Senator: Dems pay back damages to those who ‘do the crime’

WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville argued that Democrats support reparations for descendants of slaves because “they believe that the people who commit the crime owe it.”

The first-term Alabama Republican spoke at a rally Saturday night in Nevada with former President Donald Trump, a political ally. His comments were part of a wider criticism in the final weeks before the November 8 electionwhen control of Congress is at stake over how Democrats have responded to rising crime. But Tuberville’s remarks about reparations played into racist stereotypes about blacks committing crimes.

“They’re not soft on crime,” Tuberville said of the Democrats. “They are pro-crime. They want crime. They want crime because they want to take what you have. They want to control what you have. They want reparations because they believe that the people who commit the crime, owes it.”

He ended his performance with a profanity as the crowd cheered.

Tuberville falsely suggests that Democrats promote crime and that only blacks are the perpetrators. In fact, crime has decreased in the last year and most crimes are committed by whitesaccording to FBI data.

The Democratic Party has not taken a position on reparations for black Americans to compensate for years of unpaid slave labor by their ancestors, although some leading Democrats, including President Joe Biden, support the creation of a national commission to study the issue.

Some Republicans scrambled Sunday to defend Tuberville’s comments.

Rep. Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., said he “wouldn’t put it the same way,” describing the remarks as rude.

“That’s not the way I present things,” Bacon said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But let’s be honest, we have a crime problem in our country.”

There was no immediate response from Tuberville’s office Sunday to a request for comment.

Republicans have tried to close this election year with an emphasis on crime, using rhetoric that has sometimes been alarmist or of dubious veracity, similar to Trump’s argument in the late stages t during the 2020 campaign that Democratic-led cities were out of control.

FBI data released last week showed that violent crime and property crime generally remained consistent between 2020 and 2021, with a slight decrease in the overall violent crime rate and a 4.3% increase in the homicide rate. That’s an improvement over 2020, when the homicide rate in the US rose by 29%.

The report presents an incomplete picture, in part because it does not include some of the nation’s largest police departments.

More broadly, violent crime and homicide rates have risen across the U.S. since the pandemic, in some places rising after hitting historic lows. Nonviolent crime fell during the pandemic, but the homicide rate grew nearly 30% in 2020 and rose in both urban and rural areas, according to an analysis of crime data by the Brennan Center for Justice. The proportion of assaults increased by 10%, the analysis found.

The increase defies easy explanation. Experts have pointed to a number of potential causes, from worries about the economy and historically high inflation rates to intense stress during the pandemic that has killed more than 1 million people in the United States.

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