Ever since Richard Nixon, accepting the nomination of the Republican Party for the presidency in 1968, and running on a law and order platform, announced that if elected, “There will be a new Attorney General,” law and order has been a code word for tough police tactics. And, for racial and ethnic minorities, that often means trouble.
With no experience in government whatsoever, but every day stoking fears and hate, Donald Trump often says on the campaign trail that he is the law and order candidate this election year. He has endorsed “stop and frisk” police tactics, and he constantly harps on “political correctness” as being the cause of most of the country’s ills.
On September 16 in Tulsa, Police Officer Betty Shelby fatally shot Terence Crutcher, a 40-year-old African America man. Crutcher was unarmed during the encounter. The shooting led to protests in Tulsa. Longtime residents of Tulsa recalled the race riot of 1921, when 300 black people were killed. Yesterday, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler charged Shelby with first-degree manslaughter. She was booked and released on $50,000 bond.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, three days ago, Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old African American man, was fatally shot by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department police officer Brentley Vinson. Vinson was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. The shooting sparked both peaceful protests and violent riots in Charlotte over two nights. One person died and multiple officers and civilians were injured as a result of the unrest.
Trump is now leading in the polls in North Carolina, with some observers concluding that the unrest in Charlotte, the Tarheel state’s largest city, may be helping Trump.
In today’s Times (but in an article dated yesterday), Alexander Burns and Farah Stockman write that Trump’s policies with respect to policing might hit minorities harder than non-minorities. They quote former Homeland Security Secretary and former Deputy Attorney General Michael Chertoff, a Republican who co-authored the USA Patriot Act, as saying that Trump’s characterization of law enforcement as hemmed in by political correctness is "entirely unfounded." Chertoff co-chairs the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Immigration Task Force.
Moments ago, associate solitary reporter Johanna Jones, ever vigilant in following Donald Trump wherever he goes, asked three of the sturdiest of New York’s Finest, accompanied by Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill, to greet Trump outside his gigantic Trump Tower to conduct a routine stop and frisk.
Immediately, the billionaire’s security chief, Keith Schiller, grabbed O'Neill from behind, just as Humphrey Bogart, playing detective Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, grabbed Elisha Cook Jr., the actor who played Wilmer Cook, a smalltime, paranoid bodyguard for Kasper Gutman, played by Sidney Greenstreet. Using this time-tested maneuver, Schiller adroitly removed O’Neill’s standard police revolvers.
Not to be outdone, de Blasio, a tall man, abruptly thrust himself within two inches of Trump’s orangutan-colored mop and demanded to know why he continues to wreak havoc in the political and moral life of the USA.
Trump’s response cannot be printed here. But his spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, told associate solitary reporter Jeanne Smith that Mr. Trump will be flying to Roanoke this evening ahead of his planned rally there, after his son, Eric Trump, bails him out of the Brooklyn Detention Complex.