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.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Once again that Muslim ass kissing piece of shit has made it out to be a race thing.
Richard Schwartz says
Don’t hold back!!! Let it rip
Charles Girard says
This man is on the verge of destroying this country with his plain as day racism. He is a sick individual that should have been impeached a few years ago but no balls Republicans wouldn’t do it. Obama said Trump would never be President, their all in this (get rid of Trump shit together.) Vote Trump if you still want a country.
Peter Joffe says
The goals of Islam and Obama is to sow distension where ever they can find it. Good law enforcement is anti the goals of Islam and Obama so create dissension whenever the opportunity arises. A disabled police force is good for Islam. Chaos is the breeding ground for Islam and Obama know that well as he has done it time and again the the Middle east and north Africa..
Obama is responsible for the attacks on police and has fueled the racial division we all face. How can he possibly be taken as sincere in Dallas? Dallas residents appreciate the police and their city. Cops are sworn to protect and enforce the law. Dallas actually does a pretty good job.
No he not, cops killing boys, men even beating raping women most caught on film. You’re just a Obama hater. But you don’t see that?
Hussein Obama = STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES. He lectures the American people ad nauseum and says NOTHING OF VALUE. He’s simply a race baiter.
if you look at the statistics there are more whites shot an killed by police then any other nationality in this great nation. why does it have to be racial? just because we have the first black/Hawaiian/ Muslim or what ever race he is claiming this week should not seperate our great nation and its people. as the saying goes your not black, white, red, yellow, pink or blue. we are americans and thats all there is to it. your not happy in this great nation then pack your ass up and go somewhere you are. bye
Betrayed you? Obama has never been with you ….at any point in his life by the way
Vet's widow says
It is true that Obama has never loved America and All its citizen. He made it very clear that he hated our police when he first became President. Obama grew up in households were two communists and two Muslim were his advisors and parents. Even his books have proven his disdain for the Christian and the American way of life. He is a HATER of American values.
Obama is out to destroy America. Now he is offending the very people that protect us. I can’t wait till he is gone!!!!!!!!!!!
Do as our Lord would have us do…. Treat everyone the same that has red blood…!!!
Roy Fredrichsen says
Turning the other cheek only gets more insults and unconstitutional gun laws. O’Bummer is out to destroy, not build America.
Obama is treasonist to say the least.
I got called a F’…n lying B.’…t for saying what this Article is saying. Someone on YouTube. His remarks was removed before I could even go on YouTube. I guess someone must’ve known about the truth and reported their but.
Obama has taken this Country back to the 60’s. He has wiped away every good thing in 7yrs that took 50 yrs to build. Most of the obsession comes from the imported migrants. They are the ones turning this Country into a hateful Islamic republic.
They don’t like freedom of anyone..
Patricia Bennett says
Imported migrants.. excuse me.. illegal aliens. Many don’t even have green cards and have been here for years. Just because Oslima ordered them in the door does not make them legal.
Don Holland says
Let’s make one thing crystal clear, Obama is complicit in the deaths of those Dallas police just as much as if he pulled the trigger. No time in history has a president disgraced his office like Obama has. He has acted like a shyster lawyer looking for a case to sue. I see very little difference between him and Al Sharpton.
Barry Bishop says
Obama is an ass , same as Hillary, she will finish destroying this great country!
Obama controls Hillary!
He hasn’t just betrayed police but the whole country. People of all colors, faiths and all walks of life.
Aw, poor Donut Nazis are upset…boo freaking hoo!
The Globalizer says
Next time you get stopped for some reason … “Sir, you were swerving”, “Sir, your brake light isn’t working”, and you find yourself looking down the wrong end of a gun, remember this moment.
Be aware that when the government takes over our guns, our homes, our savings, the first to be there will be the police with guns and kevlar vests.
It won’t just be blacks, Hispanics or Muslims … it’ll be all of us … just like in Germany …
“First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
Just beware …
Patricia Bennett says
His very presence is a grievous insult to the family, friends, co-workers of these slain officers. This is the man who race bated non stop for the last eight years, who’s defiled every aspect of the Constitution, who obviously is out to destroy America. I personally find his presence nauseating and so insulting to the memory of these men and all others who have lost their lives in service nothing short of criminal.
Joe Flo says
Amen, Amen indeed!
The article was pretty well-written but with a title that doesn’t really reflect the content. It actually quotes many of the strong words of support the president made. It also reflects the feelings of officers who believe the president has not been as supportive as he should been during his presidency. However, a few points:
1. The president’s position reflects what former Speaker Gingrich recently said about the different reality facing white and black teenagers growing up with regard to the police. And it was Speaker Gingrich who noted that whiles just cannot understand that difference.
2. Offering strong support for the police does not mean ignoring the actions of “bad cops” who violate their solemn oath to protect and defend our Constitution especially as they become those “domestic enemies”.
3. Our president’s talk
Justin W says
President Obama has consistently sided against the police in each of these confrontations. Using the 2009 example, he should have said an investigation of the incident would take place and left it at that. To say that the police acted stupidly likely infuriated police officers around the nation.
In his 2008 campaign Sen. Barack Obama was a very well spoken orator. Unfortunately he has provided a steady stream of stupid remarks since becoming president. When he called the policeman’s stupid he made it much easier for the rest of us to call him stupid, incompetent, corrupt, unAmerican, etc.
Josh Wilson says
Keep the comments coming, and this year vote for those who will preserve our country. Support all attempts at destroying everything this president has done which weakens our constitution and bill of rights. Make sure history labels this fool the absolute worst president and a true racist.
i’m glad that The Horn quoted D’OweBama’s words of support(finally) for police. i’m ALSO glad that they reported that most of the police attending doubted the sincerity and veracity of his words.
D’OweBama should consider himself lucky.
The last time i heard the phrase “Dallas Motorcade,” things didn’t turn out so well. Of course, D’OweBama hasn’t pissed off the Money Masters like Kennedy did, either. He wouldn’t dare. He’s too cowardly for that. He knows where his bread is buttered, and he wants to keep it buttered for the rest of his miserable life.
Haven’t you noticed that since Obama became the president of the United State of America more problems caused by black people? If you read what he wrote in Facebook you will know that he pours more oil into the fire. Black people know that he is on his side so they are too proud of what they are doing. They know they they have someone becoming their backbone. He wants Hillary Clinton to follow his food step. Vote for Trump so Trump would help us taken down that road.!!
Myra Wilson says
Remember the old saying ” One rotten apple can spoil the whole bunch”. This is what is happening today. Rotten policemen are making the entire police community look suspicious. Pray for a change in their attitude instead of blaming the President for doing his job, and for more wisdom and understanding on your part to see and know how government works because it is obvious that several of you do not possess this knowledge. Remember that Congress runs the government with their law making decisions So if anyone has ruined this country, it is Congress.