GOP Sen. Tim Scott: Brooks shooting highlights need for better police training

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Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said on Sunday that the shooting death earlier this week of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta only reiterates the need for reform within the country’s police departments.

Scott, the only African-American Republican in the Senate, said more training is needed with police officers in regards to when to use their weapons and that he believes that both parties in Congress can come together to pass some meaningful legislation in reforming law enforcement practices.

One of the challenges in these split-second decisions is the need for more training, that’s why the de-escalation aspect is so important,” Scott said, but added that the Brooks’ incident was “a far less clear one” than the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.

"That video is disturbing to watch, but I'm not sure that it's as clear as what we've seen around the country on some of the other issues that have driven us to the point where we're actually having a serious conversation around police reform,” Scott said, during an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”


He added: “The conversation is necessary, very important. That situation is an outlier from what really has brought us to where we are as relates to police reform and George Floyd."

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the Brooks shooting, said the deadly confrontation started with officers responding to a complaint that a man was sleeping in a car blocking the drive-thru lane at a Wendy’s restaurant. The GBI said Brooks failed a field sobriety test and then resisted officers' attempts to arrest him.

The GBI released security camera video of the shooting Saturday. The footage shows a black man running from two white police officers as he raises a hand, which is holding some type of object, toward an officer a few steps behind him. The officer draws his gun and fires as the man keeps running, then falls to the ground in the parking lot.


The shooting came at a time of heightened tension over accusations of police brutality and calls for reforms across the U.S. following the May 25 death of Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd died after a now-fired police officer, Derek Chauvin, put his knee on the unarmed black man’s neck for almost 9 minutes. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder.

Since Floyd’s death, there has been near constant protests against police brutality and racial injustice, along with calls to drastically cut funding to police departments nationwide.

“Is there a path forward that we can take to look at the necessity of eliminating bad behavior within our law enforcement community? Is there a path forward? I think we’ll find that,” Scott said

“There are approaches that are very similar and somewhat different at the same time,” Scott added. “If we’re that close on making progress, I hope we don’t let partisanship get in the way.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.