For the past several days, Americans have looked on in horror as police forces across the country brutally crack down on citizens peacefully protesting the murder of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement officers as well as the broader climate of police brutality in the United States.
Cops have tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, beat, and fired rubber bullets at demonstrators and in some extreme cases even rammed them with vehicles. President Trump has contributed to this escalating violence by calling for the police and National Guard to “dominate” the streets. In practice, this “dominating” has amounted to little more than sadism.
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With so much violence being perpetrated by the state against innocent civilians, moments of cooperation and peaceful interaction between the police and protestors stand out even more. One such moment was a viral speech given to a crowd by Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. He defended people of color, denounced claims espoused by Trump that Mexicans are “rapists,” and called for an end to racism and for the people of his city to unify.
Conservatives were angered by Acevedo’s moving, coolheaded words, presumably because they’d prefer he crack the skulls of protestors rather than talk to them. Tucker Carlson pilloried the chief on his white nationalist-tinged show on Fox.
Acevedo himself has since spoken out again, urging President Trump to swallow his negative rhetoric and keep quiet if he has nothing constructive to say.
“Let me just say this to the President of the United States on behalf of the police chiefs in this country, if you don’t have anything constructive to say, keep your mouth shut,” said of Trump during an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour this week.
“Because you’re putting men and women in their early 20s at risk,” he went on. “It’s not about dominating, it’s about winning hearts and minds. And let’s be clear, we do not want people to confuse kindness with weakness, but we do not want ignorance to ruin what we’ve got here in Houston.”
Acevedo went on to say that knowing when to remain silent and when to speak is crucial to good leadership.
“And it hurts me to no end because whether we vote for someone or we don’t vote for someone, it’s still our president, but it’s time to be presidential and not try to be like you’re on ‘The Apprentice.’ This is not Hollywood, this is real life, and real lives are at risk,” said Acevedo.
Listen to the bold words below.
Houston Police Chief @ArtAcevedo: “Let me just say this to the President of the United States, on behalf of the police chiefs of this country: please, if you don’t have something constructive to say, keep your mouth shut.” pic.twitter.com/z5AJpOO0RO
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) June 1, 2020
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