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Jeff Sessions Sparks Outrage After Praising ‘Anglo-American Heritage’ Of Sheriffs — Watch:

During a speech to the National Sheriffs Association, which represents about 20,000 law enforcement officials across the U.S., Attorney General Jeff Sessions veered off from his prepared remarks to praise the “Anglo-American” historical origins of the sheriff.

A video shared on Twitter by VICE reporter Tess Owen, shows the apparent improvisation from the prepared remarks distributed ahead of time to reporters:

“The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement,” Sessions told the audience. “We must never erode this historic office.”

The comments quickly raised eyebrows on social media, where commenters perceived the reference as racist in light of the attorney general’s racially problematic history.

The sheriff indeed originated in medieval England, and the name derives from Anglo-Saxon words for the guardian, or reeve, of a county, or shire. English colonists brought the tradition to America and elected their own sheriffs in the 1600s.

Various right-wing fringe movements promote the legal fallacy that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the United States.

Watch Sessions’ remarks in the video below:

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