WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A cold morning in Washington DC didn’t keep folks from heading to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall. Visitors went to honor Dr. King’s birthday, and listen to words from FBI Director James Comey.
The fifth annual Memorial Foundation ceremony to honor Dr. King took place in single-digit weather. Director Comey joked that he would speak for 90 minutes before making a short speech in front of visitors huddled together. He started off by saying that he sends all new FBI agents to the memorial.
"I want them to remember the interaction between the FBI and Dr. King so that the FBI remains constrained and overseen and checked,” said Comey.
Director Comey says he wants law enforcement and the communities they protect to grow closer together, not further apart. Maryland resident Fuller Ming brought his son to the service, and says he notices the division Comey is talking about.
"It’s painful,” said Ming. "I see what’s happening and how we tear each other apart. If it’s not race, it’s religious wars. It’s just...it’s painful.”
After Director Comey’s brief remarks, he laid a wreath at the bottom of the massive Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
Harry Johnson is the President of the Memorial Foundation that built the memorial. He says Comey’s remarks regarding law enforcement and community were spot on.
"We need law enforcement, we need community,” said Johnson. "So I think his words are transparent, they meet a lot to all of us, and they should mean a lot to the community as well.”
Comey says the unfounded request to wiretap Dr. King is something he often thinks back on as he works to improve relations.
"All of us, law enforcement and non-law enforcement, carry with us an implicit biases,” said Comey. "We react differently to a face that looks different from our own. We have to stare at that and own that.”
Director Comey closed by saying that everyone needs to open their hearts and minds to bring people closer together, because "we need each other”.