As we briefly alluded to a couple days ago, the head of the Minneapolis police union is a white supremacist with a history of both engaging in and explicitly supporting abusive conduct by police. Last year, he appeared at a Trump rally to praise him for ending attempts by Obama’s DOJ to reign in police misconduct:
Last October, Minneapolis Police Union president Bob Kroll appeared at a Trump rally. Clad in his red “Cops for Trump” T-shirt, Kroll (who has been alleged to be affiliated with white supremacists) gloated that the president had unshackled his officers from the restraints imposed by Trump’s predecessor. “The Obama administration and the handcuffing and oppression of police was despicable,” he told the crowd. “The first thing President Trump did when he took office was turn that around, got rid of the Holder-Loretta Lynch regime and decided to start takin— letting the cops do their job, put the handcuffs on the criminals instead of us.”
We will never know if that unshackling emboldened Derek Chauvin to murder George Floyd. But the line between the relief demanded by Kroll on behalf of Minneapolis police, and the naked assassination committed on camera by one of his officers, is quite direct. The world around us, in which the streets of every major American city are filled with protesters, is the result of Trump granting the wishes of the most retrograde police officers. They are getting what they asked for.
And, of course, it’s not just Trump. While there has been some Republican support for some modest criminal justice reform on sentencing, when it comes to police violence, the party is with Trump all the way:
When William Barr took over for Sessions — whom Trump fired for refusing to violate Justice Department guidelines — there was nothing left of the Obama reforms to undo. Still, Barr continued to rail against the specter of criminal justice reform. Barr presented the reform movement, now confined to local officials, as a civilizational threat. “There is another development that is demoralizing to law enforcement and dangerous to public safety,” he railed last August, “that is the emergence in some of our large cities of district attorneys that style themselves as ‘social justice’ reformers, who spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook, and refusing to enforce the law.” (Letting criminals off the hook is only acceptable if Barr is doing it himself.)
In another, even more unhinged speech two months later, Barr warned, “If communities don’t give [police] that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.” The enthusiastic assent of both Sessions and Barr indicates how broadly reflective Trump’s agenda is within his party. Trump’s hatred of criminal justice reform is not just bleating from an old racist who still thinks the Central Park Five were guilty. It is party doctrine.
And what this party doctrine means is more police murders.
In related news, this is a good proposal, and will get about as much support from the Republican conference as his impeachment vote did.
This week, I am introducing the Ending Qualified Immunity Act to eliminate qualified immunity and restore Americans’ ability to obtain relief when police officers violate their constitutionally secured rights. pic.twitter.com/PiNYP8cX8i— Justin Amash (@justinamash) June 1, 2020