Dem. Rep. Denies Responsibility for Mistakenly Labeling Girl’s Murder ‘Hate Crime’

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee attends a roundtable discussion on unaccompanied minor shelters in Brownsville, Texas, June 18, 2018. (Callaghan O'Hare/Reuters)

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas) refused to take responsibility Sunday for labeling the murder of a seven-year-old African-American girl a “hate crime” before sufficient evidence materialized to support the claim.

Jackson Lee, who encouraged the public to treat Jazmine Barnes’s murder as a hate crime during a rally days after her death, claimed Sunday that her earlier statements, made before the police arrested and charged an African-American man with the murder, were not irresponsible.

While addressing a crowd of hundreds gathered near the Houston, Texas street where Barnes was shot and killed on December 30, Jackson Lee urged her audience to call the murder a hate crime, citing eyewitness accounts that suggested a white man was responsible.

“Do not be afraid to call this what it seems to be — a hate crime,” Jackson Lee said.

On Sunday, Houston Police arrested and charged Eric Black, a 20-year-old African-American man, with the killing. Asked at a news conference Sunday afternoon whether her initial characterization of the murder as a hate crime was irresponsible, Jackson Lee responded, “absolutely not.”

“[Houston residents] listened to the process of law and order, and assisted the sheriff in their efforts,” Lee said. “That should be the story.”

Jackson Lee’s initial assessment of the Barnes’s murder relied on a police sketch made from the eyewitness account of Barnes’s 15-year-old sister, who was in the car with her when she was shot and killed. Authorities attributed the error to “mistaken identity,” adding that the white man depicted in the sketch was likely nearby when the shooting took place.

“It went down very quickly when the gunfire erupted,” Harris County sheriff Ed Gonzalez said during the Sunday news conference. “You’re talking about small children, they witnessed something very traumatic, and it’s very likely the last thing they did see was indeed that red truck — and the driver in that red truck — and that’s what they remember last.”

Most Popular


What We’ve Learned about Jussie Smollett

It’s been a few weeks since March 26, when all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and the actor declared that his version of events had been proven correct. How’s that going? Smollett’s celebrity defenders have gone quiet. His publicists and lawyers are dodging reporters. The @StandwithJussie ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Lessons of the Mueller Probe

Editor’s Note: The following is the written testimony submitted by Mr. McCarthy in connection with a hearing earlier today before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on the Mueller Report (specifically, the first volume of the report, which addresses Russia’s interference in the 2016 ... Read More

Kamala Harris Runs for Queen

I’m going to let you in on a secret about the 2020 presidential contest: Unless unforeseen circumstances lead to a true wave election, the legislative stakes will be extremely low. The odds are heavily stacked against Democrats’ retaking the Senate, and that means that even if a Democrat wins the White House, ... Read More

Why Are the Western Middle Classes So Angry?

What is going on with the unending Brexit drama, the aftershocks of Donald Trump’s election, and the “yellow vests” protests in France? What drives the growing estrangement of southern and eastern Europe from the European Union establishment? What fuels the anti-EU themes of recent European elections and ... Read More
Energy & Environment

The Climate Trap for Democrats

The more the climate debate changes, the more it stays the same. Polls show that the public is worried about climate change, but that doesn’t mean that it is any more ready to bear any burden or pay any price to combat it. If President Donald Trump claws his way to victory again in Pennsylvania and the ... Read More
White House

Sarah Sanders to Resign at End of June

Sarah Huckabee Sanders will resign from her position as White House press secretary at the end of the month, President Trump announced on Twitter Thursday afternoon. Sanders, the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, succeeded Sean ... Read More
Politics & Policy

But Why Is Guatemala Hungry?

I really, really don’t want to be on the “Nicolas Kristof Wrote Something Dumb” beat, but, Jiminy Cricket! Kristof has taken a trip to Guatemala, with a young woman from Arizona State University in tow. “My annual win-a-trip journey,” he writes. Reporting from Guatemala, he discovers that many ... Read More