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Many in law enforcement feel frayed relationship with Obama

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Law enforcement officers attend an interfaith memorial service for the fallen police officers and members of the Dallas community, Tuesday, July 12, 2016, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.

DALLAS >> After each fatal shooting of a black man by an officer, President Barack Obama has swiftly spoken out against bad policing, giving voice to the generations of African-Americans who have found themselves at the wrong end of a baton, a snarling dog or a gun.

As much as those words have comforted blacks, they have rankled many of the nation’s men and women in blue. Some have described the remarks as an insult, an all-too-quick condemnation before all the facts are in and a failure to acknowledge the thousands of cops who do a good job and routinely risk their lives.

“It would just be nice for him to say, ‘Hey, I support what you’re doing,’” said Scott Hughes, chief of police in Hamilton Township, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. “The president doesn’t defend the police. It’s very one-sided.”

On Tuesday, Obama traveled to Dallas to pay tribute to the five officers who were slain by a sniper at a peaceful protest. The president offered perhaps his strongest words yet of support for law enforcement, praising the dead as heroes who died while preserving a constitutional right.

“Like police officers across the country, these men and their families shared a commitment to something larger than themselves,” Obama said.

He spoke before an audience that included police officers, relatives of the slain — and five empty seats, each representing a fallen officer. A folded flag and a police hat rested on each chair. The president mentioned the slain officers by name and offered a few personal tidbits about each one.

Calling the attack the act of a “demented” man,” Obama appealed for Americans to find a way to bridge the divide, noting that black communities often feel maligned and police officers feel underappreciated.

“I understand how Americans are feeling. But Dallas, I’m here to say we must reject such despair. I’m here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem,” Obama said before launching into a defense of police and the sacrifices they make.

“We mourn fewer people today because of your brave actions,” he said pointing at the audience filled with officers.

But for many in law enforcement, Obama’s words, while welcome, are greeted with suspicion. Does he really believe it and feel it? They point to perceived slights dating back to his first term, and they believe he has helped stoke the flames of hatred for police.

Soon after Obama took office, police said, they sensed they wouldn’t get the same appreciation as shown by his two predecessors, who seemed to have officers’ backs.

Under President Bill Clinton, the Crime Bill of 1994 provided money to hire tens of thousands of new police. The image of President George W. Bush, who also attended the memorial service, gathering with first responders in the rubble of the World Trade Center also sent a powerful message.

Just seven months into Obama’s first term, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested as he returned home late one night and tried to open his jammed front door. The white officer who responded to a report of a possible break-in arrested him for disorderly conduct.

The incident sparked a debate about racial profiling with Obama saying police had acted “stupidly.”

Pinal County (Arizona) Sheriff Paul Babeu, a longtime Obama critic whose jurisdiction sits between Phoenix and Tucson, said the president has undermined law enforcement throughout his tenure by raising issues of race and casting aspersions about officers in highly publicized police encounters.

The Gates incident also irritated Travis Yates, a major with the Tulsa, Oklahoma, police department and editor of lawofficer.com.

“That really was the tell-tale sign of his ideology” against police, Yates said.

The distrust has only deepened with each police shooting of a black man as they see the president or one of his representatives attend services for the victims. But until Tuesday, they said, the president had not shown that same outpouring whenever an officer has died in the line of duty.

It’s more than just the symbolism that they find troubling.

They point to Obama’s opposition to providing police with surplus military equipment, which officers generally believe is essential to ensuring their safety and responding effectively to acts of terror or other mass violence. It feels like Obama isn’t interested in giving them the tools they need to do their jobs and stay safe.

“His policies, time and time again, put officers back on their heels,” Yates said.

For some, the relationship is so frayed that Obama’s words of support for law enforcement ring hollow.

“Maybe it’s not fair because we look at everything he says and think he’s not genuine,” Yates said.

If Obama’s attendance at the memorial offered some solace to police, it didn’t seem to satisfy some black activists.

LaShadion Anthony, 29, with the Dallas Action Coalition and the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, named after one of the founders of the Black Panthers, watched as Obama’s motorcade traveled through Dallas. The president’s decision to visit Dallas rather than Baton Rouge or suburban Minneapolis was, he said, “a slap in the face.”

“I think he needs to really address the issue of unjust police departments across the country,” Anthony said. “Coming here, he’s putting a Band-Aid on a very large, open wound.”

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Associated Press writers Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix and Emily Schmall in Dallas contributed to this report.

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Follow Lisa Marie Pane on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lisamariepane . Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/lisa-marie-pane .

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    • “I think he needs to really address the issue of unjust police departments across the country,” Anthony said. Really? Not according to our President’s alma mater, Harvard:

      Harvard Study Finds No Racial Bias in Police Shootings

      In shootings in these 10 cities involving officers, officers were more likely to fire their weapons without having first been attacked when the suspects were white…officers in Houston were about 20 percent less likely to shoot if the suspects were black.

    • http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2016/07/12/the-war-on-cops-n2191290

      The War on Cops
      By Thomas Sowell
      Posted: Jul 12, 2016 12:01 AM

      There was never a more appropriately named book than “The War on Cops” by Heather Mac Donald, published a few weeks ago, on the eve of the greatest escalation of that war by the ambush murders of five policemen in Dallas.

      Nor is this war against the police confined to Dallas. It is occurring across the country.

      Who is to blame?

      There is a ton of blame, more than enough to go around to the wide range of people and institutions that have contributed to these disasters. In addition to the murderers who have killed people they don’t even know, there are those who created the atmosphere of blind hatred in which such killers flourish.

      Chief among those who generate this poisonous atmosphere are career race hustlers like Al Sharpton and racist institutions like the “Black Lives Matter” movement. All such demagogues need is a situation where there has been a confrontation where someone was white and someone else was black. The facts don’t matter to them.

      The same is true of the more upscale, genteel and sophisticated race panderers, including the President of the United States. During his first year in the White House, Barack Obama chastised a white policeman over his handling of an incident with a black professor at Harvard — after admitting that he didn’t know the specific facts.

      Nor did he know the specifics when he publicly announced that, if he had a son, that son would look like Trayvon Martin.

      Are we to decide who is right and who is wrong on the basis of skin color? There was a long history of that in the days of the old Jim Crow South. Are we fighting against racism today or do we just want to put it under new management?

      No one should imagine that any of this is helping the black community. The surge in murder rates across the country, in the wake of the anarchy unleashed after the Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore riots, has taken a wholly disproportionate number of black lives.

      But, to the race hustlers, black lives don’t really matter nearly as much as their chance to get publicity, power, money, votes or whatever else serves their own interests.

      The mainstream media play a large, and largely irresponsible, role in the creation and maintenance of a poisonous racial atmosphere that has claimed the lives of policemen around the country.

      That same poisoned atmosphere has claimed the lives of even more blacks, who have been victims of violence by thugs and criminals who have had fewer restrictions as the police have pulled back, or have been pulled back, under political pressure.

      The media provide the publicity on which career race hustlers thrive. It is a symbiotic relationship, in which turmoil in the streets gives the media something exciting to attract viewers. In return, the media give those behind this turmoil millions of dollars’ worth of free publicity to spread their poison.

      It is certainly news when there is turmoil in the streets. But that is very different from saying that giving one-sided presentations at length of the claims of those who promote this turmoil makes sense.

      The media have also actively promoted the anti-police propaganda by the way they present the news. This goes all the way back to the Rodney King riots of 1992. Television stations all across the country repeatedly played a selectively edited fraction of a videotape covering the encounter between the police and Rodney King, who had been stopped after a wild, high-speed chase.

      The great majority of that video never saw the light of day on the TV networks that incessantly played the selectively edited fraction.

      When the police were charged with excessive violence in overcoming Rodney King’s resistance to arrest, the jury saw the whole video — and refused to convict the policemen. That is when people who had seen only what the media showed them rioted after the jury verdict.

      Today, the media keep repeating the mantra that there was a “peaceful demonstration,” even when it ends in violence.

      How many people have to die in “peaceful demonstrations” before the media admit that those who promote mob disruptions have to know what is likely to happen when you put mobs in the streets at night?

      Mob rule is not democracy. It threatens democracy, as it threatens lives — black or white — and all lives should matter.

  • I’m still dismayed by Obama’s lack of response to the death of Kate Steinle last year at the hands of an illegal Mexican deported five times but allowed to remain in the country through San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy implicitly endorsed by Obama.

    • Obama is a straight-up racist. He showed his hand early on in his first term. Beyond that, he enjoys the likes of the devout racist Al Sharpton, and lets not forget the poser, Jeramiah Wright, who led the Obamas church for decades. America will breath a sigh of relief when this prevaricator is gone.

  • But Obama is quick to condemn police whenever any black man is shot by the police. A case in point is the shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A second video supports the police version that Sterling was reaching for a gun in his pocket with his free right hand while the police were attempting to subdue him. Remember the police were responding to a call that a man was pointing a gun at another man. Sterling had a physical confrontation with police before in addition to a lengthy criminal record. He was a convicted felon who was prohibited from carrying any firearms. But instead of waiting for all the facts, Obama quickly condemns the police and by implication indicates this was racially motivated act by his immediate and premature call for DOJ to investigate. The state of Louisiana has its own bureau of investigation that could have conducted an independent inquiry.

    • Bush/Obama speech comparison–“At Gettysburg in 1863, Abraham Lincoln gave the greatest of all presidential addresses. It is little noted that Lincoln was not the keynote speaker.

      The stemwinding orator Edward Everett was. He went on for two hours. No one remembers what he said. Lincoln spoke for three minutes and his words are chiseled on the American soul.”

  • “I understand how Americans are feeling. But Dallas, I’m here to say we must reject such despair. I’m here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem,” ,,, but for many in law enforcement, Obama’s words, while welcome, are greeted with suspicion … They point to perceived slights dating back to his first term, and they believe he has helped stoke the flames of hatred for police. Soon after Obama took office… they sensed they wouldn’t get the same appreciation as shown by his two predecessors, who seemed to have officers’ backs. … Sheriff Paul Babeu…said the president has undermined law enforcement throughout his tenure by raising issues of race and casting aspersions about officers in highly publicized police encounters…. The distrust has only deepened with each police shooting of a black man as they see the president or one of his representatives attend services for the victims…. They point to Obama’s opposition to providing police with surplus military equipment…essential to ensuring their safety and responding effectively to acts of terror … Obama isn’t interested in giving them the tools they need to do their jobs and stay safe. “His policies, time and time again, put officers back on their heels,” … Obama’s words of support for law enforcement ring hollow. “….we look at everything he says and think he’s not genuine”

    It is not so much that we have a clumsy, tactless, class-less, tin eared mutt in the White House as it is that we have the first ever president who actually hates America and seeks to bring his country to its knees by a process he calls “Transformation”.

    This process has been advanced by said mutt having deliberately and persistently stoking the fires of racial hatred and division. Some may be forgiven for wondering if what he has in mind is a total break down in civil order that would justify his imposing martial law and suspending the November election indefinitely “until the crisis has passed.”

    In any event the blood of these murdered Dallas policemen is on the hands of this vicious community organizer.

  • Frayed relationship? OH, REALLY! Why, oh, why could that be????? Could it be because Obama has reflexively taken the side opposing the police without evidence, without letting the judicial system work, without listening to the law enforcement side, assuming police wrongdoing. This is the definition of bias and bigotry–in the White House.

  • I see denial. The real issue is that many feel that the police are killing too many people to often. In our country we were raised to believe “innocent until proven guilty” and “due process” for a “speedy trial.” this is not what is happening too much of the time. Police brutality does happen [lots of statistics and videos] and it needs to be addressed … no white washing. We need good colloidal leadership … an emulsifier with strong adjuvant skills.

    • many feel that the police are killing too many people

      And right there you have identified your problem.

      Far too many of our fellow citizens~~either the notorious Cry Baby Boomers who threaten to tear this country apart or the credulous saps who have also embraced their curriculum vitae, “If it FEEEEEELS good, do it”~~have elevated their precious FEEEEEEEELINGS over cognition in what may laughingly be called their “decision making” process. Thinking for these pitiful half-lings is far too inconvenient and time consuming. Delayed gratification? Self Control? PUH-LEEZE. Much better to act on an instantaneous surge of FEEEEELING than make the effort gather data, evaluate it and come to a logical conclusion.

      No one but a fundamentally lazy blob of twitchy-feely protoplasm masquerading as a member of the species homo sapiens can believe it is the police themselves who are responsible for the White House generated the venomous racial animus now directed at cops.

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