Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha has refused to apologize for anti-police comments he made during a Judiciary Committee hearing last week after being confronted about the remarks during legislative floor debate.
Sen. Beau McCoy took to the floor of the Unicameral Wednesday to call for Chambers to apologize for remarks made during a hearing on a conceal and carry bill Friday afternoon.
During the hearing, Chambers stated if he were to carry a gun it would be for protection against the police.
“If I was going to carry a weapon, it wouldn’t be against you,” Chambers told a witness. “It wouldn’t be against these people who come here that I might have a dispute with. Mine would be for the police. And if I carried a gun, I’d want to shoot him first and then ask questions later like they say the cop ought to do.”
Chambers also compared the police to the Islamic State (ISIS and ISIL), which is known for its particularly barbaric practices, such as the beheading of its victims. He declared his ISIS is the police.
“Nobody from ISIS ever terrorized us as a people as the police do, daily,” Chambers stated.
Those remarks sparked a confrontation on the floor of the legislature.
McCoy read the remarks and called on Chambers to apologize.
“I think Sen. Chambers owes those who wear a uniform in law enforcement an apology,” McCoy told colleagues.
McCoy said Chambers went too far when he compared the police to ISIS.
“It’s tragic what’s going on in north Omaha with violence, particularly gun violence, but it’s not a comparison to what’s going on with ISIL and ISIS,” McCoy said.
McCoy first criticized Chambers during the morning session at a time when Chambers wasn’t on the floor of the legislature. He renewed his criticism during the afternoon session when Chambers returned.
Chambers responded two separate times to McCoy, both times stating he refused to apologize.
Chambers said his comments were in connection with the fatal shooting of robbery suspect Danny Elrod on February 23rd by Omaha Police Officer Alvin Lugod. A grand jury cleared Lugod of criminal charges, but Lugod has since resigned from the force.
Chambers countered that McCoy knew nothing of law enforcement and only knew how to make a good sound bite.
“And as far as me criticizing the police, I will continue strongly and vociferously to criticize the police and if he supports what they did, he is as wrong as two left shoes and just like they are,” Chambers stated during floor debate.
Chambers said he would not apologize.
“But I will continue to condemn the police when they are wrong and, in my community, they are wrong.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:55]
AUDIO: Sen. Beau McCoy’s first floor speech calling on Sen. Ernie Chambers to apologize for anti-police remarks. [3:30]
AUDIO: Sen. McCoy’s second floor speech. [4:45]
AUDIO: Sen. Chambers’ first reaction to McCoy. [5:05]
AUDIO: Sen. Chambers’ second reaction. [10 min.]