I think I may soon need jaw surgery, for mine has been dropped so many times in the past two years, especially in the past six months, that there is now an oddish clicking sound when I chew. Today I had at least two of those jaw-dropping, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’ moments. The first was Anthony Scaramucci’s rant to a reporter at the New Yorker. I considered writing a post about that one, but on further consideration I felt it was just too raunchy for even me. However, feel free to read it for yourself. I warn you, it is quite … vulgar in spots, but worth the read, for it provides a great deal of insight into Mr. Scaramucci.
The second of those moments came this afternoon when I saw this Washington Post headline:
President Trump Tells Police Not to Worry About Injuring Suspects During Arrests
Speaking at the Suffolk County, New York, Police Department, Trump said, “When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over?” Trump said, miming the physical motion of an officer shielding a suspect’s head to keep it from bumping against the squad car. “Like, don’t hit their head, and they just killed somebody — don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”
I shouldn’t be surprised, right? Remember some of those times back on the campaign trail when he promoted violence at his rallies?
August 2015: Trump attacked Bernie Sanders for letting Black Lives Matter protesters hijack his stage and said that kind of thing would be physically stopped at one of his events. “I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself or if other people will.”
November 2015: “Get him the hell out of here, will you, please?” Trump said of a protester. “Get him out of here. Throw him out!” The next day, after video emerged of the protester being treated roughly, Trump said the man was “so obnoxious and so loud” that “maybe he should have been roughed up.”
February 2016: Trump said after someone threw a tomato at a rally: “If you see somebody with a tomato, knock the crap out of them.”
March 2016: “Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court, don’t worry about it.”
And the list goes on, but you get the idea. Can anyone imagine what would have happened if President Obama had spoken like that? To suggest to a group of police officers that they should treat suspects more roughly is an abomination, and one that cannot be tolerated. I was pleased to see the response of the International Association of Chiefs of Police saying officers are trained to treat all people with dignity and respect.
“Managing use of force is one of the most difficult challenges faced by law enforcement agencies. The ability of law enforcement officers to enforce the law, protect the public, and guard their own safety, the safety of innocent bystanders, and even those suspected or apprehended for criminal activity is very challenging. For these reasons, law enforcement agencies develop policies and procedures, as well as conduct extensive training, to ensure that any use of force is carefully applied and objectively reasonable considering the situation confronted by the officers.”
The Suffolk County Police Department also responded, saying, “we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners.”
In recent years, there have been a spate of shootings of unarmed African-Americans by police officers. Consider the case of Freddie Gray, who died in Baltimore in April 2015 after a spinal injury that occurred in the back of a police van. Prosecutors said Gray had been given a “rough ride” in the van, causing the injuries that would kill him a week later. Trump, by the way, sided with the officers in the case.
There have been far too many … Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Walter Scott, Freddy Gray, and so many others. At least 2,528 people have been shot and killed by police since January 1, 2015.
When the person who is supposed to represent ALL citizens of a nation, who is supposed to set an example, encourages more violence, it speaks volumes about that ‘man’ and his character. I believe that most police officers are dedicated and do not abuse the use of force. However, there will always be some who are not as honourable. Donald Trump just gave them permission to become our worst nightmare.