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President Trump paired an executive order on police reform with a full-throated defense of law enforcement — but made no mention of the racism that has fueled weeks of protests. Details on the guidelines lead your mid-week briefing.
WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
President Trump issued an executive order on police standards. Repeating his opposition to “the radical and dangerous efforts to defund, dismantle and dissolve our police departments,” President Trump unveiled guidelines that call for the Justice Department to create a national database of officers fired, convicted, or subject to civil judgments for misconduct or improper use of force. The registry could help prevent cops with histories of violence or biased policing from simply moving on to other departments. But Trump’s order would not end the “qualified immunity” that can protect police from facing legal repercussions even for egregious behavior. What else is in the order: The Department of Justice would “prioritize” (Trump’s word) grants to departments that certify that they’ve strengthened deescalation training and use-of-force standards, including banning chokeholds (which many cities and states already ban) “except if an officer’s life is at risk.” The orders further encourage departments to create “co-responder” programs pairing social workers and other specialists with police officers on mental health, substance abuse, and homelessness calls. Trump said his announcement followed a meeting with several families of Black people killed by police. None of them appeared at the signing, during which Trump was flanked by law enforcement officials. The New York Times noted that “the order will have little immediate impact.” An Amnesty International official said it “amounts to a Band-Aid for a bullet wound.”
A look at why some activists are fed up with incremental police reforms. A Guardian article cites a lengthy list of cities that have imposed restrictions on the use of force, implicit bias training, de-escalation techniques, and body cameras — only to have officers continue to kill, harm, or harass people of color. Compliance with new policies can lag, and powerful police unions protect officers who violate them. For activists who support defunding or abolishing the traditional law enforcement system, the only way to remedy the racism embedded in American policing is to develop alternative models of public safety that limit or end officers’ interactions with the public. “The issue is not a ‘bad apples’ problem,” one organizer said. “There is something specific about the institution of policing that is intrinsically violent.”
FBI: Anti-government extremists charged with killing officers used Black Lives Matter protest as cover. The bureau said that an Air Force sergeant and his accomplice went to Oakland, California, during a demonstration on May 29 “to kill cops.” Once there, they shot two federal security officers, one fatally, outside a government building with an AR-15-style “ghost gun” outfitted with a silencer. The pair, alleged members of the anti-government “boogaloo” movement, were also charged in the killing of a sheriff’s deputy in Santa Cruz during an ambush-style attack on June 6 that wounded four other officers.
Citing protests, truckers group wants to make it easier for drivers to carry guns across state lines. The United States Transportation Alliance, which advocates against government regulation on behalf of truck drivers, is pushing lawmakers to allow commercial drivers to carry their concealed weapons across the country, regardless of individual state laws that don’t recognize out-of-state permits. National reciprocity for concealed gun licenses has been a top priority for the National Rifle Association, but Republican-sponsored bills have stalled in Congress.
Chicago aldermen launch push to remove police from schools. If passed, the “Police Free Schools Ordinance” would force the Chicago Police Department to end the contract under which it places uniformed officers — each armed with “2 loaded guns and 4 magazines of 15 bullets, 1 canister of pepper spray, 1 taser and 2 taser cartridges, 1 expandable baton, and 1 pair of handcuffs each” — in city schools. Chicago’s public school system spends $33 million a year on the school resource officers. School districts in Minneapolis, Denver, and Seattle have suspended or severed their ties to local police departments in the face of protests over police brutality.
GOP Senate candidate in Kansas says guns stolen from truck. Kris Kobach, a prominent right-wing conservative known for his anti-immigrant views, reported to officers in Wichita on Saturday that three long guns and a handgun were taken by thieves who broke into his pickup truck, which was parked in a hotel parking garage. Kobach has been endorsed by the National Association for Gun Rights. A deeper dive: Through rising gun theft, American gun owners are inadvertently arming the very criminals they fear. Read our 2017 investigation here.
5 years ago today, a white supremacist opened fire at a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people, including a state senator.