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Police Endorsement of Donald Trump Bodes Ill For Justice

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Police Endorsement of Donald Trump Bodes Ill For Justice


The video footage of the shooting death of Terence Crutcher at the hands of a Tulsa police officer is extremely disturbing and evokes visceral reactions: fear, outrage, panic. In view of the camera, Crutcher is seen walking slowly to his car, his empty hands raised over his head. Without any apparent provocation, he’s gunned down.

I have to exercise mental discipline — making a conscious effort to replace emotion with reason — to remember a simple truth: Not every police officer treats all black men as violent thugs, and not every law enforcement official harbors hidden racial biases that provoke disturbing overreactions.

I know that it’s wrong to assume that all police officers behave like jackbooted storm troopers, just as it’s wrong to believe all black men are criminals-in-waiting. (It’s also wrong to believe that all Black Lives Matter protestors behave like the Charlotte mob, who, angry about the shooting death of another black man at the hands of police, have turned peaceful demonstrations into days and nights of carnage.) Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby, who killed Crutcher, has not been convicted of any crime and is innocent until proven guilty.

That’s all within the bounds of rational thinking. None of us should give in to the dictates of our lizard brains, which continue to pass on judgments from our primal pasts.

That’s why I’m so troubled by the news that the Fraternal Order of Police has given its endorsement to Donald Trump. If police officers want the broad support of the nation — the trust of a diverse citizenry — why in the world would the FOP support Trump?

That’s not one or two or 10 police officers. That’s the nation’s largest police union giving its backing to a man who has lowered the bar for presidential campaigns by insulting Muslims, denigrating Mexicans and questioning the ethics of a federal judge because of his heritage.

Trump doesn’t merely pander to racial prejudices, engaging in the dog-whistles that have been standard for Republican candidates since the 1960s. He has issued full-throated cries of bigotry, starting with his enthusiastic indulgence in “birtherism,” a lie that insists President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. (While Trump renounced birtherism grudgingly in mid-September, he seemed to indicate barely a week later that he only did that so reporters would stop asking him about it.) The claim that Obama is foreign-born has been one of the more patently racist smears by his detractors, an attempt to delegitimize the presidency of the first black man to win the Oval Office.

Certainly, the union has every right to endorse whomever it chooses, and its members have every right to vote accordingly. Police officers tend to be conservative, and the FOP usually endorses the Republican presidential nominee. But that nominee isn’t usually a person who cozies up to Nazi sympathizers. The decision of the overwhelmingly white FOP to endorse him strongly suggests that it agrees with his views. (Some black FOP members have criticized the endorsement.)

(Similarly, the National Border Patrol Council, the union representing 16,500 border patrol agents, cast doubt on its members’ ability to be prudent and fair with its endorsement of Trump in April. It’s hard to imagine union members could protect the rights of immigrants, legal and illegal, when their endorsement suggests a deep well of xenophobia.)

The timing of the FOP’s endorsement could hardly be less fortunate. In communities across the country, relationships between police departments and black citizens are frayed by the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement officers. Police conduct is the subject of not only protests such as those led by the activists of Black Lives Matter, but also dramatic gestures by athletes such as NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

That charged atmosphere cries out for police leaders who project not only authority but also empathy, who appreciate diversity and communicate genuine respect for all citizens. The FOP has done the opposite. Its endorsement plays into the view — widespread in some precincts — that white police officers are waging war on neighborhoods of color.

Cynthia Tucker won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007. She can be reached at cynthia@cynthiatucker.com.
Cynthia Tucker Haynes

Cynthia Tucker Haynes, a veteran newspaper journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, is a Visiting Professor of Journalism and Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Georgia. She is also a highly-regarded commentator on TV and radio news shows.

Haynes was editorial page editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper for 17 years, where she led the development of opinion policy. More recently, she was that newspaper’s Washington-based political columnist. She maintains a syndicated column through Universal Press Syndicate, which is published in dozens of newspapers around the country. Besides winning the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007, Haynes has also received numerous other awards, including Journalist of the Year from the National Association of Black Journalists.

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  1. PrecipitousDrop September 23, 2016

    White people generally don’t fear the police. White people generally trust the integrity of the District Attorneys and the courts. White people are confident of their rights under the law. The justice system gives white people the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes white women and kids even get special consideration.
    When was the last time a white guy in a car was pulled over for driving in the “wrong” neighborhood, or driving a car that was too “new” or too “expensive”?
    How many white guys are detained and patted down on the way to buy a morning paper?
    How many white guys face an officer’s service revolver for taking an evening jog?
    When are local ordinances enacted to regulate the way white guys wear their pants? Did Geraldo Rivera ever go on national TV to disparage white men’s choices in sweatshirts?

    By supporting Trump/Pense, the police union didn’t do anything but endorse the status quo. White privilege remains unchallenged.

    A sickening endorsement of the Alt-Right.

    1. Jon September 23, 2016

      While I agree with most of what you say, the one thing I disagree with to a degree is your assumption that white people generally don’t fear police, trust the integrity of District Attorneys and the courts and are confident of their rights under the law. What you say may be true for the upper middle class and wealthy whites to a very large degree but not so much with the poor and lower middle class who have 1st hand experience with excessive use of force by the police who ignore their constitutional rights and then lie about it. Those whites who have been stopped by police for no reason other than a fishing expedition may disagree as well. Many have seen police commit perjury and District Attorneys with political agendas they used and abused their office to promote. They have seen District Attorneys ignore their ethical command to do justice and try to win at any cost even if it means doing an injustice. They know that the many of judges will support the police and District Attorney in any way they can. They don’t expect to get justice anymore.
      I am not in any way saying that whites as a race have it just as bad as blacks as a race. They don’t. What I am saying is that you can’t lump all whites into one basket and pretend that they have never felt the oppression of the police, District Attorneys, and the courts. Many whites stand proudly with their black brethren in their protest of injustice not only because it is the right thing to do, but because some of them share at least some of the experiences of injustice.
      Also, I am not lumping all police officers, District Attorneys, judges ,and court systems into 1 basket. There are some fantastic police officers, District Attorneys and judges. Unfortunately they tend to be forgotten because of the atrocious acts of others.

      1. dpaano October 6, 2016

        Definitely……if you’re a poor person, homeless person, or a middle-class citizen just trying to get ahead, the police treat you just as rudely in most cases as they do an African American. Sure, maybe they get stopped more often, but when the rest of America is stopped….the police are not always polite in the way they are treated. But, if you’re driving a BMW, a Mercedes, etc., you get treated with kid gloves! I’ve seen it happen in MANY cases. So, it’s not just racism, although that’s a BIG part of it, as I said earlier….it’s the department, the training, and the leadership that calls the shots on how police officers act in the field.

    2. dpaano October 6, 2016

      You’re probably right in some cases. I don’t think it happens in ALL cases. I’ve seen many “white” people who have had problems with police and have not been given any consideration. The poor and middle class whites might not agree with you at all…..they don’t seem to get any gold stars from the police when they encounter them. I think a lot of it depends on the department, the training, and even the state that they are in.

  2. Dominick Vila September 23, 2016

    The most ominous part of what is happening in America in this election is the re-awakening of prejudices that many of us thought had been left behind. Make no mistake, Donald Trump is not so popular because our economy is collapsing. It is not. Or because foreign threats, real or imaginary, are about to destroy our country. He is popular because of his image as a fighter, a rebel, and a man that is articulating the sentiments, and simplistic misconceptions, embraced by almost half of our population.
    Racism, cultural hatred, the need to blame someone else for our shortcomings and the effects of new technologies, automation, and greed on job creation, hatred of social programs that extend benefits to people who, in the opinion of the majority, do not deserve to be helped, fear of the social changes that have been taking place during the last half century, and a last stand between intellectuals and the masses, are among the most important contributors to Trump’s popularity.
    Benghazi, e-mails, and ridiculous claims against the Clinton Foundation, were just tools used to demonize what the opposition considers the “establishment”, the evil institution that allowed gays, ethnic and cultural minorities, and women, to rise to positions of wealth and responsibility, including seeking the most powerful office in the land.

    1. dbtheonly September 23, 2016

      Agree, but I’m having trouble asserting racism as a cause of the shootings when, at least some, of the police shooting, or injuring Black Guys are Black themselves. Half the Freddie Gray Defendants were Black. The Charlotte Officer is Black.

      Something else is in play, and I don’t know what it is.

      1. itsfun September 23, 2016

        Did you see that 70% of the people arrested in Charlotte yesterday were not from there. This shows people are getting paid to riot. The question is by who. The population there is something like 2 million 400 thousand. Only 500 people were at the riots. Where were the rest of the 2 million 399,500 citizens.

      2. conjure September 23, 2016

        I think the idea is that racism in the US has impacted all of us, whether black or white, and persons act accordingly. That is why there is an emphasis on institutional racism, which apparently Mr. Pence did not like. I agree that there are many things in play.

        1. iamproteus September 24, 2016

          dbtheonly, itsfun and conjure make some points that resonate with me, in particular the last sentence in each of their posts. I won’t try to say I have any solutions. Indeed, I do not. Nor do I believe that any individual does. I do, however, believe that it is possible to improve the situation through the concerted effort of many individuals.

          We must begin by agreeing with db’s last sentence in recognizing that “Something else is in play, and I don’t know what it is.” Then agree with conjure “that there are many things in play.” And itsfun asks a very pertinent question, “Where were the rest of the 2 million 399,500 citizens.”

          The search for the solution is not an easy one and will require many to give up deeply held prejudices which will be nigh unto impossible for some. As I said, I don’t have the solution but I want desperately to believe that one is possible.

          1. dpaano October 6, 2016

            I agree with you wholeheartedly. I also agree that getting people to give up their prejudices will be impossible for many. It doesn’t mean that can’t try, and with Trump as president, it won’t happen. That’s the sad part of this campaign.

        2. dpaano October 6, 2016

          Pence is an idiot……he’s not well liked in Indiana and they are SO glad that he’s running for VP because it made him unable to register to run for governor again! He’s done more to take Indiana down than anyone! He’s another Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, etc.!

          1. Bob October 6, 2016

            But Pence sure did make your boy Tim Kaine look like a fool eh dpaano.

          2. dpaano October 7, 2016

            Personally, I think the debate was a toss up. Pence did NOTHING to explain any of Trump’s BS statements when asked about them repeatedly. All he DID do is deny the things that Kaine brought up that Trump had said (and were ALL true). Apparently, Pence has not taken the time to listen to what his “boss” has been saying out in the field and in previous debates because he was totally denying statements that had already been proven to be true as to things that Trump had said! To me, that’s not making a fool out of Kaine….he made just as much of a fool of himself!

      3. dpaano October 6, 2016

        Agreed….just this morning we heard on the news about a black man shooting and killing a sheriff in Lancaster, CA. But, you never see Black Lives Matter come out about that, although there were MANY African Americans that attended the sheriff’s funeral and were legitimately sorry. Personally, I think ALL lives should matter….there’s just as many shootings that involve black on black as there are with white on black. And, there are many shootings of whites by blacks, but for some reason, we never hear about those in the news very often.
        I’m definitely NOT a racist by any means, but it just annoys me that the news makes such a big deal when a white cop shoots a black man or woman. As an ex-cop myself, I sincerely feel that there are many other ways to deal with these types of conflicts besides just willy nilly shooting someone, but it goes both ways. Police are so paranoid nowadays about anyone with a gun or a perceived weapon….they tend to shoot without actually thinking. But, then again, sometimes taking the time to think could mean you’re a dead man. It’s a quandary, but our police forces need to do more training in how to absolve conflicts without involving guns or loss of life. Just my opinion. Again, all lives should matter; all lives are important.

  3. AgLander September 23, 2016

    Crime tends to attract police, not the color of the criminal. Why do the race hustlers supporting the BLM street violence in our streets not understand that? Answer…..they do understand it, but race hustling is a very profitable business in America today and the race hustlers gotta make a living. And it’s a very profitable business they are operating! Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson gotta pay the bills, baby!

  4. yabbed September 23, 2016

    Cops are as racist and authoritarian as Donald Trump. It’s birds of a feather flocking together.

    1. iamproteus September 24, 2016

      Some, yes. But certainly not all….or even as many as the FOP action might suggest.

    2. dpaano October 6, 2016

      Not all of them…..I know MANY who don’t agree with Trump and have NO plans on voting for him despite what the FOP has said. But, still, there ARE some cops who are racists, but there’s plenty of racists in every group.

  5. conjure September 23, 2016

    It’s not as though this came out of the blue.

    “Both campaigns were provided with a presidential screening questionnaire developed with the cooperation of the National Legislative Office of the FOP. The responses to the questionnaire were provided to the members via the FOP Journal and electronically through our website and other platforms.

    The Trump for President campaign returned a completed questionnaire, but the Clinton campaign declined to do so and has not provided a reason or explanation as to why they are not seeking the endorsement of the FOP. This lack of response came in spite of repeated requests and reminders both in writing and by telephone.”

    1. PrecipitousDrop September 24, 2016

      I looked up the Fraternal Order of Police questionnaire. Their sharply pointed questions seemed to be specifically framed to benefit the conservative perspective. I doubt any Democratic or moderate Republican candidate would have a second thought about throwing it in the trash.

      1. conjure September 24, 2016

        Agreed, but in contrast you should also read candidate Barack Obama’s very through and principled responses to the same.

        1. PrecipitousDrop September 24, 2016

          False equivalence, conjure. There are vastly different questions between the query Obama completed and the one presented to 2016 candidates.

          1. Bob September 25, 2016

            Please show us those differences in a link there guy [if you can]

          2. PrecipitousDrop September 25, 2016

            Just go to the FOP questionnaire sites and see for yourself.

          3. Bob September 25, 2016

            From what I read by the one FOP sites both candidates were sent questionares Trump responded before the deadline and Hillary did not respond till way after the deadline .

            So tell me now what are you getting at ?

          4. PrecipitousDrop September 25, 2016

            You’re confused, Bob.
            There are vast differences between the questions in the FOP Presidential Query sent to 2016 candidates and the FOP Presidential Query OBAMA completed when he was a candidate.

          5. Bob September 25, 2016

            So do us all a favor and post the link that proves what you posted with the questionre sent to Obama

            End of Story.

          6. PrecipitousDrop September 25, 2016

            Just Google FOP Barack Obama Questionnaire.
            The PDF comes right up.

          7. Bob September 25, 2016

            Don’t be such a progressive Puzzy post the link or get off this site

          8. PrecipitousDrop September 25, 2016

            Go to hell, Bob.
            But, before you go, Google the FOP PDF.

          9. Bob September 25, 2016

            Sorry guy it’s your job to produce the evidence .

            I will let the Devil know you are on your way .

            ha ha ha haha ha ha

          10. PrecipitousDrop September 26, 2016

            The link is dead.
            Google goes there still.

          11. Bob September 26, 2016

            More like you are a dead head liberal

            Go there

          12. dpaano October 7, 2016

            Once again, if you can’t win the battle, you conservatives just deflect and start calling names! Get a life, okay?

          13. dpaano October 6, 2016

            Where does it show that its “his job” to produce evidence? You’re a typical troll that can’t do the homework on his own!

          14. Bob October 6, 2016

            It’s his job due to the fact he posted what he posted .

            Get my Barrons link dpaano?

          15. dpaano October 6, 2016

            Don’t be such a lazy idiot….find the site on your own. He’s given you the title to Google….or is that beyond your ability?

          16. Bob October 6, 2016

            So dpaano did you read my link to Warren Buffett and his tax loophole or just file it?

          17. dpaano October 7, 2016

            I wasn’t able to read the entire article, but I’m pretty sure that Buffet NEVER filed a billion dollar loss. He’s always said that he’s paid taxes, and he’s admitted that they aren’t as much as his secretary. He’s not satisfied with that and has made it very well known that he thinks the tax plan needs to be revamped.

          18. Bob October 7, 2016

            Lets see if you get this article Nancy about Buffett.

            It’s kinda funny I can read the whole article and I am not a Barrons subscriber and it shows up on The Hill and I click on it and it only shows the first few sentences

            Just a little strange.


            Let me know if this link works Nancy

            ps the Nancy postabout being a air head was Sarcasm with your name but the woman I dated was a air head named Nancy

          19. dpaano October 7, 2016

            I’m not an “airhead” and as you tried to accuse me of “assuming” I know anything about you, you are doing the same with your ridiculous “Nancy” BS. I am FAR from being an airhead, and I don’t appreciate your comment. As for the woman you dated being an airhead….what a typical comment from someone who has no respect for women in general. Your sarcasm is not appreciated!
            Yes, the link worked…..will get back to you in more detail after I have the time to read it more closely. However, my “scan” of the article shows that although Buffet took advantage of the SAME loophole that Trump did, he DID pay taxes.

          20. Bob October 7, 2016

            It’s interesting you still have not responded to the post where I apologized to you for getting you confused with another poster with the Name of Nancy depaano

            Now why is that?

          21. dpaano October 7, 2016

            I’ve responded several times……

          22. Bob October 7, 2016

            Just read it Thanks

          23. Bob October 6, 2016

            What’s really interesting I posted this 11 days ago and you are just responding now ?

          24. dpaano October 7, 2016

            And that’s a problem why? I’m busy as I work a full-time job….I don’t always have time to go into these sites on a daily basis like you obviously can! Sorry for being a hard-working individual!

          25. Bob October 7, 2016

            And as usual you know nothing about me but you assume, eh Nancy I started woring at 13 and am now 62 semi retired .

            So please cut it out with your BS

            And when I was woking I never posted things on the web when I was working full time

            Does your employer know you use his time to post on the web Nancy?

          26. dpaano October 7, 2016

            In response to your ridiculous post, I didn’t say anything about you, so not sure why you think I “assume” anything about you. Personally, I couldn’t care less. Secondly, I started working when I was 16 and I’m 70 years old now (and still working a full-time job with a multinational company7)….so, yes, I’m busy. As for my employer knowing I used his time to post on the web…..I use my breaks and lunch to do so, and my boss is well aware of this and has absolutely NO problem with it….not that it’s any of your business. Lastly, again, my name is NOT “Nancy,” and I’d appreciate it if you’d use my sign-in name from my posts. I have NO idea who “Nancy” is, but it sounds discriminating and I’m asking you politely to cease.

          27. Bob October 7, 2016

            Looks like you did not get my apology for getting you confused with another poster dpaano

            And if that’s your picture in the Avatar you look pretty good for 70.

            So did you get the other article I sent you about Buffett

            ps I think Trump is a fool but sadly Hillary is not much better dpaano.

          28. dpaano October 7, 2016

            Yes, I got your apology and thanked you for it. And, yes, that IS me; however, I was about 10 years younger at the time. Also, I DID get the article about Buffet and have only had time to scan it quickly….will give a good read during my lunch today and get back to you.
            As for Trump and Clinton….each to their own decisions and vote. Personally, I’m worried about all of the alleged statements that Trump has made about what he plans on doing if he’s elected. I don’t think he realizes that he’s not being elected to be a dictator….he will have to go through Congress to get anything he’s planning accomplished. I think he’s going to run into some problems there. As for Hillary, IMO, she’s the most qualified, has put together a very well thought out plan for what she wants to do (although she might ALSO have problems getting some of them through Congress….we can only hope that the Democrats retake the Senate). But, again, this is only my opinion. I respect your opinion, I just want to agree to disagree if that’s okay with you.

          29. Bob October 7, 2016

            Sounds good everyone is entitled to a opinion depaano

          30. Bob September 25, 2016

            ps like I said show us the links that the 2 candidates were sent different questions if you can .

      2. dpaano October 6, 2016

        I’ve heard the same thing from police officer friends. This is probably why the Clinton campaign didn’t return it.

    2. jmprint September 24, 2016

      The Union is not are using common sense.

      1. Bob September 25, 2016

        Liberal common sense is totally different than normal common sense jmprint.

    3. dpaano October 6, 2016

      There must have been a good reason…..they probably thought that there was NO way that the FOP would be so stupid as to endorse Trump! Personally, I don’t think the endorsement of the FOP or the Border Patrol group will do much of anything….most of the police officers that I know, both black AND white, are NOT voting for Trump and could care less who their union endorses! The bottom line is that it’s the votes of the individuals and NOT just the vote of the union that counts.

  6. Thomas Martin September 24, 2016

    Police union support for Donald Trump is disturbing.

    1. dpaano October 6, 2016

      Definitely, considering his running mate, Pence, is so against unions that he ran them into the ground in Indiana! During the VP debate, he talked about how he had “balanced the budget” in Indiana, but he left out the reason being that he cut funds to education, medical, infrastructure, etc. in order to do so! The ONLY good thing about Pence, according to my cousin and other family members in Indiana, is that his running as Trump’s VP means that he couldn’t run again for governor! They are all so glad to get rid of him! If Trump isn’t elected, he’ll be out of a job (and most Hoosiers are glad of that)!

  7. dpaano October 6, 2016

    As a ex-police officer myself, I find it mystifying as to why the FOP would endorse Trump. I realize that they probably don’t think EITHER of the candidates are worthy, but Trump less than Hillary for sure! If nothing else, they should not have endorsed ANYONE, same with the Border Patrol. Why do either of these unions (of which Pence is so against, by the way) have to endorse anyone?


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