Yesterday Donald Trump had a conference call with all of the governors of the nation regarding the George Floyd incident, the subsequent protests, and the violence that occurred over the weekend. It has been reported that Trump blames the governors for the protests, for the looting, and for the violence. It appears that he does not believe that his tweet over the weekend suggesting shooting after looting had anything to do with it.

Let’s look back at recent history to see if we can find, perhaps minimally, anything that Trump may have done to encourage police violence and the subsequent protests. As recently as October 2019, a photo appeared of Minneapolis police union president Bob Kroll at one of Trump’s rallies. Kroll was wearing a red, Cops for Trump T-shirt. It has been alleged that Bob Kroll is affiliated with white supremacy. Kroll told the crowd that Donald Trump had unshackled his officers from the restraints that former President Barack Obama had placed on them. Kroll said that Trump allowed them to put the handcuffs on criminals instead of on the cops. His union felt that President Obama‘s administration hindered them from doing their jobs. Some have suggested that the “unshackling” emboldened former officer Derek Chauvin to murder George Floyd.

Former President Obama had police reforms in place when he left office. Those reforms were some of the most productive reforms in criminal justice history. The Obama administration changed guidelines for sentencing and attempted to reduce the disparity in the criminal justice system. President Obama developed consent decrees with police departments to root out police brutality and racism, with the goal of consolidating police and the communities they serve.

Trump claimed at one of his 2016 rallies that cities were being overtaken by bloodshed and carnage because of Obama’s reforms. Trump was never able to produce concrete evidence of those claims. Donald Trump‘s supporters believed his claims and were elated when he rolled back those reforms. Throughout his entire presidency, Donald Trump has consistently and steadily rolled back most of the criminal justice reforms that the Obama administration had in place.

So here we are in 2020, with the death of George Floyd. People of all races, ages, and genders are taking to the streets all over the world to protest his death. Many of the protests are non-violent, but many have been extremely destructive. As a young black man, as a father, and as a productive member of society, it’s heart-wrenching to witness. It is my hope that we can all behave in a non-violent productive way. Police brutality must stop, police must not be able to just kill people and treat people any kind of way. Violent, destructive protests seem to be non-productive, but people need to be heard. We must all do our part to make this society better for everyone. These are just my thoughts, what are yours?

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