect for Charlie Rangel, but in this case, he's just plain wrong," Bloomberg said.
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