Dem calls police brutality against blacks 'embarrassing'
© Greg Nash

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus said Thursday that the riots in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody resulted in part from policymakers' shortcomings in helping people in poverty.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) said that the international headlines about Gray's case are "painful" and "embarrassing."

"To all Americans, it has to be painful, embarrassing to see on international news or to have our international friends think that we're a country that allows young black men to be shot down and murdered and killed and that this is supposed to represent America," Rangel said on the House floor.

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Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeHarris wins endorsement of former CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge The Hill's Morning Report — DOJ's planned executions stir new debate Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (D-Ohio), a former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, apologized on behalf of lawmakers who she said aren't doing enough to help low-income families.

"Today I want to say to the Gray family and all the people who are in the streets in Baltimore, I apologize. I apologize for a body that has failed you," Fudge said.

"I apologize for people who only give lip service to the poor. I apologize because we could do better to make your lives better. It is our responsibility as the leaders of this nation to take care of the people who need us the most. Ms. Gray, I apologize," Fudge concluded.

The lawmakers said the violence in Baltimore displayed on TV screens and in newspapers across the country and around the globe represented the long-simmering tensions resulting from poverty in the world's wealthiest nation.

"What we see happening in Baltimore is not just about police misconduct. It's about poverty, unemployment, lack of opportunity, hopelessness and despair," said Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.).

"It represents poverty. But it's so hard for people to believe that the richest country in the world could have this cancer of poverty that eats away from so many things that we could be doing," Rangel said.