Protests against police brutality have been raging across the United States for days on end, and the Trump administration’s solution seems to hinge on sticking their collective head in the metaphorical sand and pretending that the problems that sparked the protests don’t exist. Staggeringly, during an appearance on CNN this Sunday morning, top Trump adviser Robert O’Brien insisted that he does not think that systemic racism is a problem in U.S. policing. That statement reveals an absolutely staggering level of ignorance about the basic social and political realities in the United States.
They closed the bridge and then started indiscriminately caning us. Hands were up, didn’t go anywhere near them. https://t.co/unndcAXRxT
— Mary Difino (@marydifino) May 31, 2020
Has O’Brien ever read a history book? Has he ever watched the news? Does he know what racism means? These are the kinds of questions sparked by his utter ridiculousness.
He commented to host Jake Tapper:
‘No, I don’t think there’s systemic racism. I think 99.9 percent of our law enforcement officers are great Americans, and many of them are African-American, Hispanic, Asian — they’re working in the toughest neighborhoods. They’ve got the hardest jobs to do in this country, and I think they’re amazing, great Americans, and they’re my heroes. But you know what? There are some bad apples in there. And there are some cops that maybe don’t have the right training, and there are some that are just bad cops, and they need to be rooted out because there’s a few bad apples that are giving law enforcement a terrible name.’
“No, I don’t think there’s systemic racism,” White House National Security adviser Robert O’Brien says about US law enforcement agencies. “There’s a few bad apples that are giving law enforcement a terrible name” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/Tdwo9XfTQ7
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) May 31, 2020
One of the solutions that O’Brien mentioned to the problem of police brutality in the United States is better training. Would better training solve the problems of police brutality that have been captured on film in the last several days alone?
Police have used pepper spray on elected officials (NYC + Ohio), shot rubber bullets at people observing protests from their apartment (LA) and attacked people walking home from the store (Dallas).
A militarized police force will terrorize a community more than any protest. https://t.co/qRbP1OLo4b
— Gabe Gonzalez (@gaybonez) May 31, 2020
In Los Angeles, a reporter was assaulted by an officer. In Louisville, a tv news crew was fired at by a cop who was very obviously aiming right at them, although the rounds were non-lethal. In Minneapolis, within twenty seconds of a huge contingent of cops appearing on a street, the cops began firing non-lethal rounds at people who were just peacefully standing on a front porch. Also in Minneapolis, cops fired rubber bullets at a news crew that was not standing within 500 feet of any protesters and had their credentials and equipment clearly visible.
An LAPD officer hit me in the stomach after I clearly identified myself as a journalist multiple times.
— Lexis-Olivier Ray (@ShotOn35mm) May 30, 2020
It’s almost like, I don’t know, Americans been told several times a week for 3.5 years that reporters are the enemies of the people. https://t.co/Pphx9Xkmx7
— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) May 30, 2020
Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis 👇 https://t.co/wZfOAKyxuy
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 31, 2020
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) May 31, 2020
The list goes on and on and on. And these are just the incidents that have been captured on camera. And O’Brien has the gall to insist that there’s no systemic racism in the United States policing system, when each and every one of these incidents have unfolded under the cover of a green light given to cops to go after Americans amidst outcry over a police murder of an unarmed black man named George Floyd in Minneapolis, whose death sparked the latest round of tumult.
It seems fair to conclude that we are watching a coast-to-coast riot by police officers https://t.co/amFukHW9nA
— dan solomon (@dansolomon) May 31, 2020
As for the way forward, one of the cops involved in Floyd’s murder has been criminally charged, but his three accomplices have yet to face any repercussions other than getting fired from the local police force. They all felt free to stand on and watch as cop Derek Chauvin led Floyd’s murder — but O’Brien insists that there’s no systemic racism in the U.S. police force. Incredible.
Firing rubber bullets indiscriminantly isn’t “de-escalation.”
Throwing tear gas and flash bangs isn’t “crowd control.”
Marching in phallanx dressed for war isn’t “keeping the peace.”
So let’s be clear about your goal here, officers.
You don’t want peace.
You want submission.
— David Slack (@slack2thefuture) May 31, 2020