Last week while speaking before an audience at Dillard University — whose student body is predominantly African American — Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said that the American criminal justice system is "racist ... front to back."
Warren — a potential Democratic presidential candidate — cited "disproportionate arrests of African-Americans for petty drug possession; an overloaded public defender system; and state laws that keep convicted felons from voting even after their sentences are complete," according to the Telegram and Gazette.
Warren's comments quickly drew the ire of law enforcement leaders across her state.
The president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, Dudley Police Chief Steven Wojnar, said in a letter to the senator, "Labeling the entire criminal justice profession as 'racist' spreads false and damaging information about our members."
"When our elected officials make generalized and inflammatory statements about our entire profession, without any information to back their position, it creates further hostility toward our officers and can damage the positive relationships with our residents that we have worked long and hard to establish," Wojnar wrote.
Yarmouth Chief Frank Frederickson wrote on Facebook that Senator Warren's statement was "an insult to the hard working men and women of the Yarmouth Police Department as well as other Local, State and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies who are part of the criminal justice system. Additionally there are many District Attorneys, Judges, Probation Officers, Parole Officers and other parts of the system that she slapped in the face."