Trump Understands Danger Of Anti-Police Movement
President Trump sent a tweet out yesterday praising Chicago Police officers for demonstrating at the City Council meeting calling for the city to start backing the police rather than throwing them under the bus.
It was a welcome show of support for a police department under fire from almost every corner in the city, from a bizarre consent decree to a renegade civilian oversight agency declaring legitimate shootings are bad.
The president’s support for the police is nothing new. It goes back decades and takes many forms. In fact, the president has shown a keen understanding of how the anti-police movement that climaxed in the Obama administration truly works—and his willingness to stand up to it.
Consider one of its darkest chapters, the settlement to five youths convicted for a 1989 brutal rape/attempted murder of a jogger in Central Park in one of the first “wilding” incidents in a major city. The brutality of the crime attracted national attention. The youths pushed the narrative for years that they were framed by detectives to confess to the crimes.
For his entire tenure as mayor of New York, Republican Michael Bloomberg refused to settle the “Central Park Five” case, even after modern DNA tests revealed that the sample came from another man—a serial rapist serving a sentence in prison for another rape and murder. Prosecutors balked at the DNA evidence, saying that investigators argued from the outset that there were numerous offenders, some of whom had not been brought to justice.
Nevertheless, a chorus of media and activists, including Al Sharpton, kept pushing the bizarre narrative that New York detectives framed the youths, who had already been arrested the night of the attack for their wilding exploits in other areas of Central Park.
Sharpton and the wrongful conviction crowd, including the Innocence Project from New York, engaged in a ceaseless media and public relations campaign. Filmmaker Ken Burns’s daughter, Sarah Burns, made a documentary about the case. Still, Republican Mayor Bloomberg stood by the cops and prosecutors and would not settle.
Things changed when Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio got elected. Just a few months into his administration, de Blasio wrote the youths a massive check, some $40 million.
Donald Trump, then a businessman, spoke out against the attack when it first happened, denouncing the youths and calling for strict penalties for violent criminals. And then, when de Blasio announced he would write a check to the youths amidst the hysteria created around the case, Trump doubled down.
“They admitted they were guilty,” he said. “The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous.”
Imagine that. Trump actually spoke to the detectives who worked the investigation, detectives one would not see interviewed in Sarah Burns’s documentary about the case.
Nevertheless, in a condescending voice reminiscent of Chicago journalists like Eric Zorn, Sarah Burns scolded Trump.
From the New York Times:
“Mr. Trump is apparently ignorant of our country’s epidemic of wrongful convictions, which disproportionately affect minorities, and the prevalence of false confessions in those convictions.”
Is he really?
On the contrary, President Trump has demonstrated a keen knowledge of the anti-police movement that has undermined law and order throughout the country, often in the name of social justice, all the way back to the Central Park Five travesty. His worldview of the justice system could not be more opposed than his predecessor, Barack Obama, whose Department of Justice wreaked havoc on local police departments through menacing consent decrees and anti-police justices and advocates.
But the damage to the criminal justice system in New York by the Central Park Five case is nothing compared to the movement in Chicago. Here there are a litany of cases that are just as suspicious as the Central Park Five, crying out to be reviewed. These cases would go a long way in undermining the entire anti-police mythology that reverberates so powerfully throughout all Chicago’s institutions.
And if there is any public figure who has demonstrated the knowledge and courage to bring the long process of setting this mythology right, it is President Donald Trump.