Donald J. Trump is the “lyingiest” president in the history of the United States—and he earned that distinction in less than eleven months in office. According to the Washington Post, President Trump told at least 1,698 lies or misleading claims during his first 298 days in office.
For example, at a memorial for fallen officers at the Capitol in May 2017, Trump made this false and terribly misleading claim about police officers killed in the line of duty:
“We are living through an era in which our police have been subject to unfair defamation and vilification, and even worse … hostility and violence,” Trump said. “More officers were slain last year in ambushes than in any year in more than two decades.”
The only truth in that statement is that, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, 21 of the 64 police officers shot and killed in 2016 died in ambush style attacks—the most over the last two decades.
Trump Vilifies Top Law Enforcement Agency
Trump himself was the director of the choir in “unfair defamation and vilification” of the FBI—the nation’s premier law enforcement agency—throughout 2017, not mention his continuous efforts to undermine and de-value the nation’s 17 intelligence-gathering agencies.
Officers Killed in Duty Lowest in 50 Years
What Trump has not spoken to is that the number of police officers feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2017 decreased to 46, according to the Huffington Post. This represents the second lowest total of officers killed in the line of duty over the past 50 years, according to USAToday.
The self-proclaimed “chief law enforcement officer” in the nation has also failed to address the alarming number of people killed by law enforcement. Statista.com places the number of fatal shootings by the police in 2017 at 815: 392 white, 191 black, 159 Hispanic, 29 other, and 44 unknown. As of December 31, 2017, the Washington Post placed the number at 976.
Police Kill Black Men at Higher Rate than Murder Rate
Mapping Police Violence put the number even higher—1129 fatal police shootings as of December 31, 2017. This site revealed that blacks are three times more likely than whites to be fatally shot by the police, and that roughly 30 percent of the black people killed are unarmed. More alarming is that 13 of the nation’s police departments kill black men at a higher rate than the nation’s murder rate, and 99 percent of these shootings do not result in a conviction for any crime.
The Guardian tracked 1093 fatal police shootings in 2017 with Kern County, California holding the dubious distinction of killing more people per capita than any other county in the U.S. and also having a clearly established reputation as one of the most corrupt law enforcement counties in the country.
The nation’s police departments appeared to have declared war on the American underclass. This is not an idle, over-the-top criticism of the police who are supposed to protect and serve the citizens in this country. It’s an observation made by a most unlikely group: the nation’s war veterans.
War on Black, Poor Communities
In the wake of the militarized assault on Ferguson, Missouri citizens protesting the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, veterans took to twitter comparing the tactical gear and weaponry employed by the Ferguson Police Department to the gear they used in combat zones.
University of California at Berkley political science professor Benjamin Krupicka in a 2015 paper titled “Police Militarization in the United States” made these observations about the police invasion of the black community in Ferguson:
“Kelsey D. Atherton of Popular Science for a ‘Veterans on Ferguson’ project add support to a general critique of police actions like those in Ferguson claiming that while American police departments may now possess military-grade weaponry and equipment and in some cases receive training from military personnel, the aggressive actions on display in Ferguson were not only inappropriate in the context of domestic law enforcement, but were actively escalating and worsening an already volatile situation. Indeed, questions concerning an increase in militarism within domestic policing, alongside yet distinct from criticisms of excessive force or institutional biases, are being asked increasingly in the public and political spheres.”
Trump Lifts Ban on Militarization of Police
In the wake of the violence exhibited by the Ferguson police, President Obama signed an executive order banning the use of military-grade weapons and military-style equipment by the nation’s police departments. Eight months into his term President Trump signed an order lifting the ban on police securing and employing military weaponry and equipment to control the American citizenry.
Military weapons—including armored personnel carriers, assault weapons, submachine guns, flashbang grenades, grenade launchers, and sniper rifles—and militarized SWAT teams are not designed to “protect and serve” American citizenry. This type of militarized policing has one, and only one, objective: to control and wage war, if necessary, on the American underclass to “protect and serve” the rich and powerful ruling class, like the Koch Brothers, the Mercer Family, Peter Thiel, and all of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago golfing buddies.
Trump Supports Freedom in Iran But Not at Home
The cruel irony is that while President Trump tweets support for the civil disobedience and street protests currently underway in Iran, he would not only encourage but demand that the police use all its militarized resources to quash the same kind of protests in the streets of the United States.
In 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama, civil rights icon Martin Luther King said of his civil rights movement: “We believe in law and order. We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. If I am stopped, our work will not stop, for what we are doing is right.”
Dr. King was gunned down in April 1968 by an avowed white supremacist named James Earl Ray who is a hero in the white nationalist movement now spreading across this country and which has been spoken of admiringly by none other than the current President of the United States. President Trump enjoys taking pictures in front of a portrait of former President Andrew Jackson—on of the most, if not the most, racist presidents in the history of this nation—and with the White House intern flashing a “white power” sign and the president’s daughter casually taking a picture with a confederate flag in the background.
One law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty is too many.
But the countless unnecessary fatal shootings of unarmed American citizens are also too many.
Violence begets violence, as Dr. King instructed in 1958. That remains true sixty years later.