Trump Says It’s Time To Give Police Permission ‘To Go And Counter-Attack’

Cops aren’t tough enough, GOP nom says.

Donald Trump speaking at a campaign rally in Akron, OH, on Monday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
Donald Trump speaking at a campaign rally in Akron, OH, on Monday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Ask the black and brown people who are on the receiving end of American policing’s systemic physical and psychological violence for solutions, and you’ll get a variety of specific policy proposals. Activists from the Movement for Black Lives have put out a 10-point plan for reforming America’s police departments, each component of which is built on specific actionable ideas.

Ask Donald Trump, and he’ll tell you it’s police who are oppressed — and the solution is to give them permission “to go and counter-attack.”

In an interview with Bill O’Reilly Monday night, the Republican presidential nominee repeatedly claimed that electing him president would restore order and civility to city streets practically overnight. But when pressed by a friendly interviewer for specific plans, Trump had only one.

“Your tone is pro-police. How do you stop the bad guys from attacking them?” O’Reilly asked.

“By giving them back your spirit and by allowing them to go and counter-attack,” Trump said.

Trump piped into O’Reilly’s show from Akron, Ohio, but much of the men’s conversation centered on Chicago. Trump said he’d spoken with an unnamed officer there who promised that if he were in charge, he’d have Chicago’s violence licked inside of a week.

“But he didn’t tell you exactly, precisely how? Because that’s what people wanna know,” O’Reilly said.

“No. And I didn’t ask him,” Trump said. “I’m sure he’s got a strategy. I didn’t ask him his strategy.”

The key to fixing that city, where police are currently under federal investigation after a string of high-profile corruption scandals, cover-ups, and killings, is “being very much tougher than they are right now,” Trump said. “They’re right now not tough.”

Trump: I Would Intentionally Kill Families To Defeat ISIS – ThinkProgressRepublican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump defended his proposal to kill the family members of ISIS terrorists on…thinkprogress.orgThe family of Laquan McDonald might disagree. The officer who shot their son more than a dozen times as he walked away holding a knife is facing murder charges two years later, after an attempted cover-up by fellow officers fell apart in the face of video evidence. The city’s top cop has recommended firing seven officers who aided the cover-up, after the city’s Inspector General said 10 deserved to be canned.

Rekia Boyd’s survivors might take issue too. The 22-year-old was killed by an off-duty Chicago cop who shot her in the back of the head after telling her friends the group was being too loud and provoking an argument.

The 7,000 people whom Chicago police dragged to a secret interrogation house between 2004 and 2015 might also disagree. The Homan Square detention center was a modern rehash of the old-school toughness that Chicago cops deployed throughout the 1970s and 1980s, when interrogating a suspect on the South Side meant beating him with a hose or administering electric shocks until he “confessed.” In both cases, the Chicago police force’s victims were overwhelmingly black.

It’s not just Chicago, of course.

Since the mid-1990s, at least 16 police departments around the country have been forced to accept federal consent decrees, the strictest mode of oversight and forced reform available to national officials. Dozens more have been targeted for federal investigations, in every corner of the United States.

Police continue to kill hundreds of people each year, scores of them unarmed at the time they are shot down. The number of Americans forced to live with the psychic violence of routine harassment for standing on street corners or talking back to officers is likely in the tens of millions.

Attacks on police are almost surprisingly rare considering how widespread we now know police abuse to be. While murderers ambushed officers this summer in Dallas and Baton Rouge, policing continues to be a surprisingly safe profession. Conservative media figures and the Trump campaign itself continues to hype an imaginary ‘war on cops’ that defies all evidence. Most officers who die on duty are killed in car crashes, not violence perpetrated by others.

There is a massive gap in public opinions about policing. Half of all white people surveyed by Pew this spring said black people are treated less fairly by police, compared to 84 percent of black people surveyed. The same poll found double-digit gaps between the two groups on support for and understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement. Gallup surveys over the past three years suggest a similar yawning divide on overall trust in police officers.

But on two specific ideas often promoted by police reform groups including the Movement for Black Lives, there is bipartisan consensus. Nearly four out of five conservatives want to require police to wear body cameras, and more than three in four of them agree that police misconduct should be investigated by independent prosecutors rather than local officials with muddled motives.