President Biden is marking Police Week with a statement that includes language about the “deep sense of distrust” toward cops by Black and brown Americans and the “trauma” caused by deaths in police custody — a statement described as “beyond disappointing” by one police group.
Biden’s proclamation marking both Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day, begins by praising law enforcement for their wide range of duties in securing public safety.
“Every morning, our Nation’s law enforcement officers pin on a badge and go to work, not knowing what the day will bring, and hoping to come home safely,” the president says, before noting the impact of COVID-19 on the men and women in blue.
“As we recognize Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week, we honor those who lost their lives in the line of duty, and thank them on behalf of this grateful Nation for their service,” he says.
But after promising to support law enforcement “and work to ensure they have the resources and research tools they need to do their jobs successfully and the funding necessary to enhance officer safety and wellness,” the statement begins talking about the alleged harm caused to minority communities by police.
“This year, we also recognize that in many of our communities, especially Black and brown communities, there is a deep sense of distrust towards law enforcement; a distrust that has been exacerbated by the recent deaths of several Black and brown people at the hands of law enforcement,” he says.
Biden has pushed for police reform in the wake of the death of George Floyd, for which the police officer was convicted of murder, and his Department of Justice has returned to the Obama-era practice of issuing consent decrees to crack down on police departments — amid claims by activists and many Democrats that such deaths are caused by systemic racism.
“These deaths have resulted in a profound fear, trauma, pain, and exhaustion for many Black and brown Americans, and the resulting breakdown in trust between law enforcement and the communities they have sworn to protect and serve ultimately makes officers’ jobs harder and more dangerous as well,” Biden wrote. “In order to rebuild that trust, our State, local, and Federal Government and law enforcement agencies must protect constitutional rights, ensure accountability for misconduct, and embrace policing that reflects community values and ensures community safety. These approaches benefit those who wear the badge and those who count on their protection.”
The statements are in stark contrast to those from the overwhelmingly positive proclamations issued by the Trump administration, and even the Obama administration — where a 2016 proclamation included no explicit reference to such controversies and said that cops “care deeply about their communities, and together with our partners in law enforcement, we must work to build up our neighborhoods, prevent crime before it happens, and put opportunity within reach for all our people.”
Biden’s proclamation comes amid a police week that was barely marked by the White House — although Biden did invite illegal immigrants protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to the White House, amid a number of non-cop related events.
“This week we pause to pay respect to our law enforcement officers, particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect their communities,” Jason Johnson, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund told Fox News. “It is beyond disappointing to see the president of the United States continue to perpetuate false and hurtful myths about police, rather than uniting as he claimed he would during the campaign. ”
Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, accused Biden of expressing a “Bash the Blue” attitude toward law enforcement.
“I’m still DISGUSTED that Biden would use his official Police Week statement to suggest that every Cop is a racist. Democrat hatred for our police is outright REPULSIVE,” he tweeted.
The controversy comes as Biden faces continued pressure on policing from the left of his own party, who have pushed for police departments to be defunded entirely.
Fox News reported that Missouri Democratic Rep. Cori Bush on Thursday praised a Black Lives Matter activist who advocated “death” for police officers in 2014 and tweeted the BLM chant “pigs in a blanket fry ’em like bacon.”