Robert Pittenger slammed over Charlotte protests remark

Congressman Robert Pittenger apologises for his comments against Charlotte protesters after drawing heavy criticism.

    Pittenger later released a statement apologising for what he said, but was widely condemned [Reuters]
    Pittenger later released a statement apologising for what he said, but was widely condemned [Reuters]

    A US congressman has come under fire after accusing protesters rallying against the police killing of a black man of "hating white people", because "white people are successful".

    Republican politician Robert Pittenger told the BBC show Newsnight late on Thursday that people protesting against the killing of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte - the latest US city to be shaken by protests over the death of a black man at the hands of police - were doing so because they "hate white people".

    Do black lives matter in the US?

    "The grievance in their minds - the animus, the anger - they hate white people, because white people are successful and they're not," Pittenger, who represents the Charlotte area, told Newsnight when asked about what was driving the protests.

    Charlotte police have said that Scott was shot dead on Tuesday by a black officer after he disregarded loud, repeated warnings to drop a gun. Neighbours, though, have said that he was holding only a book, and that the officer who killed him was white. The police chief said a gun was found next to the dead man, and there was no book.

    In the Newsnight interview, Pittenger also complained that the government had spent too much on welfare programmes that ultimately hold black people back.

    "It is a welfare state," he said. "We have spent trillions of dollars on welfare, and we've put people in bondage, so they can't be all that they're capable of being."

    Pittenger later released a statement apologising for what he said but faced fierce criticism from fellow members of Congress, as well as his constituents.

    George Kenneth Butterfield, a congressman for North Carolina, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, slammed Pittenger on Twitter saying his "constituents deserve better."

    Criticism also came from other politicians in North Carolina.

    Others blamed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has been accused of promoting racism, bigotry and misogyny, for worsening race relations in the country.

    According to a tally being kept by The Guardian media organisation, police have killed at least 194 black Americans so far this year. In all of 2015, police killed at least 306 black men.

    The figures from 2016 suggest that while black Americans make up around 13 percent of the population, they make up about 25 percent of those killed by police.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.