Maxine Waters slams ‘blatant distortion’ of critics framing her as violent

Waters has her say about Republican tactics in Congress in a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece she wrote, titled "I'm Not New to This."

Congresswoman Maxine Waters has penned an editorial in which she maintains that critics are targeting her in a “blatant distortion of the truth.” 

Waters attended a peaceful rally Saturday in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota to show her support in the fight against police brutality. When asked what protesters should do if there wasn’t a conviction, she responded: “We got to stay on the street. And we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational.” 

Rep. Maxine Waters gathers with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the Rayburn Room to watch the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial Tuesday in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In an exclusive interview Monday with theGrio, Waters said, “I talk about confronting the justice system, confronting the policing that’s going on, I’m talking about speaking up. I’m talking about legislation. I’m talking about elected officials doing what needs to be done to control their budgets and to pass legislation.”

In an op-ed piece in The Los Angeles Times Thursday titled “I’m Not New to This,” Waters says that she believes the journey to the guilty verdict of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd was “painful and difficult.” 

“Many of those who joined in the sustained protests last summer did so for the first time because of what happened to George Floyd and were motivated by their newfound understanding of the pain Black people endure in this country,” she writes. 

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She also references the police killing of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio, an incident many people learned about just moments after the Chauvin verdict was announced. She asserts Black people experience “collective suffering” through other police killings. 

Waters talks about the infamous 1992 L.A.P.D. beating of Rodney King, recounting how she challenged Daryl Gates, who, at the time, was chief of police in Los Angeles. “It is clear that I am not new to protest,” she writes, “and I am not new to challenge and confrontation.”

She says she has been targeted by right-wing members of Congress, who are doing so to “divert attention from the fact that they aided and abetted a violent, domestic terrorist insurrection led by Donald Trump.” 

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The California representative echoed those sentiments in her exclusive conversation with theGrio. “Republicans will jump on any word, any line,” she said, “and try to make it fit their message and their cause for denouncing us and denying us, basically calling us violent … any time they see an opportunity to seize on a word, so they do it and they send a message to all of the white supremacists, the KKK, the Oath Keepers, the [Proud] Boys and all of that, how this is a time for [Republicans] to raise money on [Democrats] backs.” 

Waters writes in The Times that she is non-violent and that she has always been “an advocate for peace and fairness and justice.” 

She concludes the opinion piece with her “solemn wish” that reform comes to police departments across the nation and “the police killings of Black people can be stopped.”

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