During his Tuesday speech, Donald Trump made a special point to again condemn the professional athletes who have kneeled during the national anthem to bring attention to rampant police violence against black Americans; for example the shooting of black children holding toy guns, or of unarmed black teens being shot in the back, or strangling a man to death during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes.
As Trump was condemning these athletes, to thunderous Republican applause, the news that a Baltimore Police Department task force had been caught engaging in a multi-year crime spree against the city’s residents continued to hum in the background, just outside most Americans’ range of hearing. It was revealed that officers in the unit kept toy guns with them, on instructions from their supervisor, in case they murdered someone in cold blood and needed quick justification for the act.
You want robbery? How about the story of the corrupt squad stopping a drug dealer during a traffic stop and robbing him of $6,500, then going to the man’s home without a warrant and taking another $100,000 out of a safe? Sgt. Wayne Jenkins would ask suspected drug dealers, “If you could put together a crew of guys and rob the biggest drug dealer in town, who would it be?” […]
And then there’s the revelation that the supervisor of the unit instructed officers to carry a toy gun just in case they found themselves “in a jam” and needed to plant one. When one of the officers, Marcus Tayor, was arrested, officials couldn’t figure out why he had a toy gun in his glove compartment.
This is what NFL athletes have been protesting, led first by the now apparently forever-unemployable quarterback Colin Kaepernick. And it continues to fall on deaf ears, among Republican leaders—no, it continues to be met with open derision and contempt, among Republican leaders, and with sneers that athletes or anyone else making such a protest are anti-American.
In the meantime there is a task force in Baltimore caught carrying toy guns for the explicit purpose of planting them on Americans they might need or want to murder, and that did not warrant any mention at all.
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