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Tags: civil rights | executive order

Matthew Whitaker: Joe Biden Is No Friend to Law Enforcement

portland oregon police

Portland Oregon Police in riot gear in downtown Portland. (Jpldesigns/ 

By    |   Monday, 14 February 2022 03:28 PM EST

Murders in U.S. cities were near record highs in 2021, and the surge of killings remains, according to The Wall Street Journal. The National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) reports that ambush attacks on police increased 115% in 2021.

Unfortunately, the new year is off to a tragic start with 24 police officers already killed, the two most recent being 22-year-old Jason Rivera and 27-year-old Wilbert Mora.

Jason Rivera, was shot and killed (Mora later died after having been "gravely injured") after having responded to a domestic violence call in Harlem, New York.

Alarmingly, in response to these statistics, the White House is expected to take executive action on alleged police reform at the end of this month.

In September of 2021, President Biden shared his disappointment over the U.S. Senate not supporting the House-passed George Floyd Justice in Policing Act but said he still hoped to "sign into law a comprehensive and meaningful police reform bill that honors the name and memory of George Floyd."

There is speculation that this drafted executive order is being fast-tracked in light of his declining approval ratings among Blacks.

Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, spokesperson for the National Police Association, stated that "the priority of the White House should be to protect all communities, instead of pandering to a militant wing of idealists and activists who believe that police officers are the problem–not the solution–to violent crime. The National Police Association encourages the President and his staff to make decisions utilizing the facts about crime in America, as well as about police use of force, and stop engaging in false rhetoric designed to vilify our profession."

The brave women and men in uniform who protect those who cannot defend themselves and consistently see people at their worst need life-saving tools, personal protective equipment, and safety equipment instead of being stripped of them.

For example, the executive order would eliminate the funding and transfer of "any vehicles, including all tracked and armored vehicles" to states, tribal, and local territories in an attempt to prevent the (so-called) militarization of law enforcement (Section 12-viii).

Such vehicles have repeatedly proven themselves at being able to save officers' lives and protect them against heavy fire. In South Carolina, the Sheriff of Florence County "credited a newly acquired armored vehicle with saving his life, the lives of his officers and nearby civilians during a recent standoff. In addition to shielding officers from gunfire, the vehicle was successfully used as a barricade to protect civilians across the street from the incident."

[Police1] This is just one provision that would cripple law enforcement’s ability to respond to crime in their jurisdictions.

On Jan. 21, of this year, several members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the president detailing why this executive order "threatens to move our country backward towards crippling police budgets, skyrocketing crime, and deteriorating morale among our officers."

The senators (totaling 22) additionally suggested that "given the alarming rise in violence, including homicides and carjackings, the federal government should be looking for any and all reasonable ways to help state and local law enforcement keep our communities safe rather than making their jobs harder."

The White House should consult with civil rights groups and police groups such as the FOP, National Sheriffs’ Association, and the International Association of Chief of Police together with police unions.

The National Association of Police Organizations recently declared that they "are greatly disappointed, as one of the largest representatives of sworn rank-and-file law enforcement officers in the country, to have been largely locked out of the discussion around this overhaul of the law enforcement profession."

As a former prosecutor and acting attorney general of the United States, I know there could be no better source of information than those on the frontlines, risking it all to ensure our safety.

More time must be spent speaking with experts, considering the impact, and pushing for appropriate criminal justice reform benefitting all and is not part of a political agenda.

Without thoughtful consideration of meaningful reform, the effect will devastate communities nationally.  

Matt Whitaker is co-chair of the Center for Law and Justice, America First Policy Institute.

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The brave women and men in uniform who protect those who cannot defend themselves, and consistently see people at their worst, need life-saving tools.
civil rights, executive order
Monday, 14 February 2022 03:28 PM
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