Former FBI Director James Comey showed up to Howard University to give the convocation address on Friday. Didn’t go as planned.
WATCH: Protesters sing “We Shall Not Be Moved” as former FBI Director James Comey takes stage at Howard University https://t.co/k8TBMzujwd
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 22, 2017
Protesters in the bleachers, probably students, started singing “We shall not be moved,” and chanted “I love being black” when it came his time to talk. The NBC live stream of this convocation even cut to some Howard promotional footage for a few minutes before the feed started up again. The protesters continued to sing and chant over a clearly annoyed Comey, who criticized the students for talking over him.
He continued with his prepared speech, pushing through the heckling.
“I look forward to having adult conversations over what is right and what is true,” he said at the end of his speech.
Comey was the keynote speaker at the event. The protesters opposed him because of his link to the FBI. As said in a student statement obtained by The Washington Post, he “represents an institution diametrically opposed to the interests of black people domestically and abroad. While his tenure at the FBI has finished, his impact on our community remains.” They also criticized him for a comment he made in December, when he said that a “viral video effect” makes officers afraid to do their jobs, leading to a spike in murder rates.
The FBI has a pretty ugly history when it comes to how it has dealt with communities of color, even targeting civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Howard is a historically black university. As for Comey, he is best known for his pretty fraught public profile in the past year. He led the FBI’s investigation into both Hillary Clinton alleged mishandling of work-related emails as Secretary of State, and alleged collusion between Donald Trump‘s campaign and the Russian government. His handling of the Clinton probe has been cited as a reason Trump won the election.
Update – Sept. 22, 4:50 p.m.: Added information from a student statement about why they protested Comey.
[Screengrab via NBC News]