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Nebraska State Senator on Saying He’d Shoot a Cop If He Weren’t Nonviolent: ‘I Meant What I Said’

Melanie Arter
By Melanie Arter | April 1, 2015 | 12:18 PM EDT

Nebraska state Sen. Ernie Chambers refused to apologize last week for controversial comments he made comparing the police to ISIS and suggesting he would shoot a cop if he had a gun and weren’t nonviolent.

“I meant what I said, and I said what I meant,” Chambers said in reaction to calls for him to apologize or resign.

During a legislative hearing on a bill allowing guns in bars (LB 635) on March 20, Chambers said, “My ISIS is the police.”

“I would tell young people if you tell somebody to go across the world to fight for ISIS, they can put you in jail if you just talk about it. If you want to fight injustice, don’t-- you don’t have to go around the world to find the ISIS mentality,” he said.

“Your ISIS is in America, and you’re likely to die over there one way or the other. So if you’re gonna die, die making your home safe. My home is not threatened by ISIS. Mine is threatened by the police. The police are licensed to kill us – children, old people,” Chambers added.

“If I were going to do something – but I’m not a man of violence – I wouldn’t go to Syria. I wouldn’t go to Iraq. I wouldn’t go to Afghanistan. I wouldn’t go to Yemen. I wouldn’t go to Tunisia. I wouldn’t go to Lebanon. I wouldn’t go to Jordan. I would do it right here,” he said.

“Nobody from ISIS ever terrorized us as a people as the police do daily, and they get away with it, and they’ve been given the license now,” Chambers said.

If I was going to carry a weapon, it wouldn’t be against you. 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,” he said. “Would I get away with it? You know I wouldn’t get away with it.

“They better hope I never lose my mind and find out that I’m on my way out of here,” Chambers added.

Chambers’ comments prompted Omaha state Sen. Beau McCoy, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, and Nebraska’s attorney general to demand an apology.

“Senator Chambers’ attack on police officers shows total disregard for public safety. Why would any elected official state if he had a gun he would shoot a police officer?”

Stothert said a statement, according to Nebraska Watchdog. “The senator should be looking for ways to improve public safety, not comparing police officers to terrorists. He owes an apology not only to Obama police officers but to every citizen of Obama.”

Chambers, however, refused to apologize or resign.

“I’m not going to resign,” he said on the floor of the Nebraska Legislature on March 26. “I’m not going to apologize. Why do you think I would apologize?”

Lawmakers have been exploring the possibility of censure, admonishment or expulsion for the remainder of the session, which would require 33 out of 49 votes, according to McCoy.

As recently as Monday, Chambers remained determined not to apologize or resign.

“I have not taken it back, I have not apologized for it,” Chambers said. “I will not take it back. I will not apologize for it.”

He dared lawmakers to censure or expel him.

“I just wish you’d try to censure me,” Chambers said. “In fact, don’t stop there, expel me!”

As for his comments about shooting the police, Chambers said he was drawing an analogy and his comments were taken out of context, according to the Nebraska Watchdog.

“There’s not a person in my legislative district who thinks I would want to kill a cop,” he said on the floor of the Nebraska Legislature on Monday. “The kids in my community are too smart to put that interpretation on those words.”

(H/T Nebraska Watchdog)

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