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'My mother's life mattered': Former Buffalo Fire commissioner testifies before Senate about 5/14

Former Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield is seated and wearing a black suit, white shirt and black-and-white-striped tie, with a name plate and microphone in front of his.
PBS Newshour
Former Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield testifies on behalf of his mother, Ruth Whitfield, who was killed in 5/14.

Tuesday was the first of two days of hearings on domestic terrorism in Washington, as the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony regarding the nation's scourge of white supremacy.

Among those testifying was former Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield, whose mother, Ruth Whitfield, was one of the 10 mostly Black people killed May 14 at an East Side Buffalo Tops supermarket.

A white teenager now faces 25 murder, hate and terror charges for what prosecutors say was a racially-motivated attack.

"He was radicalized by white supremacists. His anger and hatred were metastasized by like a cancer by people with big microphones in high places screaming that Black people were going to take away their jobs and opportunities," Garnell said. "Is there nothing that we can do? Is there nothing that you personally are willing to do to stop the cancer that is white supremacy and the domestic terrorism it inspires?"

On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Reform Committee is expected to hear from Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia and Zeneta Everhart, whose son Zaire Goodman was wounded in the Tops shooting, as well as experts and others affected by gun violence across the country.

Watch the entire testimony here.

WATCH LIVE: Senate Judiciary hearing on the rise of domestic terrorism in wake of Buffalo massacre

Dave Debo's journalism career runs the gamut from public radio to commercial radio, from digital projects to newspapers. With over 30 years of experience, he's produced national television news programs and has worked as both a daily and weekly print journalist and web editor.