Tags: Colin Powell | race | Ferguson | more | work | email | Hillary Clinton

Colin Powell 'Shocked but Not That Surprised' Over Ferguson Report

By    |   Sunday, 08 March 2015 11:31 AM

Colin Powell, the nation's first African-American secretary of state, said Sunday he was "shocked, but not that surprised" over a Justice Department report finding racial issues with the police department in Ferguson, Mo.


"I know these things have existed in other parts of our country," Powell told ABC'S "This Week" program. "This shouldn't have been that great a surprise to any of us."

But, he pointed out that he does not believe the same problems exist nationwide. Powell said all police departments,as well as local and state officials, need to examine their own practices to be sure that the same activities that were going on in Ferguson are not happening in their own departments.

He also called for police departments to try to use nonlethal means whenever possible, but at the same time for parents to teach their children what to do if they are stopped by police, to "stop and listen carefully and do not argue or fight."

Powell said he was touched by Saturday's commemorative march in Selma, as 50 years ago, he was stationed with the military in Ft. Benning, Ga., and was traveling back and forth to Birmingham, Ala. during a difficult time.

And as a nation, Powell said, "enormous progress" is being made when it comes to race relations, as shown by the election of President Barack Obama himself. Further, he pointed out that he would not have made it to where he did, nor would have outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder.

"Law was changed and the barriers to advancement went away, but we still now have hurdles we have to get over," Powell said, including voter ID laws.

Powell, who served as Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and as National Security Adviser under President Ronald Reagan, spoke out in the past about what he saw as intolerance in some parts of the Republican Party on race, and said he still sees problems not only in the party, but in the country as well.

"It was only 60 or 70 years ago that we still had poll taxes, that we still had literacy tests in order to vote," he said. "We've come a long way but there's a long way to go and we have to change the hearts and minds of Americans."

But still, he said he sees progress, particularly in the younger generation, who he says understands the importance of diversity and the "beauty of this wonderful country of ours with all the different shades of people we have."

In other matters, Powell, who voted for Obama, said he has not decided on who would get his vote in the upcoming 2016 election, even though he worked for both of the Bushes while they were presidents.

"I always vote for the person I think is most qualified," said Powell. "I know Jeb Bush very, very well. I think he's a very accomplished individual. And we'll see who else is going to be running and I'll make my judgment based on what I think is best of the country."

Also, Powell held back on directly commenting on the email controversy concerning another former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

Powell served during the early days of emails and pushed to modernize the state department's system, but says he retained none of his own early emails. However, he said he is working with State to "see if there's anything else they want to discuss with me" and believes most of his communications were "pretty benign."


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Colin Powell, the nation's first African-American secretary of state, said Sunday he was shocked, but not that surprised over a Justice Department report finding racial issues with the police department in Ferguson, Mo. I know these things have existed in other parts of...
Colin Powell, race, Ferguson, more, work, email, Hillary Clinton
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2015-31-08
Sunday, 08 March 2015 11:31 AM
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