Hank Johnson: ‘It’s open season on all Americans’

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, speaking at a funeral service for Nicholas Thomas, who was shot and killed by a Smyrna police officer in April. A grand jury recently ruled the shooting justified. Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, speaking at a funeral service for Nicholas Thomas, who was shot and killed by a Smyrna police officer in April. A grand jury recently ruled the shooting justified. Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

In the wake of the arrest and jail suicide of Sandra Bland in Texas, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, has revised his admonition that it’s “open season on black men in America.” Johnson hit the House floor on Monday to push his criticism across gender lines:

Said Johnson:

“People around the country agree that police killings undermine the efforts of good police and break the trust between police and their communities.

“Black women and girls face the same threats and many more. Unsettling video of a police officer in Texas manhandling an unarmed, 15-year-old girl in a bathing suit served as a wake-up call to all of us.

“The arrest and death of Sandra Bland reminds us that the fight for equal justice under the law continues. But black women also face a unique and too often unreported violence: Sexual assault. In Oklahoma, an officer is on trial for sexually assaulting eight black women. Tragically, this story is not unique.

“The challenges black men face are real, but I was humbled to learn how unequal justice affects black women. Black women are the fastest growing prison population and their stories must be told if we are going to break this trend.

“Mr. Speaker, it is open season on all Americans.”


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