If Donald Trump isn’t prevented from taking the White House, law enforcement in the United States will once again become and open and fully emboldened extension of white nationalism.
Our communities will face more officers, more murders, more incarceration, more obstructions and more social support for violence against us than anything we face now under President Obama and anything we would have faced (and still may face) under Hillary Clinton.
The Law and Order candidate plans to block any attempts to end racial profiling, pass legislation that increases and protects the ability of law enforcement to target disadvantaged communities, eliminate barriers to militarization, redefine and encourage the use of excessive and deadly force, and federalize obstructions for those seeking justice against police brutality.
Almost every gain the left has made in the name of Civil Rights since 1866 – Trump plans to undo. Every wish law enforcement has made for generations – Trump plans to grant.
If we don’t take a stand now, we can expect to see the following:
The majority of the fear being experienced as a result of the election directly results from Donald Trump’s violently racist messaging, political relationships and policy agendas. He has insulted nearly every disadvantaged community in the United States, enjoys the full support of the KKK, and recently named a prominent white nationalist as his Chief Strategist. Incidences of race based violence have also increased at an alarming rate since last week’s election, and Trump has yet to enter the White House.
The Clinton Campaign stated that it would, “Support legislation to end racial profiling. In the Senate, Hillary co-sponsored legislation to end racial profiling by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials. She will fight to ban the practice as president.”
Trump’s stance on racial profiling reflects his intentions to allow law enforcement to target community members by race without facing legal consequences.
The Law and Order candidate has not spoken directly about his position regarding the Racial Profiling Act; however he has run a campaign based on racial divisiveness and stated, “As you know in Israel they profile, they’ve done an unbelievable job — as good as you can do,” Trump said. “And they’ll profile, they profile. They see somebody who’s suspicious, they profile, they will take that person and they’ll check [them] out.”
If Trump assumes office, it can be expected that he would support the Fraternal Order of Police’s efforts aggressively block attempts to place legislative barriers to racial profiling, including efforts to pass the Racial Profiling Act and it’s presentations to Congress as HR 1933 and S1056. It can also be expected that these protections will go hand in hand with efforts of both parties to target specific communities by race.
Excessive and Deadly Force
Currently, excessive and deadly force policies vary widely from state to state and municipality to municipality. This allows law enforcement to decide for themselves when force is appropriate and reject the identification of standards for when it is not. Just as it would have been impossible to end slavery plantation by plantation, it is impossible to end police brutality precinct by precinct. Applying federal use of force standards would prevent cops that kill from hiding behind local and state laws that would otherwise allow them to do so without consequence.
Clinton’s position is not as strong as it needs to be to make the swift and direct changes necessary to enforce community directed use of force standards, but it is a small step in the right direction. Her campaign pledged to “Bring law enforcement and communities together to develop national guidelines on the use of force by police officers. These will make it clear when deadly force is warranted and when it isn’t and emphasizing proven methods for de-escalating situations.”
Trump has consistently voiced his opinion that law enforcement should retain control at the state and local efforts, while federal funding should be used to support these efforts in whatever way they see fit. It can be assumed that Trump will follow the directives of the FOP all momentum for federal deadly force standards will be halted. It can also be expected that Trump will provide additional protections that allow police officers to be guarded from prosecution for misconduct, excessive force and deadly force.
Police Protections and Obstructions to Justice
In Stop Blue Lives Matter, I wrote:
“Two of the most powerful tools used to protect officers and ensure they’re not held accountable for their brutal and deadly actions…are police union contracts and Law Enforcement Officers Bills of Rights (LEOBORs). These policies have ensured that police are afforded rights that no other civilian could possibly assert. For example, as a result of these policies, law enforcement officers have the rights to:
- Expunge or destroy records of past misconduct from their disciplinary file. This practice provides a number of obstacles to justice, not the least of which is obstruct the legal system’s ability to prove charges of “pattern and practice” of discrimination.
- Refuse interrogation from anywhere between 48 hours and 10 days after an incident of misconduct. Additionally, police officers must be informed of the complaints and testimony against them before making a statement….
- Prevent the creation of external review organizations including Civilian and Community review boards. In cases where these boards are allowed to organize, they render them ineffective by legislating that they do not have the power to interrogate, subpoena or enforce consequences on law enforcement officers. Further, many contracts include provisions requiring that the Chief of Police has the sole authority to carry out discipline processes.
These efforts have functioned effectively to block accountability and reform efforts generated by the communities, the district attorneys, the state attorney generals, the mayors, and the courts. They also function to let killer cop after killer cop go free with a success rate of 99.9 percent.”
The FOP has spent a lot of time and effort trying to federalize these obstructions. Currently, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, the State and Law Enforcement Discipline and Accountability Due Process Act the Protecting Our Lives by Initiating COPS Expansion Act, and the Blue Lives Matter Act have already made it to Congress.
If Trump is allowed to take office, there will be nothing standing in the way of the passage of these pieces of legislation. If Trump is allowed to take office, everything will stand in the way of those seeking justice in cases of police brutality and those trying to end it nationwide.
Reforms to the Department of Justice
The anti-brutality community has called for increased accountability and transparency through the strengthening of federal powers against state and local law enforcement agencies, the full funding and support necessary for the Department of Justice to carry out these designations and the collection of statistics to monitor police-public interactions with consideration for variables such as race, disability, sexual orientation, religious affiliation and economic status.
The Clinton Campaign supports this call and plans to, “Strengthen the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights violations unit. by Hillary will increase the department’s resources, work to secure the department subpoena power, and improve data collection for pattern or practice investigations.”
Trump has vowed to gut the Department of Justice’s Civil Right’s Division, reorganize its function and revise its core values. This agenda will include pulling back DOJ anti-discrimination actions and limiting the public’s ability to bring charges against law enforcement officers and precincts. Trump also plans to put a stop to the funding and infrastructure needed for the DOJ to fulfill its new promise to increase nationwide data collection on use of force.
In addition to putting an end to the ability of the Department of Justice to prosecute law enforcement officers and agencies, Trump also plans to repurpose the DOJ to serve as an extension of federal protection for law enforcement. If Trump is allowed to take office, there will be even fewer avenues to prosecute abusive law enforcement officers. Worse, the organizations that served to prosecute the police would be turned against the people.
Funding to Increase Control Over Target Communities
Trump has been clear that he will use law enforcement as an extension of his agenda to control, incarcerate and deport people on the basis of their race and religious affiliations. In order to target people of color, Trump is escalating the War on Drugs and increasing support for gang task forces. To target Muslims, he is providing similar funding and support for counterterrorism programs. As part of his pledge to remove barriers to the Keystone Pipeline, law enforcement will be used to remove the sovereign tribes fighting peacefully to save their lands and people at Standing Rock. To support his attack on the immigrant community, Trump promised to triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and create a new task force designed to hunt down and deport them by the millions. If he is allowed to take office, he also pledged to increase funding for US Customs and Border Protections and Immigration and Customs enforcement, and begin the process of mass deportation in his first 100 days. Trump is also an outspoken supporter not only of the racially biased Stop and Frisk policies, but he specifically supports the nationalization of the model that was ruled to be in violation of the Constitution.
If Trump is allowed to take office there will be more officers on the street, increased targeting of communities of color and nothing standing in the way of violence being inflicted on people because of their race by police officers and law enforcement agents nationwide.
The left must organize to prevent Trump from taking the White House. Specifically, the people that will be most brutalized by Trumps policies must come together to stop him from taking office. People of color, poor people, homeless people, people living with disabilities, the LGBTQIA community, non-Christians, those living at the intersections of these identities and those in solidarity must come together to prevent a white nationalist takeover of the White House and the communities under its authority. And those fighting against police brutality should be on the front lines of that fight.
If we do not win the battle against Trump now, there is very little hope that we will be able to protect ourselves and our communities from him, his team of white nationalists and his fully militarized and protected police force once he takes the White House.
If we want to stop police brutality, first we have to stop Trump.