Sen. Cruz: There Are Zero Legitimate Law Enforcement Justifications for What Happened to George Floyd. None.
Delivers remarks on Senate Floor on horrific death of George Floyd, condemns Antifas violent riots
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today spoke on the Senate Floor following the horrific death of George Floyd, a native Houstonian. In his remarks, Sen. Cruz condemned the violence of Antifa, a domestic terrorist organization that has exploited the just and peaceful protests to riot in the streets, loot our stores, and murder innocent Americans and law-abiding police officers in major U.S. cities across the country.
Ahead of the speech, as reported by Breitbart, Sen. Cruz released a new video, ‘Antifa's Terrorist Assault on America,' saying, "The violence and the terrorism we're seeing across the country is unacceptable." In July 2019, Sen. Cruz introduced a resolution in the Senate to designate Antifa as a terrorist organization.
Watch the full floor speech here. Excerpts are below.
ON THE ‘WRONGFUL DEATH' OF MR. FLOYD
"We are now faced with yet another crisis [...] This crisis was precipitated by the wrongful death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
"At this point, most if not all of us have seen that horrifying video. Mr. Floyd in handcuffs face down on the pavement, incapacitated, not posing a threat to anyone, and a police officer with his knee on the neck of Mr. Floyd, pressing down hard on the neck of Mr. Floyd and keeping that knee there for eight long minutes. Mr. Floyd begs, with the officer, pleads with the officer, says he can't breathe. He is in obvious and serious physical distress.
"Other officers are standing there, watching a defenseless handcuffed man pinned to the ground for eight long minutes with a knee pressing down on his neck. As we all know, those actions took the life of Mr. Floyd and rightly, following what happened, the U.S. Department of Justice opened a civil rights investigation into the police officers' conduct."
"Here we have a video and we can see what the facts and circumstances are, and there are zero legitimate law enforcement justifications for what happened to George Floyd. None. We witnessed police brutality and abuse of power. And that is why the officers are being prosecuted. Those should be propositions that bring all of us together.
ON THE PEACEFUL PROTESTS
"Watching the death of Mr. Floyd, for so many Americans brought forth the long history in this country of racial discrimination. A history that began with centuries of slavery in America. A history that has seen Jim Crow laws, that has seen the Ku Klux Klan, that has seen overt and also implicit discrimination. Young African Americans too often fear interactions with law enforcement. Fear that their rights will not be protected. Our nation's journey towards civil rights has had many troubled stops along the way.
"But I for one agree with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that the arc of history bends towards justice. I also agree with the vision that Dr. King put forth standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to an assembled crowd, an assembled protest, that he wanted to live in a nation where we would be judged, all of us would be judged not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.
"That is a vision that has animated America on our journey towards justice. And outrage at what happened to George Floyd prompted Americans across this country to speak out, to exercise their First Amendment right to speak out for racial justice. To speak out against police brutality. To speak out against abuse of power.
"All of that is legitimate. All of that's protected by the Constitution."
ON ANTIFA'S VIOLENT RIOTS
"What for some was legitimate First Amendment speech speaking out for justice became co-opted, became taken over by violent, criminal radicals. Now let's be clear, because so much of the news media does not like clarity in this regard."
"There are a great many people speaking out whose heart cries for justice, cries for the justice that has been the many centuries-long journey of this country. But there are radicals who cynically took advantage of these protests to sow division, to sow fear, to engage in murder, to engage in violent assaults, to engage in looting, to engage in theft, to engage in intimidation, to engage in fear.
"The First Amendment protects your right to speak. The First Amendment protects your right to peaceably protest, but none of us have a right to violently assault another person. None of us have a right to murder another person. None of us have a right to burn the cars of police officers, to shatter the shop windows of shops throughout this country, to engage in acts of terror, threatening the lives of our fellow Americans."
"You can speak out against brutality without engaging in violence. But there's been too much violence across the country and sadly too many politicians who are complicit in the violence, who have made the political judgement to turn a blind eye to rioters, to thugs, to murderers, to those terrorizing communities."
ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT'S FAILURE TO PROTECT LAW-ABIDING AMERICANS
"The riots must stop, the violence must stop. The first responsibility of government is to keep people safe and right now in too many of our cities, government is failing in that task."
"A beloved, retired police captain, David Dorn was shot and killed by looters at a pawn shop that same night. Mr. Dorn joined the St. Louis police force in 1969. He was a dedicated law enforcement officer for nearly 40 years.
"His wife and the St. Louis community are grieving his loss. Mr. Dorn was also African-American. The phrase ‘Black Lives Matter' has become fraught with politics. It is absolutely true that black lives matter.
"We should be horrified at what happened to George Floyd. But we should also be horrified at what happened to David Dorn and those with political agendas seeking to demagogue and tear this country apart somehow, David Dorn, another black man, a different black man who doesn't fit the political story they are trying to tell, disappeared from their narrative."
"The Declaration of Independence tells us, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men,' not some men, not just white men or white women, but all men, of every race, of every creed, of every religion, are created equal and are endowed by their Creator [with] certain unalienable Rights that among them are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our country has not always delivered on that promise for every American, but that is the journey we have traveled towards that vision."
"And on Friday night, David Patrick Underwood, an officer in the Department of Homeland Security, was shot and killed during protests in Oakland, California. Madam President, David Patrick Underwood, like David Dorn, was African-American. George Floyd's life matters, so does David Dorn's, so does David Patrick Underwood's. No elected leaders should sit idly by while David Patrick Underwood, or David Dorn, or George Floyd is murdered. If black lives matter, then all black lives matter, not just those that are politically convenient for politicians."
ON THE ‘SLANDER' AGAINST POLICE OFFICERS
"The first line of defense when it comes to violent crime are the brave men and women of our police departments who are risking their lives every night as they engage with rioters and violent criminals. Just as it is a slander to say that every protester is a violent rioter, it is also a slander - an absolute, vicious lie - to paint every police officer as a racist. To paint every police officer as someone who commits abuse of power and police brutality like we saw with George Floyd. Yes, there are some who break the law and that is why the officers are being prosecuted. The rule of law extends to everyone."
"The local officials who've decided politically [that] they're not going to let the police officers arrest the rioters. They're going to release the rioters. The media who turns a blind eye and doesn't report on the police officers being murdered. The Hollywood celebrities who virtue signal and raise money to pay the bail for the people being arrested for violent looting. Every one of them is contributing to this problem."
ON HOW WE COME TOGETHER AND MOVE FORWARD
"Our first responsibility is to protect our fellow citizens, to protect their lives, to protect their safety, to protect their rights. The president has that responsibility. The attorney general has that responsibility. Every U.S. attorney in the country has that responsibility. The FBI has that responsibility. The governors of all 50 states have that responsibility. mayors have that responsibility. Police chiefs have that responsibility."
"It's time for this to stop. It's time for us to come together and it's time for the demagogues who peddle division, who seek personal benefit in fanning the flames of racial animosity to stop playing games with people's lives."