BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- When a UC Berkeley law student got a chance to ask a question of the nation's chief law enforcement officer -- he didn't back down and he didn't sugar coat it.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions may not have seen this coming when he took questions from law students working at the capitol this past summer.
"As I'm standing here I'm thinking about Philando Castile and Michael Brown and any of those other folks who have fallen victim to excessive force," said UC Berkeley law student Sean Litteral.
He was talking about Philando Castile who was killed during a traffic stop last year by a police officer in Minnesota with his girlfriend and baby watching and Michael Brown, an unarmed man shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. And Litteral didn't stop there.
"I grew up in the projects to a single mother and the people we are afraid of are not necessarily our neighbors, but the police. Well that may be the view in Berkeley, but not in the rest of the country," Sessions said, using the word Berkeley almost as an insult.
We talked with Sean, an Ohio native, by Skype from London. "So for me, this is not only personal in the sense that my family and friends have experienced this, it's personal because it speaks to my personal experience."
Sean says he asked the question on behalf of justice department staffers who may have been afraid to.
We talked with a UC Berkeley law professor who says he saw a frightening example of America's criminal justice past and a promising look at its future in the exchange.
Professor Jonathan Simon said, "It wasn't Berkeley it was Alabama and Selma that got students from here going in the sixties and right now it's what's happening to immigrants, what's happening to young people color in our cities."
Litteral added, "If Jeff Sessions wants to criticize my experience or a progressive institution that's doing a terrific job on behalf of people and especially communities of color then I'm completely fine with his criticism."
He's also experienced something most of his classmates couldn't even dream of.