President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would ‘dominate the streets with compassion’ as he prepares to release his plan for police reform in the wake of national protests after the death of George Floyd.
Trump traveled to the Gateway Church in Dallas, Texas, for an economic roundtable on the state’s reopening amid the coronavirus crisis. But police reform took center stage after Black Lives Matter protesters demanded action after Floyd, a black man, died as the result of a white police officer kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes.
President Trump, in his first remarks on police reform since Floyd’s death, described his response to the protests as ‘dominating’ but with ‘compassion.’
‘We are doing it with compassion, if you think about it. We are dominating the street with compassion,’ he said.
Notably, the top Dallas law enforcement officials were not invited to the event. All three – Dallas Police Chief Reneé Hall, Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown, and Dallas District Attorney John Creuzot – are African American.
The roundtable included African American leaders from the fields of religion, law enforcement, and small business owners.
The president announced he was taking four steps on police reform, including one that would ‘finalize an executive order that will encourage police departments nationwide to meet the most current professional standards for the use of force and that means force but force with compassion.’
The other steps include fostering economic development in minority communities, addressing healthcare disparities by race and providing more school choice.
Speaking at a campaign-style event, Trump also said his administration would invest more in police training.
President Trump repeatedly stated his support for police and said progress would not be made by calling millions of Americans ‘racists.’
‘In recent days, there has been vigorous discussion about how to ensure fairness, equality and justice for all of our people,’ Trump said.
‘Unfortunately, there’s some trying to stoke division and to push an extreme agenda – which we won’t go for – that will produce only more poverty, more crime, more suffering. This includes radical efforts to defund, dismantle and disband the police,’ he added.
He was repeatedly cheered on by the crowd – his reference to the coronavirus as ‘the plague from China’ drew both laughs and applause. The audience sat next to one another in disregard for social distancing guidelines. Most did not wear masks.
Near the church was a large group of Trump protesters with signs reading ‘Dump dumb Trump,’ ‘F*** Trump’ and ‘F*** your orange Cheeto looking a**.’
There was also a group of Trump supporters with signs that said ‘Women for Trump’ and ‘Trump 2020.’
There were some local law enforcement at the event, including Vernell Dooley, the Police Chief of nearby Glenn Heights and state Attorney General Ken Paxton.
There were also two police union officials at a time when police unions’ conduct is under increasing scrutiny: Michael Mata, President of the Dallas Police Association, and Manny Ramirez, the President of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association.
After the Trump administration used force to remove Black Lives Matter protesters from Lafayette Square – the area around the White House – President Trump was criticized by Democrats, some Republicans and several prominent retired members of the military.
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Source: Daily Mail