Rep. Val Demings Counters DHS Secretary's Remarks: Systemic Racism Has Existed for '400 Years'


Rep. Val Demings (D-Fl.) is weighing in with her response to acting Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf’s remarks on the existence of systematic racism.

During an appearance on ABC News’ “This Week,” Demings — a former police chief — responded to Wolf’s claims about systematic racism in America’s law enforcement. According to Wolf, the problem does not exist in policing.

“If we’re going to solve some of America’s toughest problems, we’ve got to be painfully honest about what those problems are,” Demings said, adding, “And, we know that we have been fighting systemic racism in this country for 400 years.”

She continued, “We know that it has reared its ugly head in law enforcement agencies, in housing, in education, and in too many other places.”

Acknowledging what Wolf said, Demings noted, “We have a lot of work to do and systemic racism is always the ghost in the room.”

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See Demings’ remarks below:

Demings’ remarks follow Wolf’s claims during an interview on Sunday. While he did acknowledge the existence of officers who abuse their law enforcement powers, he does not believe systemic racism exists in law enforcement.

“I do not think that we have a systemic racism problem with law enforcement officers across this country,” Wolf said. “Do I acknowledge that there are some officers that abuse their job? Yes. And again, we need to hold those accountable.”

Attorney General William Barr and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien also have similar perspectives to Wolf’s. In fact, O’Brien admitted he believes 99.9% of America’s law enforcement officers are “great people.”

“No, I don’t think there’s systemic racism. I think 99.9% of our law enforcement officers are great Americans,” O’Brien said.

Despite the claims of systemic racism being non-existent, statistics indicate that police are more likely to use force against black people, Hispanics, and other minorities, according to

In Illinois, statistics show the Chicago Police Department is 14 times more likely to use force when interacting with black citizens than with white citizens.

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