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Kenneth L. Hardin: Show me the lie in Biden’s statement

By Kenneth L. Hardin

I took offense to an online scathing story of Trump-loving Republicans being upset with President Joe Biden because of remarks he made at a ceremony honoring law enforcement officers during National Police Week. 

Biden stated, “This year, we also recognize that in many of our communities, especially Black and Brown communities, there is a deep sense of distrust towards law enforcement; a distrust that has been exacerbated by the recent deaths of several Black and Brown people at the hands of law enforcement. These deaths have resulted in a profound fear, trauma, pain, and exhaustion for many Black and Brown Americans, and the resulting breakdown in trust between law enforcement and the communities they have sworn to protect and serve ultimately makes officers’ jobs harder and more dangerous as well. In order to rebuild that trust, our state, local and federal government and law enforcement agencies must protect constitutional rights, ensure accountability for misconduct and embrace policing that reflects community values and ensures community safety.” 

Show me the lie.

Folks like Lou Dobbs, former Trump airhead, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnaney and several other Trump congressional acolytes clutched their pearls and acted shockingly aghast at the truth in his words. They played the game of being so highly offended that Biden would bash police officers and speak out against the men in blue. They started a barrage of tweets filled with empty rhetorical nonsense. Dobbs tweeted that Biden furthered division with his remarks, but I ask all of the Trump-loving sycophants to examine what the president said and help me understand, with so many Black men and women being killed by police, what was wrong with his statement? 

The paint hadn’t dried on the George Floyd murder trial when Elizabeth City exploded with another unarmed Black man being shot and killed by police under questionable circumstances. Before that family could wipe away their tears, video was being released at the time of the president’s words that another Black man died at the hands of law enforcement. Jamal Sutherland was mentally ill and in a cell in South Carolina awaiting a bond hearing. When he refused to leave his cell, he was pepper-sprayed, tasered and ultimately killed. So, now we can add resisting to go to a bond hearing, which was not mandatory, to the list of things Black people can be killed for. All those who are upset with the president won’t acknowledge what he had the courage to do. They won’t recognize there is a problem in this country between law enforcement and the Black and brown communities. They would rather engage in mudslinging and finger pointing instead of trying to drill down and get to the root of understanding why, and implementing strategies to lessen the divide. 

How many more mothers do we have to watch on TV crying over their Black sons being gunned down or killed by police under questionable circumstances with no semblance of justice? Those who oppose the president’s words and try to weaponize them into hate and division have their fingerprints on the gun of every Black man and woman killed. Instead of acknowledging the truth, demanding accountability and pushing for reform, they want to make it a divisive racial issue and say, if you question the police, you’re somehow against them. They’re creating the “Us vs. Them” divide that’s so prevalent across this country and why we see no progress in the relationship. 

As an elected official several years ago, I was eating breakfast with the mayor and newly arrived police chief. I posed a question to them about some strategies they would use to lessen the mistrust between the police and the Black community in this city. Crickets. In a later conversation with the chief over the difficulties they were having getting help from the Black community in the murder of a 7-year-old child, he said to me, “I’m getting tired of all this Black people don’t trust the police nonsense.” After I flew red hot in the room and unloaded on him, he immediately apologize and walked backed his words. Therein lies the problem. When no validity is given to the mental and emotional state of the Black community about seeing their community being targeted, their voice being silenced. If they do speak, being labeled as hating all police, a trusting relationship will never exist. 

If people don’t stop playing politics with this issue and put in real efforts to lessen the divide, we’ll continue to see mothers crying and law enforcement funeral processions on the TV news. I’m tired of both.

Kenneth L. Hardin is a writer who lives in Salisbury, a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and a former Salisbury City Council member. He can be reached at hardingroupllc@gmail.com.

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