Trump’s threats toward protesters seek to derail calls for change

Democracy Now!

Jun 2, 2020

In response to a week of nationwide protests decrying anti-Black police violence, President Trump has declared himself “the president of law and order” and threatened to send thousands of heavily armed soldiers into the streets. As Trump spoke Monday, the National Guard and officers dressed in riot gear fired tear gas, rubber bullets and flashbangs to disperse peaceful protesters in nearby Lafayette Park. The Insurrection Act of 1807, the law Trump threatened to invoke, has been used to deploy the military for relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and to force states to comply with desegregation, but Trump’s framing “almost amounted to a declaration of war … with the sole and singular purpose of silencing Americans,” says Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The core demands of people in the streets must be heard above Trump’s attempts to derail the collective push for police reform, Clarke tells Democracy Now! “It is the public crying out desperately needed reform of the way policing is carried out in our country,” she says. “We need Congress to revise the federal statute which would make it easier to hold police officers accountable when they use deadly force against unarmed individuals.”

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