On Sept. 11, one of the most solemn of days, in the politically and culturally-charged environment of the moment, state Sen. Michael Doherty issued a fiery defense of law enforcement and a harsh rebuke to those who would defund police or believe in the existence of systemic racism.
“These demands to defund the police are based upon allegations of systemic racism being thrown about by Marxist organizations such as Black Lives Matter, which have burned cities, burned churches, destroyed private property and terrorized American citizens. The United States does not have systemic racism. It is an evil lie,” he said.
If that sounds a lot like what the president has been saying, you’re right. Doherty is among the most ardent conservatives in the state and is no stranger to controversy. He’s made statements in the past including a call to restrict immigration from non-European countries that have offended many.
“Obviously, there’s bad apples and occasionally you’re going to have bad actors and so you’re taking the one bad apple and you’re establishing that as the standard for the entire society and I heartily reject that,” he said.
Doherty says don’t blame white America for the disparities Black and brown people face in health, education, housing and policing.
“I would say it’s the breakdown of the family structure,” Doherty said. “Whatever community, where you have a breakdown of the family structure, where you don’t have fathers around. This leads to direct problems.”
Larry Hamm is one of the state’s leading civil rights activists. He’s been leading demonstrations against racism and police brutality for decades.
“The fact that racism, racial inequality, institutional racism, they exist. It’s been well established by numerous studies that these things exist,” Hamm said. “These are not just political terms and political hyperbole. These are real problems that have been documented, confirmed, studied, and we have been fighting in this country literally before the Civil War, since the Civil War and up to the present moment.”
“It is completely in the face of the overwhelming facts that are centuries old, never mind saying that on 9/11, which just takes your breath away,” Gov. Phil Murphy said at Monday’s coronavirus press briefing.
None of the state Republicans NJTV News reached out to Monday wanted to comment on the record regarding Doherty’s speech. Off the record, several said they don’t support the rhetoric, but their silence might suggest that, among at least some Republicans, anyway, Doherty is providing a political service, giving a green light to others who might feel likewise.