African-Americans have a major disconnect with Republicans over the justice system — because the GOP too often sides with cops involved in controversial shootings, former Rep. J.C. Watts tells Newsmax TV.
"It's not the social issues that keep black people from voting with conservatives or with Republicans. It's the justice issue," Watts, an Oklahoma Republican, said Monday on "The Steve Malzberg Show."
"By no means do I mean to throw police officers under the bus because my dad was a police officer, I've got a son-in-law that's a police officer.
"But while I don't believe police officers are always wrong, I don't believe they're always right. We have to take a closer look at those things."
Watts, a former star quarterback for the University of Oklahoma, said a case in point is the death of Walter Scott, shot in the back by North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager as he tried to flee. Along with Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Missouri — all black men killed by white cops — Scott's case has sparked cries of racism and a need for reform in the justice system.
Without a video of the Scott tragedy, filmed by a bystander, "Republicans would put their stakes on the ground on the side of the police officer and Democrats would put their stakes in the ground on the side of the victim," Watts said.
"There needs to be a deeper discussion … about how we do law enforcement or what needs to be tweaked in terms of the law enforcement community.
"And I don't just say that in terms of the black community. There's obviously white victims and red and yellow and brown victims out there as well."