WASHINGTON ― Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) brought a series of props to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday to make a point about police violence.
Speaking days after the high-profile police killings of black men in Oklahoma and North Carolina, Lee noted that 2,195 people have been killed by U.S. police since an officer fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, two years ago.
“Each time we lose a precious life to fear, distrust and prejudice, the list of things that will get you killed as a black person in America gets a little longer,” Lee said.
Holding up a bag of candy, Lee noted that “you can get killed for going to buy a bag of Skittles, like Trayvon Martin.”
“Or you can get killed for riding on New Year’s Day, for instance, in the subway in the Bay Area, like Oscar Grant,” she continued. “This is a subway card.”
Lee also brought out a toy car to illustrate the vehicle-based police interactions that led to the deaths of Sandra Bland, Walter Scott and Terence Crutcher. See the video above.
“Should any of this warrant a death sentence?” Lee said. “Is this the America you want to live in? In 2016, when you’re black, too often you’re seen as a threat first and a person second.”
One harmless item Lee didn’t mention that probably leads to more police shootings than any other: the waistband.