Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBottom line Senate roadblocks threaten to box in Biden How a tied Senate could lead a divided America MORE (D-Nev.) suggested Tuesday that the Baltimore violence in response to the death of Freddie Gray in police custody is connected with systemic problems across the country.

"The rioting that we're seeing in Baltimore is only further hurting the city. Millions of Americans feel powerless in the face of a system that is rigged against them," he said. "It is easy to believe the system is rigged against you when you spent years watching what President Obama called a slow-rolling crisis of troubling police interactions with people of color."


Reid's remarks come after violence erupted in Baltimore Monday after Gray's funeral. The National Guard was deployed to the city Tuesday, and a state of emergency declared.

The Nevada Democrat said he was "saddened" by the violence, but that lawmakers can't "ignore" the psychological motivations behind it.

"We can't condone the violence we see in Baltimore, but we must not ignore the despair and hopelessness that gives rise to this kind of violence," he said. "Let's condemn the violence but not ignore the underlying problem. Let's not pretend the system is fair. Let's not pretend everything is OK."

Reid added that while senators must work on criminal justice reform legislation, they must also bolster jobs and education opportunities for inner cities and rural areas.

"There's nothing else. Look around, that's not enough," he said. "We need to do more. ... Democrats and Republicans must work together to make sure that Americans have the right to succeed."