Things That Matter

President Trump’s Executive Order Is A Hollow Gesture That Supports Current Policing Practices

President Donald Trump made a big deal about signing an executive order to address the current demands for police reform. What he delivered was a piece of paper with no merit and a full-throated defense of the police.

President Donald Trump signed his police reform executive order and there is no real reform.

Trump’s executive order incentivizes local and state police departments to do better with their policing practices. The wording in the executive order offers police department discretionary grants from the Department of Justice to pursue and implement independent credentialing.

According to the order, police departments would be eligible for the discretionary fund must create a database that reports police complaints of excessive force.

“The database described in subsection (a) of this section shall include a mechanism to track, as permissible, terminations or de-certifications of law enforcement officers, criminal convictions of law enforcement officers for on-duty conduct, and civil judgments against law enforcement officers for improper use of force,” reads the order. “The database described in subsection (a) of this section shall account for instances where a law enforcement officer resigns or retires while under active investigation related to the use of force.  The Attorney General shall take appropriate steps to ensure that the information in the database consists only of instances in which law enforcement officers were afforded fair process.”

However, the data from the database will periodically be made available to the public but it will be anonymous. Americans will have access to the data but not to the extent protesters are demanding. It allows for police officers accused of police brutality to continue to live in secret.

Critics of the executive order say that it does not go far enough in addressing the issue at hand of improper and deadly police behavior.

“The President’s weak Executive Order falls sadly and seriously short of what is required to combat the epidemic of racial injustice and police brutality that is murdering hundreds of Black Americans,” reads Nancy Pelosi’s response. “The Executive Order lacks meaningful, mandatory accountability measures to end misconduct.  During this moment of national anguish, we must insist on bold change, not meekly surrender to the bare minimum.”

The executive order doesn’t compel local and state law enforcement to change their practices. Rather, the order reads as a suggestion offering things that can be done without any real power behind it.

“The State or local law enforcement agency’s use-of-force policies prohibit the use of chokeholds — a physical maneuver that restricts an individual’s ability to breathe for the purposes of incapacitation — except in those situations where the use of deadly force is allowed by law,” reads a part of the executive order.

The executive order uses some of the keywords in demands made by protesters. Yet, the wording is leaving a lot of room for interpretation. Namely, the wording about the chokehold ban.

Visually, people are stunned at the people surrounding Trump at the Rose Garden when he addressed the order.

Trump claimed to have met with the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Botham Jean, Antwon Rose, Jemel Roberson, Atatiana Jefferson, Michael Dean, Darius Tarver, Cameron Lamb, and Everett Palmer. However, they were not in the crowd or behind the podium with Trump during the address.

According to CNN, the crowd of people at the address were representatives of police and law enforcement unions.

One thing absent from the order is anything to address police qualified immunity.

The topic of qualified immunity has intensified in recent days. Qualified immunity is what protects police officers from being sued by the victims or victims’ families impacted by police brutality. As it stands, police officers are protected from civil repercussions tied to police brutality.

READ: This Is What Protesters Actually Mean When They’re Calling For Cities To ‘Defund The Police’

There’s Still More To Do But Black Lives Matter Protests Have Resulted In These Major Police Reforms

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There’s Still More To Do But Black Lives Matter Protests Have Resulted In These Major Police Reforms

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, the country has struggled with how to best respond to police brutality and racial inequality. Millions of Americans (and millions more around the world) have poured into the streets demanding justice and police accountability.

Although more Black Americans have been killed by police since the death of George Floyd – and long before him – police reform is finally starting to take shape. Several communities across the United States are discussing ways to defund and restructure their police forces and their entire approach to supporting and protecting communities.

Although several victories have already been won, there is still so much work to do to ensure that #BlackLivesMatter.

Minneapolis will defund and dismantle their police force.

The Minneapolis City Council on Friday unanimously approved a proposal to change the city charter to allow the Police Department to be dismantled – this is the first step in removing the police force.

The 12-0 vote is just the first step in a process that still faces significant obstacles to make the November ballot, where the city’s voters would have the final say. Activists have long accused the department of being unable to change a racist and brutal culture, and earlier this month, a majority of the council proclaimed support for dismantling the department.

Draft language of the amendment posted online would replace the department with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, “which will have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach

Cities such as New York and Los Angeles are defunding their police departments.

Credit: Emily Uite/ Getty Images

Aside from completely dismantling the police, several major cities have committed to defunding their police departments. “Defund the police” has become a common protest chant, as protesters want to see the billions of dollars spent on police equipment and enforcement to instead be spent on investing in communities.

Several jurisdictions have implemented total bans on the police use of choke holds – like the one that killed Eric Gardner.

The NYPD has long banned the use of chokeholds, however, their ban is so often ignored by officers that viral videos of NYPD cops using the deadly maneuver are common. But the New York City Council has just adopted an ordinance that officially makes police use of a chokehold a misdemeanor offense.

The legal ban has already been put into action as an NYPD officer was caught on video using one against a suspect. That officer has already been fired and charged.

Although several police departments have long banned the chokehold – for example, the LAPD banned them 40 years ago – cities are now starting to actually attempt to enforce the ban with legal consequences.

For the first time in decades, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a police reform bill.

Democrats and Republicans are deadlocked over how to address racial inequities in policing, despite strong public sentiment for effective reform after Floyd died in Minneapolis as a white policeman knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

In June, the House passed sweeping legislation to address racial inequality in policing but the bill is all but dead on arrival in the Senate, and has a formal veto threat from Trump.

The bill addresses chokeholds, no-knock warrants, police body cameras, use of deadly force, and training to de-escalate confrontations with suspects and to encourage officer intervention against illegal conduct as it occurs.

And one thing is clear – these reforms have the support of most Americans.

Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Most Americans believe that change must be made to law enforcement across the nation and that reforms are needed to reduce police brutality against Black Americans.

The poll, which was conducto de by Ipsos on behalf of Public Agenda and USA TODAY, found that about three in four people surveyed say racial bias against Black Americans is a serious problem in the U.S.

The poll found several reforms that focused around training and diversity in policing had support from three-quarters or more of respondents: requiring all officers to undergo training on de-escalation tactics to avoid the use of force, requiring all officers to undergo training on how to be less racially biased and recruiting more Black Americans to become police officers.

Even more popular: transparency reforms. Nine in 10 respondents supported having officers wear body cameras, 8 in 10 supported requiring police departments to publicly report all incidents involving the use of force within 72 hours, and nearly as many supported creating a national public database of officers who have used excessive force – and prohibiting other jurisdictions from rehiring them.

Reddit Deletes ‘r/The_Donald’ SubReddit For Violating Terms Of Use On The Platform

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Reddit Deletes ‘r/The_Donald’ SubReddit For Violating Terms Of Use On The Platform

Noam Galai / Getty Images for TechCrunch

Social media platforms are under a lot of pressure to target and regulate hate speech. Major platforms like Facebook have remained defiant despite studies showing that Facebook algorithm regularly suggests people to and monetize hate speech content and groups. Reddit, one social media giant, just delivered a major victory in the fight against social media hate speech.

The infamous subreddit “r/The_Donald,” which celebrated President Trump, has been banned.

The group on Reddit had more than 790,000 members who supported, defended, idolized, and praised President Donald Trump. The thread was filled with memes, viral videos, and comments in support of the president and his actions. Reddit executives officially banned the thread for violating parts of its terms and conditions.

The purging of “r/The_Donald” is part of a larger purging of political threads that violate hate speech terms and conditions.

“Reddit is a place for community and belonging, not for attacking people,” Steve Huffman, the company’s chief executive, said in a call with reporters, according to The New York Times. “‘The_Donald’ has been in violation of that.”

According to The New York Times, Reddit banned 2,000 threads spanning the political spectrum. One of the other groups is “r/chapotraphouse,” which is known for being an extreme socialist group driving people to Bernie Sanders. Chapo Trap House has gone so far as to release a manifesto specifically for anyone who feels alienated.

The subreddit is responsible for some of the most dangerous and debunked conspiracy theories in recent history.

In 2016, an insidious conspiracy theory spread through social media about a pedophile ring in Washington D.C. The pedophile ring was allegedly organized in the basement of a local pizza place and referred to as Pizzagate. However, the pizza place accused does not have a basement. Nevertheless, the conspiracy theory grew and spread until one man showed up armed with guns threatening the employees and patrons.

“r/The_Donald” users were angered by Reddit’s decision to take down a thread promoting the debunked conspiracy theory. Many claimed that Reddit was censoring the group trying to peddle the false story.

The removal of the subreddit is welcomed news to some.

According to The New York Times, Reddit executives had no option but to shut down the thread due to noncompliance. Officials for the social media platform had allegedly engaged with moderators of “r/The_Donald” to regulate users to adhere to terms and conditions.

“We’ve given them many opportunities to be successful,” Huffman told The New York Times. “The message is clear that they have no intention of working with us.”

READ: Reddit Sleuths Are Taking A User To Task For Posting An AMA About Supposedly Meeting His PenPal After 15 Years