Did Donald Trump just publicly sanction police brutality? Of course, he did. To the applause of New York law enforcement, the 45th president of the United States offered praise for flagrant retributive violence by uniformed law enforcers during a wide-ranging speech. This should come as no surprise. The idea that police officers should play judge, jury, and punisher in the criminal justice system is consistent with Trump’s brash persona.
Over forty years ago, marches at the nation’s capital and around the country were earmarked with peaceful assemblies as minorities and ethnicities across the spectrum gathered to defend their Amendment rights. They expressed their dissatisfaction with legislation, police brutality and the overall inequality of rights for all people. Yet, in 2017, the leader of the free world publicly sanctions police brutality. Number 45 encouraged officers to rough up those they arrest. He said:
When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see ’em thrown in rough. I said please don’t be too nice.
Like when you guys put somebody into the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put your hand, 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?”
To sanction this type of police brutality jabs directly at one of the most notorious recent examples of deadly police violence. Two years ago, this type of behavior caused massive civil unrest in Baltimore after Freddie Gray died of a broken neck after a “rough ride” in a police vehicle. In Gray’s case, the officers were charged, however, they each walked free.
The streets of Baltimore looked like a mad house after the funeral of Freddie Gray. With this new generation, where a community feels peace has failed them, they resorted to an altogether different type of protest. With a president who encourages police brutality, it leaves them little solace or seeming choice.
This is what happens when people feel hopeless, angry, and desperate. For these minorities, who are often victims of the massive incarceration process, it is easier for them to go to jail than college. Being raised and having lived in a “third world type of poverty” many of these youngsters cannot even conceive a way out and believe they have nothing to lose. Civil Rights protests within the prior generation were composed of people who had hope for a brighter day. They believed a change was on the horizon, and if they did not live to see it, they were content “fighting” so their offspring could benefit from their efforts.
Protesters of the past generation understood the power of patience. They knew change would take time and they were willing to give it all they had. This is a different day, a time where everyone expects a quick turnaround in all aspects of life. These kids grew up in the microwave generation; many have never put a jiffy pan on the stove and waited for the kernels to get too hot and explode. They stick a bag in the microwave, push the corresponding “popcorn” button and within minutes they are consuming. It is a different day.
In order to understand the mind of today’s youth, a conversation would need to occur to find out the real issues. No one wants to do that. Instead, America has a leader who encourages police brutality, by telling officers to rough up those they arrest. Does this justify the actions of this generation who has chosen to fight for themselves? Of course not, but before adding insult to injury it may help if “outsiders” were more empathetic to the situation at hand.
People have called them animals and all sorts of derogatory statements. It is a terrible thing to feel trapped or caged. Too many unarmed black men have died at the hands of those designed to protect while the nation, or other cultures, sit back and justify the actions of a tainted legal system. When a person feels unprotected by others, they learn to fight for themselves. As such, many more of today’s youth will be guilty of taking police brutality into their own hands and will not care that the outside world is witnessing their actions.
Many in high crime neighborhoods are left wondering what they have to live for. If they do well and find a way out of the ghetto, they still are not safe because they will still be a part of Black America. No matter how educated they are, how well they dress, how successful they become these kids know they will not be exempt. At the end of it, they will still be African-American and viewed as a lower class citizen.
What many do not understand is only a few victims of police brutality make the news. Many youngsters witness the effects of a biased legal system nearly every day of their lives. So, all of the complaints and critical comments that are being thrown their way does nothing but fuel their anger and despair.
Is this article an attempt to justify their unruly behavior? Of course not, but it is a window into their world. If people would jump off their high horses long enough to acknowledge the unjust treatment and help push America towards a nation of equality things might really change. Until then, this new generation will continue to take police brutality into their own hands…especially under the leadership of a president who sanctions law enforcement to act unjustly.
Amid a chuckling audience, Donald Trump encouraged police brutality. “Rough Rides,” as they are known in the law enforcement business, are by definition a violation of the constitutional right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by the state. Just as many other actions of insanity, the statements made by Trump will be excused as ignorant or a crude joke.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Washington Post: Trump tells police not to worry about injuring suspects during arrests
Huffington Post: Donald Trump Endorses Police Brutality In Speech To Cops
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