Nebraska state Sen. Ernie Chambers told fellow lawmakers on the floor Wednesday afternoon that he wouldn't apologize for statements he made during a debate over a gun bill last Friday.
"I will continue to condemn the police when they are wrong and, in my community they are always wrong," Chambers told KETV.
The initial comments came during a hearing on an amendment to a concealed carry law that would allow off-duty officers to bring concealed weapons onto school property.
Chambers said that many people haven't heard the full context of what he was saying. He said he was referring to how he and people in his community don't trust police. Chambers pointed to a recent case where an officer shot and killed an unarmed man in the back who had his hands on the hood of a car. The grand jury didn't file any charges against the officer, but the officer later resigned.
"These police (officers) literally get away with murder," Chambers said. "They've been given carte blanche. County Attorney Don Kleine even (said) if a cop is wrong, if he thinks he's right, it's all right."
Meanwhile, at least one senator and the city of Omaha is calling for Chambers to be held accountable.
"I think Sen. Chambers owes those who wear a uniform in law enforcement an apology. And I believe he owes an apology to every member of our armed forces who's in harm's way to defend our country," Sen. Beau McCoy said.
"Chambers is saying that he would do that, he wants to do that. I mean, it's a terroristic threat," President of the Nebraska Fraternal Order of Police John Francavilla said. "It's a very hurtful statement that he made towards us, when he's comparing us to what most Americans see as the most radical group out there. Him saying that most law enforcement officers fall into that category in his eyes."
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer issued the following statement Wednesday:
"The comments that Sen. Ernie Chambers made today at the Nebraska Unicameral are not only reprehensible but are completely without merit. The comments are unbecoming of a state senator and have brought no value to the discussion of police community relations. I stand with my Omaha Police officers as they are hardworking dedicated professionals."