Rep. Donna Edwards: 'I Would Say There's An Over-Policing Going On'

Susan Jones | May 4, 2015 | 7:22am EDT
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( - Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) says Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake "recognized there were some issues" with the Baltimore Police Department "long before" Freddie Gray died of injuries he apparently suffered while in police custody.

The mayor has now asked the Justice Department to examine policing practices in Baltimore, but Edwards indicated that she already understands the problem:

"I would say there's an over-policing going on," she told "Fox News Sunday."

"Well, what it means is that, you know, if you have communities where the only face of government that they see is law enforcement -- it's not investment in their schools, it's not investment in their communities and economic development. It's law enforcement. That's not the fault of police. That's the fault of policymakers who are making decisions about where our priorities (are)."

Host Chris Wallace noted that Baltimore has not had a Republican administration in 50 years. "Is it unfair to say that liberal policies have failed the city of Baltimore?" he asked Edwards.

"No," the liberal Democrat responded. "I mean, I would say, for example, with our schools -- just prior to the Freddie Gray incident, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was actually prevailing upon our Republican governor to release money for school funding."

Larry Hogen has been governor in heavily Democratic Maryland for just a little over three months. His Democrat predecessor, Martin O'Malley, held the office for eight years, with a Democrat-majority legislature for his entire tenure. O'Malley is now considering a run for president.

"When you have schools that are operating in the 20th century, and we're trying to prepare our children for the 21st century, even those children know they are not educated in the right way," Edwards said. "I think that that is a baseline for how we can revitalize communities so that it's not -- we're not investing in economic development only in the areas where we get tax abatements, but we're investing in other areas in the community, our small businesses and our education system and job retraining."

Wallace noted that the City of Baltimore "was already spending plenty on public schools, and the schools were still lousy."

"Well, I mean, there's uneven spending in the public schools," Edwards responded. "And I would say to you -- I mean, even the school that let out where the riots first began, there was a student who was interviewed who said, 'I'm looking at a book that's 20 years old.' How does that prepare her for the 21st century?

"So, I think we have a lot of questions to ask. They're not just -- they're not questions that are only for Republicans. They're questions for Democrats and Republicans about where we're going to make investments in our communities so the only investment we make isn't on the back end on law enforcement."

In a pre-taped interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) blamed "50 years of liberal policies that have not worked" for the problems facing poor people.

"It's time to look at all these programs and determine what's working and what isn't, because until we start to find programs that actually work and we provide opportunities, more opportunities and a better education, we are going to have more of the same."

Boehner said "educating more of our kids" is a good place to start. Money isn't the answer, he added: "If money was going to solve the education problem, we would have solved it decades ago."

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