I have an important question to ask any lawyers or Constitutional scholars out there: can the president be removed from office for inciting police brutality?
On Thursday, “President” Trump spoke to law enforcement officers at Suffolk County Community College in Long Island in what was touted as a “law and order” speech. Among the problematic things he said was encouraging police to hurt prisoners.
“When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon—you just see them thrown in, rough—I said, “Please don’t be too nice.” Like when you guys put somebody in the car, and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put the hand over? Like, don’t hit their head, and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head. I said, “You can take the hand away, OK?”
The immediate response to that from police in the audience was applause; the response from Police Chiefs was much the opposite. Groups like the International Association of Chiefs of Pollice to the poliece chiefs of Boston, Houston, New Orleans, and New York have criticized the “president” for encouraging police brutality. The Chiefs of Police needed to speak up because as head law enforcement officers, they are required to follow the law—as opposed to Trump who hasn’t seen a law that he hasn’t broken in some way. This is not the first time Trump has spoken to incite violence, especially during the primaries, but this has gone too far.
Our country is going through an epidemic of police shootings, especially of unarmed Black and Latino people. The Blue Wall of Silence that is inherent in police departments and the abuse stemming from overzealous police does not help, but put that aside for a second; having the leader of our country not only advocate but encourage a practice in our police that we are trying to stop is problematic to say the least. This is an ethics violation if there ever was one. He is encouraging police to violate an arrestee’s civil and constitutional rights. One retired police detective called Trumps remarks as “treasonous.” If “President” Trump is actively inciting violence against people, he is working against the Constitution, thus violating the oath of office he took. So isn’t this grounds to justify his removal from office? Please correct me if I’m wrong. But if I’m not, please let us know what we or Congress needs to do to get him out of there.