Trump’s Sudden, Touching Concern for Overzealous Policing

Trump’s Sudden, Touching Concern for Overzealous Policing February 4, 2019

After advocating the death penalty for several young men of color even after DNA proved they could not have committed the crime and actually encouraging police to rough up protesters at his rallies, Donald Trump and other conservatives have suddenly discovered a deep concern for police tactics. It involves a wealthy white man of course — Roger Stone. Chris Hayes shuts down their hypocrisy:

CHRIS HAYES (HOST): Irving Kristol famously quipped, “A neo-conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality.” But for Roger Stone and Trump TV, it seems that a liberal is a conservative who just got raided by the FBI.

It is pretty wild that FBI agents in body armor wielding large weapons conducted a pre-dawn raid at the home of a 66-year-old nonviolent offender. But also, welcome to America, Sean Hannity! First of all the FBI was trying to keep Stone from destroying evidence, they say, and as Senator Richard Blumenthal wrote, “Under those circumstances, a pre-dawn raid is entirely in keeping with standard protocol.” But also as Radley Balko, who’s a phenomenal journalist, has documented in his essential book about the militarization of America’s police forces, Rise of the Warrior Cop, SWAT raids in this country are an epidemic. They’re used for minor alleged crimes like selling marijuana. SWAT teams have been known to invade the wrong house, to kill pets, even to throw a flash bang grenade into a two-year-old’s crib and leave a hole in his chest.

The central question of this era in Trump’s America, it seems to me, is who does the law protect and who does it hold to account? What Roger Stone’s defenders are objecting to is that he got a small taste of the treatment for people who are less wealthy and less white and less well-connected.

There were, in fact, very good reasons for this show of force when making the arrest. Stone is a man who has posted pictures of himself with automatic weapons with captions about a second civil war and has often advocated violence. And if any of these civil libertarians of convenience showed even the slightest concern about for the rights of anyone other than wealthy white men who are on their side politically, one might take their crocodile tears seriously. As it is, I’m just going to point and laugh.

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