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The Senate's Only Black Republican Talks Racism on Senate Floor

by Lauren Victoria Burke /

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) has scheduled three speeches on the floor of the U.S. Senate to discuss issues in the aftermath of the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the murders of five Dallas law enforcement officers.

He began on Monday and in a speech yesterday, Sen. Scott revealed biased treatment he has received over his life including his time in the U.S. Senate. His midday address was sobering.

"There are a few ways to identify a member of Congress or the Senate. Typically if you've been here a few years they identify you by face. But if that doesn't happen and they have a badge, a license or this really cool pin," Sen. Scott said, referencing the pin that members of the U.S. House and Senate wear to be identified by doorkeepers around the chambers and by the police.

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"It's easy to identify a U.S. Senator by their pin. I recall walking into an office building just last year. The officer looked at me with a little attitude and said, 'The pin, I know. You, I don't. Show me your ID,' Scott said.

"I was thinking to myself: either he thinks I'm committing a crime as a member of Congress or what?"

Scott said he later received a phone call from the U.S. Capitol Police Officer's supervisor. This was the third phone call from a supervisor—including one from the Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police—after such a stop.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) speaks to reporters as he leaves a meeting with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Republican National Senatorial Committee on July 7, 2016 in Washington, DC. Mr. Trump and the senators met in an attempt to unify ahead of the upcoming Republican national convention.Getty Images

The Senator from South Carolina also relayed police stops in South Carolina.

"In the course of one year I've been stopped seven times by law enforcement officers. Not four. Not five. Not six. I was stopped seven times in one year as an elected official. Was I speeding sometimes? Sure. But the vast majority of times I was stopped for nothing more than driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood or some other reason just as trivial," Scott said.

"Boy, don't you know you have a busted tail light," Scott said on the Senate Floor, as he recounted a story of how he was stopped by police before he was in elected office.

"I do not know many African-American men who do not have a very similar story to tell no matter their profession. No matter their income. No matter their disposition in life," Sen. Scott added.

The Senator also told a story of a 30-year-old African-American member of his staff who drove a Chrysler 300 and was stopped in Washington, D.C. several times. Finally, Scott said, the staffer switched to a less expensive looking car.

Sen. Scott is scheduled to make his third and final speech on race on the Senate floor today.

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