(CNSNews.com) - When asked to comment Wednesday about the deaths and crimes that have occurred around Occupy protests being held across the country, Rep. Maxine Waters said “that’s life and it happens.”
“That’s a distraction from the goals of the protesters,” Waters, who says she supports the Occupy movement, told CNSNews.com after an event at the Capitol sponsored by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
“Let me just say this: Anytime you have a gathering, homeless people are going to show up,” said Waters. “They will find some comfort in having some other people out on the streets with them. They’re looking for food. Often times, the criminal element will invade. That’s life and it happens, whether it’s with protesters or other efforts that go on in this country.
“So I’m not deterred in my support for them because of these negative kinds of things,” said Waters. “I just want them to work at doing the best job that they can do to bring attention to this economic crisis and the unfairness of the system at this time.”
The Associated Press reported that there have been at least three deaths recently at or near Occupy encampments. A man was shot and killed near the scene of the Occupy camp in Oakland, Calif. A man reportedly shot himself at the Occupy camp in Burlington, Vt. And a man was discovered dead in a tent at the Salt Lake City, Utah, Occupy camp.
At the Occupy L.A. site—in the city where Rep. Waters' congressional district is located—five people have been charged with crimes, according to the Los Angeles Times. These include a man who allegedly exposed himself and masturbated in the presence of children.
In contrast to her support of the Occupy movement, Rep. Waters has been sharply criticial of the Tea Party movement. In August, according to the Washington Post, she said, “[A]s far as I’m concerned, the ‘Tea Party’ can go straight to hell.”