Allen West: ‘No one ever followed me in a mall’

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Amid the national conversation on profiling that has arisen in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, one former politician has stepped forward to contradict President Obama’s statement that few black men haven’t experienced being followed in a store, or hearing the locks click on doors as he passes by.

Now, a post attributed to Allen West, the former Florida congressman who now heads a conservative PAC, posted a statement on his website yesterday, AllenWestRepublic, is placing him among the “few”:

“I am a black male who grew up in the inner city of Atlanta and no one ever followed me in a mall. I don’t recall any doors clicking when I crossed the street. And I never had anyone clutching their handbag when I got on an elevator. I guess having two awesome parents who taught me to be a respectful young man paid dividends.” – Allen West

On his Facebook page on the day after the verdict, West also lashed out at “the usual suspect race baiters and progressive media” who he said are using the case “for political gain.”

West may disagree with President Obama (and a majority of African-Americans) about the experience of being a black man in America, but his opinion on the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case also isn’t in total alignment with fellow conservatives like Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter, who have embraced Zimmerman completely.

In March 2012, before Zimmerman’s arrest and amid mass protests in Sanford and around the country, West said Zimmerman had “no authorization” to shoot Martin, adding: “this is a self-made head of a community neighborhood watch. That’s where my concern is.” He called the shooting an “outrage” on his Facebook page and joined calls for a federal probe:

“Let’s all be appalled at this instance not because of race, but because a young American man has lost his life, seemingly, for no reason,” West wrote. “I have signed a letter supporting a [Department of Justice] investigation. I am not heading to Sanford to shout and scream, because we need the responsible entities and agencies to handle this situation from this point without media bias or undue political influences. This is an outrage.”

Follow Joy Reid on Twitter at @thereidreport.