Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke, challenging Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, this November, called out modern law enforcement profiling as "the new Jim Crow" – a reference to 19th century racial segregation laws.
"That injustice – to many more people that I know firsthand – continues to persist today," O'Rourke told a town hall Wednesday at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, which was posted on YouTube.
"That system of suspecting somebody solely based on the color of their skin, searching that person solely based on the color of their skin, stopping that person solely based on the color of their skin, shooting that person solely based on the color of their skin, throwing the book at that person and letting them rot behind bars solely based on the color of their skin is why some have called this — I think it is an apt description — the new Jim Crow."
O'Rourke's rebuke of law enforcement came in response to a discussion on criminal justice reform, saying African-Americans were arrested to be put to work.
"Talking about criminal justice reform, let's talk about where this problem started," O'Rourke said. "When contractors needed labor, they would talk to local law enforcement, who would arrest African-Americans for idling, for petty crimes, frivolous offenses.
"Those contractors would describe the number of bodies that they needed and law enforcement would provide those bodies."
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