Like all conservatives, President Trump loves glorifying and celebrating the police. It is a central part of the right-wing’s fascistic appeal to a terrified white constituency threatened by the prospect of demographic change, assuring them that the instruments of state violence are fully under their control and the mechanisms of the white supremacist order will continue to function.
“COPS LOVE TRUMP, TRUMP LOVES COPS!” –@realDonaldTrump
— GOP (@GOP) October 11, 2019
In turn, the police are usually very happy to play along and support Republican politicians, grateful for the respite from the irritating complaints from liberals over the disturbingly common incidents of excessive police brutality and demands for accountability for the frequent execution of minority suspects without any charge or trial.
But it would appear that President Trump’s open racism is too much for some cops to stomach. The superintendent of the Chicago police department, Eddie Johnson, risked both the wrath of the president and his own cops when he declared that he will not be attending the president’s speech next week during the conference of police chiefs.
Johnson said that he could not in good conscience attend the speech after the president had spewed so many “racial insults” and so much “hatred” from the Oval Office.
“While today’s decision is from the Board and not the active (Fraternal Order of Police) membership, I understand and respect that the Lodge is upset about the decision to not stand with the president. As police officers, our job is to be the voice for the voiceless and ambassadors to the communities that we serve. I can’t in good conscience stand by while racial insults and hatred are cast from the Oval Office, or Chicago is held hostage because of our views on New Americans” said Johnson in a statement.
The police union board immediately issued a vote of no-confidence in Johnson and slammed his decision, saying that his failure to appear “would be an insult to both President Trump and the office of the presidency itself and would be a mark of disgrace upon the city throughout the entire nation, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot.”
Their immediate move to punish Johnson is a pretty telling indication of what role the Chicago PD sees themselves playing in their city. Shocker that the police force which disappeared at least 7,000 people into a mysterious “interrogation warehouse,” worked with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to cover up the body cam footage of a police murder, and over the past few years have fired their guns at a citizen roughly once every five days is jumping at the bit to defend a president who openly promotes white supremacist conspiracies and fans the flames of racial hatred.
Eddie Johnson almost certainly made himself persona non grata in his own building, and he should be commended for having the courage to stand up to both the president and his fellow police officers.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.