Police Brutality in Trump’s America

Progressive American’s were shocked at the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election, as his campaign was marked with racism and entitlement guised as a populist message. Trumps victory demonstrated that racism, disrespect, and ultra-conservative thinking were far more common in the U.S. than many had understood. The poor, under-educated, and under-represented can expect 4 years of assaults on welfare programs, progressive movements, and intersectionality. Though these concerns are serious, perhaps a more threatening reality of the Trump presidency is that Americans with underlying racism have been emboldened by his success. The legitimization of bias and hate by placing a racist, misogynistic fool in the Oval Office opens the door for minorities to suffer increases in discrimination, intimidation, and hate crimes. The post-election spike in incidents where minorities have been harassed has been well documented, but how has Trump’s ascension into office affected the more institutionalized forms of bias and racism in this country? During his campaign, Trump said “We have to give power back to the police,” in response to a question regarding the #BlackLivesMatter movement. At a time when the murder of unarmed black men by white officers was nearly a weekly reality, his response was entirely out of touch with the concerns of African Americans and the BLM movement. The Trump campaign was backed by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), one of the largest and most conservative police unions in America. The FOP “has largely been unwilling to reprimand officers who’ve killed black people,” and represents the hardliner traditional view of police as above the law. Remember, this group is a staunch Trump backer. Trump’s business dealings are filled with examples of him repaying loyalty with kickbacks, so we must be wary of what preferential treatment police officers, particularly FOP members, might benefit from in the next 4 years. While this isn’t to say that Trump will be direct in showing his favoritism towards police over people, he certainly has the power to abet unethical or discriminatory officer conduct. This is a shaky time for American Police, and the President’s discretion to order special investigations carries a lot of weight. Inaction where other presidents would order an inquiry may prove to be Trump’s biggest weapon against minorities in their struggle for fair policing. 105 Americans were killed by police officers in the first 30 days of Trump’s Presidency, the highest number in any one month period since 2015. This may be an indication of a dangerous new era in American policing where effective oversight and accountability from the highest Executive office in the nation is reduced or even non-existent. The “amplified” nature of police power under Trump may continue to exacerbate tensions between law enforcement and the communities they serve. “Police departments are arguably becoming both increasingly powerful and increasingly unaccountable” and if the President chooses to ignore that trend we may see even more Americans die unnecessary deaths at the end of a service pistol.








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