TBR News June 5, 2020

Jun 05 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. June 5, 2020: Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not
the place to discuss it.

Comment for June 5, 2020: “Trump’s support base is rapidly shrinking to the very far right who long for a all-white Christian country where everyone can carry automatic and semi-automatic weapons to parties, church and school. And second, he has the support of manic evangelicals who believe that Jesus is coming very soon and like the first group, want to rid America of gays, dark-skinned peoples and non-Christians. Many of these support Israel because they believe Jesus will return when the Israeli’s kill off all the Arab residents and blow up their mosques. Fortunately, these fanatics cannot alone reelect Trump as King of America and he is so enraging the general population as to cast him into outer darkness in November. Let us pray.”

Trump approval rating
June 1-2, 2020
Ipsos Poll

Approve    Disapprove
39%         56%

The Table of Contents
Here are all the current and former military leaders blasting Trump’s response to nationwide protests
• The killing of George Floyd: US firms take a stand
• How Protests Over George Floyd’s Killing Exposed Trump as a Lame-Duck Authoritarian
• George Floyd: Videos of police brutality during protests shock US
• Police brutality in the United States

Here are all the current and former military leaders blasting Trump’s response to nationwide protests
June 4, 2020
by Jared Keller
Since the earliest days of his presidency, President Donald Trump has showered “his generals” with an absurd amount of adoration, transforming America’s military brass from mere advisors to symbols of legitimacy and trust within his administration.
But in the protests that have followed the death of unarmed African-American man George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer — and Trump’s subsequent threats to deploy the military to quell protests nationwide — the president’s implicit reliance on generals appears weakened as military leaders speak out and contradict the president’s message of force.
In recent days, several generals from past administrations have spoken out strongly against both Trump personally and the approach his administration has taken to the violence that has rocked in recent days, from current Defense Secretary Mark Esper referring to American cities as “battle space” to Trump’s demand that governors use the National Guard to “dominate” protestors in their states.
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis:
Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society.
This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.
Since the earliest days of his presidency, President Donald Trump has showered “his generals” with an absurd amount of adoration, transforming America’s military brass from mere advisors to symbols of legitimacy and trust within his administration.
But in the protests that have followed the death of unarmed African-American man George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer — and Trump’s subsequent threats to deploy the military to quell protests nationwide — the president’s implicit reliance on generals appears weakened as military leaders speak out and contradict the president’s message of force.
In recent days, several generals from past administrations have spoken out strongly against both Trump personally and the approach his administration has taken to the violence that has rocked in recent days, from current Defense Secretary Mark Esper referring to American cities as “battle space” to Trump’s demand that governors use the National Guard to “dominate” protestors in their states.
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen:
It sickened me yesterday to see security personnel—including members of the National Guard—forcibly and violently clear a path through Lafayette Square to accommodate the president’s visit outside St. John’s Church. I have to date been reticent to speak out on issues surrounding President Trump’s leadership, but we are at an inflection point, and the events of the past few weeks have made it impossible to remain silent.
Whatever Trump’s goal in conducting his visit, he laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country, gave succor to the leaders of other countries who take comfort in our domestic strife, and risked further politicizing the men and women of our armed forces.
Retired Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis:
Our active duty military must remain above the fray of domestic politics, and the best way to do that is to keep that force focused on its rightful mission outside the United States. Our senior active duty military leaders must make that case forcefully and directly to national leadership, speaking truth to power in uncomfortable ways. They must do this at the risk of their career. I hope they will do so, and not allow the military to be dragged into the maelstrom that is ahead of us, and which will likely only accelerate between now and November. If they do not stand and deliver on this vital core value, I fear for the soul of our military and all of the attendant consequences. We cannot afford to have a future Lafayette Square end up looking like Tiananmen Square.
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey:
America’s military, our sons and daughters, will place themselves at risk to protect their fellow citizens. Their job is unimaginably hard overseas; harder at home. Respect them, for they respect you. America is not a battleground. Our fellow citizens are not the enemy.
Former Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller:
I cannot get out my mind the lack of emotion on the faces of the officers as Mr. Floyd said repeatedly, ‘I can’t breathe.’ And all this transpiring while others called out for the officers to let him up, though none physically intervened.
At the same time, it is with some understanding but again sadness I watch the destruction of neighborhoods in our Nation as demonstrators, most local citizens, but including some professional agitators, express their anger and frustration over another killing of a black man by police that, to the great majority of Americans it was clear, did not have to die. At the same time some violate the law by attacking police, looting and burning businesses in their communities, many of which are unlikely to return or rebuild. You are justifiably angry.
Former U.S. Special Operations Command Gen. Raymond A. Thomas:
The “battle space” of America??? Not what America needs to hear…ever, unless we are invaded by an adversary or experience a constitutional failure…ie a Civil War…
Former U.S. Forces-Afghanistan commander Gen. John Allen:
The slide of the United States into illiberalism may well have begun on June 1, 2020. Remember the date. It may well signal the beginning of the end of the American experiment.
Within the administration, other generals and military leaders have spoken out both against racism and policy brutality and to reaffirm their commitment to upholding the constitutional rights of citizens regardless of their orders.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville:
Every Soldier and Department of the Army Civilian swears an oath to support and defend the Constitution. That includes the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. We will continue to support and defend those rights, and we will continue to protect Americans, whether from enemies of the United States overseas, from COVID-19 at home, or from violence in our communities that threatens to drown out the voices begging us to listen. To Army leaders of all ranks, listen to your people, but don’t wait for them to come to you. Go to them. Ask the uncomfortable questions. Lead with compassion and humility, and create an environment in which people feel comfortable expressing grievances. Let us be the first to set the example. We are listening. And we will continue to put people first as long as we are leading the Army. Because people are our greatest strength
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday:
First right now, I think we need to listen. We have black Americans in our Navy and in our communities that are in deep pain right now. They are hurting. I’ve received emails, and I know it’s not a good situation. I know that for many of them, they may not have somebody to talk to. I ask you to consider reaching out, have a cup of coffee, have lunch, and just listen.
The second thing I would ask you to consider in the Navy we talk a lot about treating people with dignity and respect – in fact, we demand it. It’s one of the things that makes us a great Navy and one of the things that makes me so proud of all of you every single day. But over the past week, after we’ve watched what is going on, we can’t be under any illusions about the fact that racism is alive and well in our country. And I can’t be under any illusions that we don’t have it in our Navy.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein:
Every American should be outraged that the conduct exhibited by police in Minneapolis can still happen in 2020. We all wish it were not possible for racism to occur in America … but it does, and we are at a moment where we must confront what is.”
[W]hat happens on America’s streets is also resident in our Air Force … Sometimes it’s explicit, sometimes it’s subtle, but we are not immune to the spectrum of racial prejudice, systemic discrimination, and unconscious bias. We see this in the apparent inequity in our application of military justice.
We will not shy away from this … As leaders and as Airmen, we will own our part and confront it head on.
National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Joseph Lengyel:
I am sickened by the death of George Floyd. I am horrified his six year old daughter will grow up without a father. And I am enraged that this story—of George Floyd, of Philando Castile, of Trayvon Martin, and too many others—keeps happening in our country, where unarmed men and women of color are the victims of police brutality and extrajudicial violence.
Everyone who wears the uniform of our country takes an oath to uphold the Constitution and everything for which it stands. If we are to fulfill our obligation as service members, as Americans, and as decent human beings, we have to take our oath seriously. We cannot tolerate racism, discrimination, or casual violence. We cannot abide divisiveness and hate. We cannot stand by and watch. We ask for the intercession of what Abraham Lincoln called ‘the better angels of our nature.’ Join me.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley:
We all committed our lives to the idea that is America. We will stay true to that oath and the American people.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper:
With great sympathy, I want to extend the deepest of condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd from me and the department. Racism is real in America and we must all do our very best to recognize it, to confront it, and to eradicate it.

I say this not only as secretary of defense but also as a former soldier and a former member of the National Guard: The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort – and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.

The killing of George Floyd: US firms take a stand
Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, many US companies have declared their solidarity with protesters. But how serious is their support? Sabrina Kessler reports from New York.
June 5, 2020
by Sabrina Kessler (New York)
Protests in the wake of the death of 46-year-old black man George Floyd are in full swing across the United States. Thousands of Americans have taken to the streets to condemn police violence and racism. It’s not just private individuals raising their voices for more justice. They’ve increasingly been supported by US companies.
“Racism continues to be at the root of so much pain and ugliness in our society — from the streets of Minneapolis to the disparities inflicted by COVID-19,” said Citigroup CFO Mark Mason in a corporate blog.
The 50-year-old is among the few black Americans who’ve made it to the top of a global enterprise. African-Americans head just three of the 500 largest US companies, according to Boston Consulting. One of them is Kenneth Frazier, who’s been at the helm of pharmaceuticals giant Merck for nine years.
“Our society is more divided than it’s ever been,” he said in an interview for CNBC. Mason and Frazier are not the only US entrepreneurs taking a clear stance on what happened to George Floyd.
No lack of response
The list of those commenting on the incident is long. Besides Starbucks, BlackRock, Nike and JPMorgan, the conservative Disney empire has also come out in support of the protests.
“We stand with our fellow black employees, storytellers, creators and the entire black community. We must unite and speak out,” the company said.
Reebok, Twitter and Netflix have also taken sides with the protesters. Twitter changed the color of its logo from blue to black adding the hashtag #blacklivesmatter, while Netflix commented: “To be silent is to be complicit.” Reebok for its part had this to say to its customers: “We are not asking you to buy our shoes. We are asking you to walk in someone else’s.”
In response to Floyd’s killing, dating app Grindr deleted its “skin color” search filter. Carmaker General Motors pledged to create more inclusive workplaces and enhance in-house diversity. In a similar vein, Universal Music is setting up a task force to remove obstacles standing in the way of more diversity in the company.
Polishing corporate image
Wendy Melillo, a full-time professor of journalism at Washington’s American University, says there’s a reason why so many US companies have joined the debate about police violence and racism. Taking a stance improves your corporate image, she argues, as more and more customers expect firms to show a sense of social responsibility.
“This is an important change that’s happened in American society,” Melillo said. “Many companies actually have a strategy about how to approach these needs.” Companies such as Kellogg’s or Apple have actually been releasing special social responsibility reports for years now in addition to their regular earnings reports.
But sometimes corporate attempts to display solidarity backfire. Take Louis Vuitton chief Virgil Abloh, who donated the meager sum of $50 (€45) to an anti-racism organization and soon saw himself confronted with a major backlash.
Melillo believes that retail chain Nordstrom, itself a victim of recent lootings, has also put its foot in its mouth. “Nordstrom put out a vague message in which they said ‘we are continuing having conversations about racial injustice.'”
“Where is the action message, the will to change something,” the professor asked, adding that debates about racism had yielded little, with society at large not really changing. Rhetoric had to be turned into action finally, Melillo urged.
Will money do the trick?
The Bank of America announced earlier this week it will allocate $1 billion over the next four years to help black people become self-employed or find better jobs and accommodation. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged $10 million for organizations fighting racial discrimination. Sephora donated over $1 million to civil rights organization NAACP.
Keni Thacker, who’s in charge of a pro-people-of-color network called “100 Roses from Concrete” says such activities are little more than opportunist corporate attempts.
“This money, these campaigns, this sympathy won’t change society,” he warned, adding that racism had been around for hundreds of years in the US, and no money had ever been able to make it go away. “And suddenly, everybody is pretending to care about us black people.”
‘Just a PR stunt’
Thacker said a brief look at global boardrooms revealed how hypocritical the whole debate was. Instead of pursuing a proactive policy, US firms always reacted to something bad happening, Thacker noted. And now, he added, they wanted to make headlines with generous donations. “That’s just a PR stunt.”
Wendy Melillo concedes, though, that some companies are more serious about fighting racism than others. She cited Nike as a positive example, saying the company had long been known for its unambiguous stance and just changed its slogan “Just do it” to “For once, don’t do it!”
Just like retailer Target, Nike has become the target of massive lootings in recent days.
“Standing strong although stores are being targeted — that’s a way to respond in an authentic way,” Melillo concluded.

How Protests Over George Floyd’s Killing Exposed Trump as a Lame-Duck Authoritarian
June 4, 2020
by Murtaza Hussain
The Intercept
President Donald Trump’s strange political success has been powered from the start by a wildly effective campaign of image-building. In his public persona, Trump has consistently projected himself as a budding strongman, reveling in authoritarian threats calculated to thrill his supporters and terrify his opponents.
The outbreak of an unprecedented national protest movement triggered by the police killing of George Floyd seemed like it could be the moment that Trump finally delivered on these terrible promises. Those who fear Trump braced for their worst nightmares to become reality. Those who support him and took seriously his authoritarian promises likely felt the long-awaited moment of rapture finally drawing near.
Instead of Trump’s full tyrant mode coming to pass, though, something more nuanced happened: Neither side is having their expectations met. This in-between outcome may be toxic for Trump, especially as the 2020 election approaches. As any authoritarian knows, a real strongman needs to govern either through love or fear. Trump has done neither. His prevaricating yet cruel response succeeded in making him look tyrannical and weak at the same time — a potentially fatal mix for any leader.
For those expecting a crushing response to a national uprising, Trump’s extreme statements gave plenty of reason for either hope or fear. The problem for Trump is that, even as his threats get more severe, he seems unable to match them with effective action. He certainly has not made any concessions to the protests — demonstrators have been jailed, beaten, and even killed — but he is also not capable of utterly crushing them like an actual authoritarian would. There has been no order for a general massacre of demonstrators. The institutions of democracy have not been unilaterally dissolved by presidential decree in the name of security.
Rather than strong and menacing, Trump seems to be checkmated. Even the military establishment he has done so much to flatter seems to be turning on him.
In his notorious photo-op in front of a church, where he awkwardly brandished a Bible to signal his evangelical supporters to come to his rescue, Trump didn’t look decisive; he looked desperate. And it didn’t work: The move was even rebuked by Republican senators.
At the cost of real suffering, then, the protesters may have already won a major achievement. If Trump’s proto-fascist political persona was an idol, they’ve smashed it to pieces with a sledgehammer. Put to the real test, Trump’s reaction has been the worst of both worlds for his political career. He responded to the uprising with enough brutality to outrage his opponents, but not enough to truly suppress them and satisfy his base.
The situation is still fluid, and things could take an uglier turn. But the way events are going, the protests that went all the way to the gates of the White House look like they’ve finally pulled back the curtain on Trump’s fascist cosplay. What the unrelenting demonstrations revealed is less a dictator-in-waiting than a con artist – a man who was never actually capable of living up to his most chilling threats. Though he has certainly inflicted massive damage in office — think, for instance, of the families that continue to be ripped apart by his brutal immigration policies or killed in his foreign wars — when put to the test, Trump has been shown as a strongman without any real strength. Even the Wizard of Oz didn’t have such a devastating reveal.
On Tuesday, Trump began publicly hemorrhaging the support of a U.S. military establishment to which he had gone to cringeworthy lengths to attach himself. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and National Guard Chief Gen. Joseph Lengyel all issued public statements undermining the sitting president. In a press conference, Esper publicly broke with Trump over the use of armed troops to quell protests, while Lengyel issued a statement on social media last night subtly chastising the government for its response to the protests.
The most dramatic blow, however, came from Mattis. A man with a deeply checkered record himself, Mattis took the unprecedented move of openly condemning a president that he had served just two years earlier. “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try,” Mattis wrote in a statement given yesterday evening to The Atlantic. The retired general didn’t say explicitly what should be done but suggestively concluded, “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”
Whether due to institutional constraints, personal weakness, or a combination of both, it is looking like Trump was never actually capable of living up to his rhetoric. The disillusionment for those who support him is potentially great, since Trump really does talk like an authoritarian, routinely making hair-raising threats of violence or draconian policy measures, and even encouraging his supporters to take things into their own hands.
Despite being exposed as a phony, many of his voters will likely stick with Trump as a lesser evil compared with his liberal and leftist opponents. But, barring a dramatic reversal of events, his aura of strength has been shattered. Time and again, Trump set the bar for fascist expectations to the highest levels. Mercifully, he seems utterly incapable of actually meeting them.
To be clear, everyone in the United States should be deeply relieved if Trump leaves office in November having turned out to be a lame-duck strongman. But we should not become complacent until that happens. Should something shift in his thinking, or if more extreme members of the administration get into positions of power, he might still end up delivering the real authoritarianism that many of his supporters are clearly craving. There are real risks in the coming months, amid the continued pain of the coronavirus pandemic, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and an uncertain election. No one should rest easy, even if we get through the immediate crisis.
For now, one thing people might celebrate out of these protests, in addition to ensuring serious charges are leveled at the officers involved in killing George Floyd, is destroying the powerful myth Trump built for himself years ago – the one that carried him all the way to the presidential office. Like so many people around the world who like to talk tough on social media, Trump built an image for himself intended to intimidate others. When the people he was threatening finally showed up to his door however, he did exactly what it was always in him to do: He hid.

George Floyd: Videos of police brutality during protests shock US
June 5, 2020
BBC News
Several videos of police brutality have emerged during protests over the death of African American George Floyd.
In Buffalo, New York State, two officers were suspended after they were seen shoving an elderly white man to the ground.
And in New York City, police were captured on video roughly handling demonstrators as they ran away.
The reports come hours after a memorial for Floyd in Minneapolis, the city where he died at the hands of police.
His killing, also captured on video, has caused outrage and sparked a wave of protests against racial discrimination and police treatment of African Americans in cities across the US and the world.
The vast majority of demonstrations over the past eight days have been peaceful but some have descended into violence and rioting, with curfews imposed in a number of cities.
In a separate development, police in Arizona released details of the killing of another African American, Dion Johnson, in Phoenix on 25 May, the same day as Floyd.
Johnson was shot dead by state troopers after being found “passed out in the driver’s seat” of a car which was partially blocking traffic, a police statement said.
“During the trooper’s contact with the suspect, there was a struggle and the trooper fired his service weapon striking the suspect,” police said.
The statement was only released after Johnson’s family was offered audio of the police dispatch and transportation department video of the incident.
What do the videos show?
The Buffalo video shows a 75-year-old man approach police officers enforcing a curfew. They then move forward, pushing him back and causing him to fall over and hit his head.
As he lies on the ground, blood is seen pouring from his ear.
The man was taken away in an ambulance and was later found to have suffered a severe head injury.
An initial statement from Buffalo Police Department said the man had “tripped” and fallen during a “skirmish involving protesters”, compounding outrage at the incident on social media.
Police spokesman Jeff Rinaldo later attributed the statement to officers not directly involved in the incident, adding that when the video had emerged the two policemen who pushed the demonstrator had been suspended without pay.
On the same evening, a delivery driver in New York City was arrested 27 minutes after the city’s curfew had started, despite being a key worker exempt from the curfew.
And in the Williamsburg area of the city, police were filmed charging demonstrators, throwing at least one person to the ground.
Other videos showed a man lying on the ground bleeding from the head, and being arrested.
How have the authorities responded?
On Thursday New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo defended police, saying they were not beating citizens “for no reason”, and if they did “it’s wrong”.
City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the authorities were “doing everything from a perspective of restraint”.
But both men have since condemned the incidents which emerged overnight.
In a tweet, Mr Cuomo described the Buffalo incident as “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful”.
“Police officers must enforce – NOT ABUSE – the law,” he said.
Meanwhile Mayor de Blasio said he had complained to the city police department after seeing the video of the arrest of the delivery worker.
What is the background?
The incidents happened as police enforced curfews in dozens of cities across the US after a wave of protests sparked by George Floyd’s death.
Floyd, 46, was stopped by police investigating the purchase of cigarettes with counterfeit money on 25 May in Minneapolis.
A video showed him being arrested and a white police officer continuing to kneel on his neck for several minutes even after he pleaded that he could not breathe.

Police brutality in the United States
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

March 7, 1965: Alabama police attack the Selma-to-Montgomery Marchers on “Bloody Sunday”
Police brutality is the use of excessive and/or unnecessary force by personnel affiliated with law enforcement duties when dealing with suspects and civilians. The term is also applied to abuses by corrections personnel in municipal, state and federal penal facilities including military prisons. Highly publicized incidents of police misconduct have adverse effects not only on the victims of abuse but also on public perceptions of the police departments implicated in the incident. As of 2002, the magnitude and longevity of such effects have rarely been investigated.[1]
While the term police brutality is usually applied in the context of causing physical harm to a person, it may also involve psychological harm through the use of intimidation tactics beyond the scope of officially sanctioned police procedure. In the past, those who engaged in police brutality may have acted with the implicit approval of the local legal system, e.g. during the Civil Rights Movement era. In the modern era, individuals who engage in police brutality may do so with the tacit approval of their superiors or they may be rogue officers. In either case, they may perpetrate their actions under color of law and, more often than not, engage in a subsequent cover-up of their illegal activity. The US legal doctrine of qualified immunity has been widely criticized as “[having] become a nearly failsafe tool to let police brutality go unpunished and deny victims their constitutional rights” (as summarized in a 2020 Reuters report).[2]
The word brutality has several meanings; the sense used here (savage cruelty) was first used in 1633.[3] The term police brutality has been in use since at least 1833 when it appeared in the London paper The Poor Man’s Guardian.[4]
Efforts to combat police brutality focus on various aspects of the police subculture, and the aberrant psychology which may manifest itself when individuals are placed in a position of absolute authority over others.[5] Specific suggestions for how to decrease the occurrence of police brutality include body cameras and civilian review boards.
The Federal government attempted tracking the number of people killed in interactions with US police, but the program was defunded.[6]
Civil Rights Movement era
The Civil Rights Movement was the target of numerous incidents of police brutality in its struggle for justice and racial equality, notably during the Birmingham campaign of 1963–64 and during the Selma to Montgomery marches of 1965. Media coverage of the brutality sparked national outrage, and public sympathy for the movement grew rapidly as a result. Martin Luther King Jr. criticized police brutality in speeches. During this time, the Black Panther Party formed in response to police brutality from disproportionately white police departments that were perceived as oppressing black communities.[7] The conflict between the Black Panther Party and various police departments often resulted in violence with the deaths of 34 members of the Black Panther Party[8] and 15 police officers.[9]
The Civil Rights Movement was also targeted by the FBI in a program called COINTELPRO. Under this program, the FBI would use undercover agents to create violence and chaos within nationalist groups. The police would harm organizers and assassinate leaders like Mark Clark and Fred Hampton for example, who were killed in a 1969 FBI raid in Chicago.[10]
In the United States, race and accusations of police brutality continue to be closely linked, and the phenomenon has sparked a string of race riots over the years. Especially notable among these incidents was the uprising caused by the arrest and beating of Rodney King on March 3, 1991, by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. The atmosphere was particularly volatile because the brutality had been videotaped by a civilian and widely broadcast afterwards. When the four law enforcement officers charged with assault and other violations were acquitted, the 1992 Los Angeles Riots broke out.
Anti-war demonstrations
During the Vietnam War, anti-war demonstrations were sometimes quelled through the use of billy clubs and tear gas. The most notorious of these assaults took place during the August 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The actions of the police were later described as a “police riot” in the Walker Report to the U.S. National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence.[11]
War on drugs
As was the case with Prohibition during the 1920s and 1930s, the “War on Drugs” initiated by President Richard M. Nixon in 1969 was marked by increased police misconduct. War on drugs policing – notably stop and frisk and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams – has contributed to police brutality, especially targeting minority communities.[12]
The war on drugs has been seen as responsible for police misconduct towards Blacks and Hispanics. While middle and upper middle class Whites use more drugs, police have focused more on communities of color.[10]
Specifically, the use of stop and frisk tactics by police have increased towards Blacks and Hispanics. In looking at data from New York in the early 2000s up to 2014, people who had committed no offense made up 82% to 90% of those who were stopped and frisked. Of those people stopped, only 9% to 12% were White. People who were stopped saw these police actions as psychological violence. These included police using insults against those being stopped. Stop and frisk tactics caused people to worry about being outside because of the fear of being harassed.[12]
SWAT teams have been used more frequently in drug possession situations. SWAT teams can be armed with weapons like diversionary grenades. In cases where SWAT teams were used, only 35% of the time were drugs found in peoples’ homes. Blacks and Hispanics are often the targets of these raids.[12]
Post 9/11
After the attacks of September 11, 2001, human rights observers raised concerns about increased police brutality in the U.S. An extensive report prepared for the United Nations Human Rights Committee, published in 2006, stated that in the U.S. the “War on Terror” “created a generalized climate of impunity for law enforcement officers, and contributed to the erosion of what few accountability mechanisms exist for civilian control over law enforcement agencies. As a result, police brutality and abuse persist unabated and undeterred across the country.”[13] During the “war on terror,” there has been noted increases in enforcement power for officers. By 2007, discussion on the appropriateness of using racial profiling and force against people of color has decreased since 9/11.[13] Racial profiling specifically increased for those of South Asians, Arabs, Middle Eastern and Muslim origins.[13] An example of increased use of police use of force has been in the use of TASERS. From 2001 to 2007, at least 150 deaths were attributed to TASERS and many injuries occurred. People of color have been the main people who have been targeted the most with regards to increased TASER use.[13]
A decision by the House and the Senate in Hawaii was expected in May 2014 after police agreed in March 2014 not to oppose the revision of a law that was implemented in the 1970s, allowing undercover police officers to engage in sexual relations with sex workers during the course of investigations. (A similar program in the UK resulted in physical and emotional abuse of victims, and children born without fathers when the undercover operation ended; see UK undercover policing relationships scandal). Following initial protest from supporters of the legislation, all objections were retracted on March 25, 2014. A Honolulu police spokeswoman informed Time magazine that, at the time of the court’s decision, no reports had been made in regard to the abuse of the exemption by police, while a Hawaiian senator stated to journalists: “I suppose that in retrospect the police probably feel somewhat embarrassed about this whole situation.” However, the Pacifica Alliance to Stop Slavery and other advocates affirmed their knowledge of police brutality in this area and explained that the fear of retribution is the main deterrent for sex workers who seek to report offending officers. At a Hawaiian Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, also in March 2014, an attorney testified that his client was raped three times by Hawaiian police before prostitution was cited as the reason for her subsequent arrest.[14]
Recent incidents
See also: Stop and frisk
The prevalence of police brutality in the United States is not comprehensively documented, and the statistics on police brutality are much less available. The few statistics that exist include a 2006 Department of Justice report, which showed that out of 26,556 citizen complaints made in 2002 about excessive use of police force among large U.S. agencies (representing 5% of agencies and 59% of officers), about 2,000 were found to have merit.[15]
Protest march in response to the Philando Castile shooting, St. Paul, Minnesota, July 7, 2016
Other studies have shown that most police brutality goes unreported. In 1982, the federal government funded a “Police Services Study,” in which over 12,000 randomly selected citizens were interviewed in three metropolitan areas. The study found that 13.6 percent of those surveyed claimed to have had cause to complain about police service (including verbal abuse, discourtesy and physical abuse) in the previous year. Yet only 30 percent of those filed formal complaints.[16] A 1998 Human Rights Watch report stated that in all 14 precincts it examined, the process of filing a complaint was “unnecessarily difficult and often intimidating.”[17]
Statistics on the use of physical force by law enforcement are available. For example, an extensive U.S. Department of Justice report on police use of force released in 2001 indicated that in 1999, “approximately 422,000 people 16 years old and older were estimated to have had contact with police in which force or the threat of force was used.”[18] Research shows that measures of the presence of black and Hispanic people and majority/minority income inequality are related positively to average annual civil rights criminal complaints.[19]
Police brutality can be associated with racial profiling. Differences in race, religion, politics, or socioeconomic status often exist between police and the citizenry. Some police officers may view the population (or a particular subset thereof) as generally deserving of punishment. Portions of the population may perceive the police to be oppressors. In addition, there is a perception that victims of police brutality often belong to relatively powerless groups, such as minorities, the disabled, and the poor.[20] In 2016, police killed 574 whites, 266 African Americans, 183 Hispanics, 24 Native Americans, and 21 Asians.[21] A 2019 study showed that people of color face a higher likelihood of being killed by police than do white men and women, that risk peaks in young adulthood, and that men of color face a nontrivial lifetime risk of being killed by police.[22][23]
Race was suspected to play a role in the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. Brown was an unarmed 18-year-old African American who was shot by Darren Wilson, a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The predominately black city erupted after the shooting. Riots following the shooting generated much debate about the treatment of African-Americans by law enforcement.
Recent Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reports have found that prison guard brutality is common in the U.S. A 2006 Human Rights Watch report revealed that five state prison systems permit the use of aggressive, unmuzzled dogs on prisoners as part of cell removal procedures.[24]
In May 2020, the issue of police brutality saw a surge in public response following the police killing of George Floyd. Protests occurred nationwide and internationally beginning in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 26, 2020. In 2016, Tony Timpa was killed in the same way in Dallas.[25]
In the United States, investigation of cases of police brutality has often been left to internal police commissions and/or district attorneys (DAs). Internal police commissions have often been criticized for a lack of accountability and for bias favoring officers, as they frequently declare upon review that the officer(s) acted within the department’s rules, or according to their training. For instance, an April 2007 study of the Chicago Police Department found that out of more than 10,000 police abuse complaints filed between 2002 and 2003, only 19 (0.19%) resulted in meaningful disciplinary action. The study charges that the police department’s oversight body allows officers with “criminal tendencies to operate with impunity,” and argues that the Chicago Police Department should not be allowed to police itself.[26] Only 19% of large municipal police forces have a civilian complaint review board (CCRB). Law enforcement jurisdictions that have a CCRB have an excessive force complaint rate against their officers of 11.9% verses 6.6% complaint rate for those without a CCRB. Of those forces without a CCRB only 8% of the complaints were sustained.[27] Thus, for the year 2002, the rate at which police brutality complaints were sustained was 0.53% for the larger police municipalities nationwide.
The ability of district attorneys to investigate police brutality has also been called into question, as DAs depend on help from police departments to bring cases to trial. It was only in the 1990s that serious efforts began to transcend the difficulties of dealing with systemic patterns of police misconduct
Logo on T-shirts sold at Daytona Beach Police Department headquarters in Florida, cited in a lawsuit against the DBPD alleging police brutality, is said to show the DBPD condones violence.[28][29]
Beyond police departments and DAs, mechanisms of government oversight have gradually evolved. The Rodney King case triggered the creation of the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department, informally known as the Christopher Commission, in 1991. The commission, mandated to investigate the practices of the LAPD, uncovered disturbing patterns of misconduct and abuse, but the reforms it recommended were put on hold. Meanwhile, media reports revealed a frustration in dealing with systemic abuse in other jurisdictions as well, such as New York and Pittsburgh. Selwyn Raab of the New York Times wrote about how the “Blue Code of Silence among police officers helped to conceal even the most outrageous examples of misconduct.”[30]
Within this climate, the police misconduct provision of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 was created, which authorized the Attorney General to “file lawsuits seeking court orders to reform police departments engaging in a pattern or practice of violating citizens’ federal rights.”[31] As of January 31, 2003, the Department of Justice has used this provision to negotiate reforms in twelve jurisdictions across the U.S. (Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Steubenville Police Department, New Jersey State Police, Los Angeles Police Department, District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, Highland Park, Illinois Police Department, Cincinnati Police Department, Columbus Police Department, Buffalo Police Department, Mount Prospect, Illinois Police Department, Seattle Police Department, and the Montgomery County, Maryland Police Department).[32]
Data obtained by The Associated Press in 2016 showed a racial disparity in officers’ use of stun guns.[33]
Numerous doctrines, such as federalism, separation of powers, causation, deference, discretion, and burden of proof have been cited as partial explanations for the judiciaries’ fragmented pursuit of police misconduct. However, there is also evidence that courts cannot or choose not to see systemic patterns in police brutality.[34] Other factors that have been cited as encouraging police brutality include institutionalized systems of police training, management, and culture; a criminal-justice system that discourages prosecutors from pursuing police misconduct vigorously; a political system that responds more readily to police than to the residents of inner-city and minority communities; and a political culture that fears crime and values tough policing more than it values due process for all its citizens.[35] It is believed that without substantial social change, the control of police deviance is improbable at best.[36]
In the United States, the passage of the Volstead Act (popularly known as the National Prohibition Act) in 1919 had a long-term negative impact on policing practices. By the mid-1920s, crime was growing dramatically in response to the demand for illegal alcohol. Many law enforcement agencies stepped up the use of unlawful practices. By the time of the Hoover administration (1929–1933), the issue had risen to national concern and a National Committee on Law Observation and Enforcement (popularly known as the Wickersham Commission) was formed to look into the situation.[37] The resulting “Report on Lawlessness in Law Enforcement” (1931) concluded that “[t]he third degree—that is, the use of physical brutality, or other forms of cruelty, to obtain involuntary confessions or admissions—is widespread.”[38] In the years following the report, landmark legal judgments such as Brown v. Mississippi helped cement a legal obligation to respect the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.[39]
Police brutality can be associated with racial profiling. Differences in race, religion, politics, ability, or socioeconomic status sometimes exist between police and the citizenry. Some police officers may view the population (or a particular subset thereof) as generally deserving punishment. Portions of the population may perceive the police to be oppressors.[40] In addition, there is a perception that victims of police brutality often belong to relatively powerless groups, such as racial or cultural minorities, the disabled, and the poor.[20]
The war model of policing has been offered as a reason for why police brutality occurs. Through this model, police brutality is more likely to occur because police see crime as a war and have people who are their enemies.[41] Police who have been exposed to war have more than a 50% higher rate of excessive force complaints than non-veterans according to internal Boston PD documents.[42]
Academic theories such as the threat hypothesis and the community violence hypothesis have been used to explain police brutality. The threat hypothesis implies that “police use force in direct response to a perceived threat from racial and/or economic groups viewed as threatening to the existing social order.”[43] According to the community violence hypothesis, “police use force in direct response to levels of violence in the community.”[43] This theory explains that force is used to control groups that threaten the community or police themselves with violence.
Body cameras
Main article: Body worn video (police equipment)
Many policies have been offered for how to prevent police brutality. One proposed solution is body worn cameras. The theory of using body cameras is that police officers will be less likely to commit misconduct if they understand that their actions are being recorded.[44] The United States Department of Justice under Obama’s administration supplied $20 million for body cameras to be implemented in police departments.[45] During a case study attempting to test the effects that body cameras had on police actions, researchers found evidence that suggested that police used less force with civilians when they had body cameras.[44]
Police are supposed to have the cameras on from the time they receive a call of an incident to when the entire encounter is over.[46] However, there is controversy regarding police using the equipment properly.[47] The issue regarding an officer’s ability to turn on and off the record button is if the police officer is trustworthy. In 2017, Baltimore Police Officer Richard A. Pinheiro Jr. was caught planting evidence. The officer did not realize 30 seconds of footage was available even before switching the camera on.[48] To solve this problem, it has been proposed to record police officers’ entire shift and not allowing access for police officers to turn on and off the record button. This can cause technical and cost issues due to the large amount of data the camera would accumulate, for which various solutions have been proposed.[49][50][51][52]
According to a survey done by Vocativ in 2014, “41 cities use body cams on some of their officers, 25 have plans to implement body cams and 30 cities do not use or plan to use cams at this time.”[47] There are other issues that can occur from the use of body cameras as well. This includes downloading and maintenance of the data which can be expensive. There is also some worry that if video testimony becomes more relied upon in court cases, not having video evidence from body cameras would decrease the likelihood that the court system believes credible testimony from police officers and witnesses[44]
Civilian review boards
Main article: Civilian police oversight agency
Civilian review boards have been proposed as another solution to decreasing police brutality. Benefits of civilian review boards can include making sure police are doing their jobs and increasing the relationship the police have with the public.[53] Civilian review boards have gotten criticism though. They can be staffed with police who can weaken the effectiveness of the boards. Some boards do not have the authority to order investigations into police departments. They can also lack the funding to be an effective tool.[53]
Lawsuits and qualified immunity
Excessive use of force is a tort, and police officers may be held liable for damages should they take unconstitutional actions.[54] The ability to sue in federal court was first introduced as a remedy for police brutality and misconduct in 1871 during the Reconstruction era as the Third Enforcement Act. The act allowed plaintiffs to sue directly in federal courts which was important as it allowed plaintiffs to bypass state courts during the Jim Crow era. The theory behind this solution to police brutality is that by taking the civil action to a federal court level, the case will be heard fairly and the financial judgments are intended to have a deterrent effect on future police misconduct in that department.[55]
Since 1967, this remedy has been restricted by Supreme Court precedents through qualified immunity which grants police officers immunity from lawsuits unless their actions violated “clearly established” law.[56] In practice, most jurisdictions rely on court precedent to define clearly established law, so to be successful plaintiffs often must show that a previous court case found the particular act at hand unlawful.[57]:45-4 For example, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted immunity to an officer who shot a 14-year-old who dropped a BB gun as he raised his hands, because unlike a 2011 case where an officer was held liable for shooting a man who lowered a shotgun, the boy had pulled the BB gun from his waistband.[58][59] This is often a stringent requirement, and in a majority of cases since 2005, police officer have been granted immunity for their actions.[58] Lawsuits are sometimes successful, however. For example in a 2001 settlement, New York City was required to pay a plaintiff $7.125 million in damages and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association was required to pay $1.625 million. At that time, it was the most money the city had ever paid to settle a police brutality lawsuit and is considered the first time that a police union has paid a claim to settle a brutality suit.[60]
Public reaction

George Floyd protests in Raleigh on May 30, 2020
A 2001 publication noted that local media rarely reported scandals involving out-of-town police unless events made it onto a network videotape.[61] According to a 2002 analysis, there is often a dramatic increase in unfavorable attitudes toward the police in the wake of highly publicized events such as the Rampart scandal in the late 1990s and the killings of Amadou Diallo (February 1999) and Patrick Dorismond (March 2000) in New York City.[62] Experiments have found that when viewers are shown footage of police arrests, they may be more likely to perceive the police conduct as brutal if the arresting officers are Caucasian.[63]
Public opinion polls following the 1991 beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles and the 1992 killing of Malice Green in Detroit indicate that the incidents appear to have had their greatest effect on specific perceptions of the way local police treat black people, and markedly less effect on broader perceptions of the extent of discrimination against them.[64]
To draw attention to the issue of police brutality in America, multiple basketball players for the NBA, including Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, wore shirts labeled “I Can’t Breathe,” referring to the death of Eric Garner at the hands of the New York City Police Department on July 17, 2014.[65] Concerned African-Americans also started a movement referred to as “Black Lives Matter” to try to help people understand how police are affecting African-American lives, initially prompted by the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman of the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, and further sparked by the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014.[66][67] In a related action, Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback then playing for the San Francisco 49ers, started a protest movement by refusing to stand for the national anthem at the start of games,[68][69] receiving widespread support and widespread condemnation, including from President Donald Trump.[70]
In May and June 2020, support for the Black Lives Matter movement surged among Americans as a result of the protests that broke out across the United States following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. A tracking poll by Civiqs found that, for the first time ever, more white Americans supported the Black Lives Matter movement than opposed it.[71]
While many celebrities have joined in on the “Black Lives Matter” campaign, many of the initiatives occurring in communities across the country are led by local members of the Black Lives Matter Global Network. The purpose of this network is to demand change at the local level and stop unfair punishment or brutality towards Black communities.[72] The group has 22 chapters in many major cities across the United States.
Legal and institutional controls
Responsibility for investigating police misconduct has mainly fallen on local and state governments. The federal government does investigate misconduct but only does so when local and state governments fail to look into cases of misconduct.[73]
Laws intended to protect against police abuse of authority include the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures; the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects individuals against self-incrimination and being deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process; the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which bans cruel and unusual punishments; the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which includes the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses; the Civil Rights Act of 1871; and the Federal Tort Claims Act. The Civil Rights Act has evolved into a key U.S. law in brutality cases. However, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 has been assessed as ultimately ineffective in deterring police brutality.[74] The federal government can place charges on police officers who commit police misconduct. These prosecutions do not often occur as the federal government tends to defer to local and state governments for prosecution.[73] The federal government also has the ability to investigate police departments if they are committing unlawful actions. When an investigation reveals violations by a police department, the Department of Justice can use §14141[75] to file a lawsuit. Like other tools at their disposal, the federal government also rarely uses this statute.[73] In a 1996 law journal article, it was argued that Judges often give police convicted of brutality light sentences on the grounds that they have already been punished by damage to their careers.[76] A 1999 article attributed much of this difficulty in combating police brutality to the overwhelming power of the stories mainstream American culture tells about the encounters leading to police violence.[77]
In 1978, surveys of police officers found that police brutality, along with sleeping on duty, was viewed as one of the most common and least likely to be reported forms of police deviance other than corruption.[78]
In Tennessee v. Garner (1985), the Supreme Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment prevents police from using deadly force on a fleeing suspect unless the police has good reason to believe that the suspect is a danger to others.[79]
The Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor (1989) stated that the reasonableness of a police officer using force should be based off what the officer’s viewpoint was when the crime occurred. Reasonableness should also factor in things like the suspect’s threat level and if attempts were made to avoid being arrested.[80]
In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court introduced the legal doctrine of qualified immunity, originally with the rationale of protecting law enforcement officials from frivolous lawsuits and financial liability in cases where they acted in good faith in an unclear legal situation.[81][2] Starting in around 2005, courts increasingly applied this doctrine to cases involving use of excessive force, eventually leading to widespread criticism that it “has become a nearly failsafe tool to let police brutality go unpunished and deny victims their constitutional rights” (as summarized in a 2020 Reuters report).[2]
In art
In July 2019, the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, New York premiered Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson′s opera Blue about African-American teenagers as an ′endangered species′; often falling victim to police brutality.[82]
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Protests erupted and have continued since, across many US cities and also internationally, with rallies on Wednesday in Australia, France, the Netherlands and in the UK, where thousands gathered in central London.
A rally in the Australian city of Sydney has been refused permission by a court, amid fears of coronavirus health risks. Thousands had been expected to attend.
Floyd’s death follows the high-profile cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in New York; and others that have driven the Black Lives Matter movement in recent years.
For many, the outrage over Floyd’s death also reflects years of frustration over socio-economic inequality and discrimination.
Protests over the death continued in dozens of cities on Thursday despite widespread curfews.
They followed a memorial service attended by hundreds, who stood in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time Floyd was alleged to have been on the ground under the control of police in Minneapolis.
A lawyer for George Floyd told the service a “pandemic of racism” had led to his death.
Giving the eulogy, civil rights activist the Reverend Al Sharpton said it was time to stand up and say “get your knee off our necks”.

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