SEATTLE – The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Tuesday defended recent Black Lives Matter protests in Seattle, arguing that the black community feels left out in a region with so much wealth and opportunity.
“(They’re saying) ‘hear me - I’m in Seattle and can’t get a tech job,’” Jackson said in a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Q13. “(They’re saying) ‘Look at Amazon, look at Costco – no blacks on the board of directors.
“I support the remedies. More access to schools … to teach your children how to do apps and codes and programming. Why should you be in the capital of the high-tech center of the world and not have access to it?”
Jackson was in town in support of his Wall Street Project and to the exclusion of women and minorities in high-tech companies. His schedule was interrupted by hastily called press conference in which he discussed the firing of Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy in the wake of charges against a white police officer who killed a black teenager named Laquan McDonald.
What does Jackson think should be done to address police-brutality issues?
“Stop beating and killing innocent people,” he said. “There has to be a change in the culture. Part of the culture of the police mentality is to not arrest each other. These police in Chicago saw a 17-year-old kid shot 16 times on the ground and did not arrest him. He was shot 16 times! They gave a favorable report that it was in self-defense. Well that’s dishonest, and when that happens you weaken the credibility and the moral authority.
“We need the police! And the police need the people, but they must earn and sustain that trust.”
He added that police need to do a better job of policing themselves.
“There’s a fear factor – police are afraid to tell on each other,” he said. “They’re afraid they’ll be hurt, or killed, or given bad assignments, or lose their jobs. So the police are afraid of the police. Police have some burden upon themselves to break the culture of silence. No-one has the right – no-one with a badge or a bible is above the law.”
Jackson said Black Lives Matter’s tactics are no more aggressive than those used doing the civil rights movement.
“We had to disrupt the process that would not allow us to use the library,” he said. “It was inconvenient for those who came because the police were there, but we had to engage in righteous indignation. We marched in Selma; it was disruptive and the police beat us down, so we had to keep marching. Those who are fighting with non-violent discipline, and who are showing their pain, and not internalizing must be heard.
“(We need to) deal not just with the bubbles, but with what’s making the water so hot.”
Many have argued that President Obama should be doing more to help combat the problem. However, Jackson is generally supportive of the President's approach, especially in the context of the fiscal crisis that consumed his first term. "Given the strong headwinds he's faced, he's done a good job," Jackson said. The civil rights leader is calling on the President to convene an urban policy conference on violence and urban reconstruction.
Trump said that he has a “kinship” with both Hillary Sanders and Bernie Sanders but has not decided whether he’ll endorse either. He also said that he’s not been surprised by many of the things said by Republican candidate Donald Trump – some of which have been called out as racially charged.
“That’s where the Republicans are ideologically,” Trump said. “The idea of being hostile toward immigrants, accusing them of being drug dealers and thugs is in poor taste. The idea of dealing with foreign leaders with a sense of ‘our way or the highway’ is irresponsible. The idea of mimicking someone who has nerve damage is not in good taste.
“And yet there’ s a fear in (the other candidates) to challenge the threat in that.“