Top police officials in Massachusetts have accused Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of insulting rank-and-file officers when she said the criminal justice system was "racist ... front to back" earlier this month.
Warren made the remarks Aug. 3 at Dillard University, a historically black college. She cited disproportionate arrests of African-Americans for petty drug possession; an overloaded public defender system; and state laws barring convicted felons from voting after their sentences are complete.
In response, Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson called Warren's comments "an insult to the hard working men and women of the Yarmouth Police Department, as well as other Local, State and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies who are part of the criminal justice system."
In a letter to Warren, Massachusetts Chief of Police Association President Steven Wojnar said he was "extremely troubled" by the senator's comments.
"Labeling the entire criminal justice profession as 'racist' spreads false and damaging information about our members," Wojnar wrote. "When our elected officials make generalized and inflammatory statements about our entire profession, without any information to back their position, it creates further hostility toward our officers and can damage the positive relationships with our residents that we have worked long and hard to establish."
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also called out Warren during a speech in Georgia on Thursday, calling her statement "a slander of every law officer and every prosecutor in America. And, frankly, I think it is an insult to their families and to the crime victims they have helped to face their attacker."
In a statement obtained by The Boston Globe this weekend, Warren said: "I spoke about an entire system — not individuals — and will continue to work on reforms to make the criminal justice system fairer.
"The entire law enforcement system has a lot of good people who get up every day and try to make this a more just, a more fair, more responsive system. And they say over and over, the system needs reform. It needs change."
A spokeswoman for Warren's Senate re-election campaign told the Globe that Warren spoke to Frederickson on Saturday. Warren's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Fox News.
Warren is heavily favored to win a second Senate term in deep-blue Massachusetts this November. She is also considered a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
Fox News' Jake Gibson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.