Divergent

On Sunday, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump vented his frustration with the media when he tweeted this (mis)understanding of the Constitution:

rump Twee

Credit: Twitter

Of course, any fourth grader could tell you it is “freedom of the press” which allows the media to publish and broadcast what they wish. What’s truly sad is that this isn’t the first time Trump has shown he doesn’t understand the First Amendment.

In a statement responding to Khizr Khan’s DNC speech, the GOP candidate wrote Mr. Khan “…has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things.”

Yes, he really released that.

At no point in her career as First Lady, New York Senator or Secretary of State has Hillary Clinton ever given me reason to suspect she doesn’t understand our country’s founding document. Trump, on the other hand, I think would struggle with a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

Contrary to what your Green Party supporting co-worker posts on Facebook, the two major party candidates are not comparable.

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Credit: Getty Images

Another bullshit social media status update that needs to be retired: Clinton is the “lesser of two evils.”

While Clinton has tweeted support for “#BlackLivesMatter,” I’ve lost count of the number of times Donald Trump has published a retweet that originated from a white supremacy source.

Trump infamously retweeted a graphic last November claiming blacks were responsible for 81% of white deaths in a single year. The actual percentage of whites killed by blacks is 15%.

The graphic originated from @cheesedBrit. The account’s avatar was a Neo-Nazi symbol and the profile read “…we should have listened to the Austrian chap with the little mustache [sic].”

Clinton and Trump offer far different solutions to the issues currently facing our nation. One such issue in particular: criminal justice reform.

Last week, the Department of Justice released a scathing report which documented racial bias within the Baltimore Police Department and thousands of constitutional rights violations carried out by officers against the city’s citizens.

According to the report:

  • “Officers made 520 stops for every 1,000 black residents in Baltimore, but only 180 stops for every 1,000 Caucasian residents.”
  • BPD officers recorded over 300,000 pedestrian stops from January 2010-May 2015. 44% of the stops were made in “two small, predominately African-American districts that contain only 11% of the city’s population.” The report reads “BPD’s stops often lack reasonable suspicion.”
  • “Baltimore’s Central Booking and local prosecutors rejected over 11,000 charges made by BPD officers because they lacked probable cause…”
  • During the five and a half years of data the DOJ investigated, African Americans were 95% of the 410 individuals “BPD stopped at least ten times.”
  • “One African American man in his mid-fifties was stopped 30 times in less than four years.” Of the 30 stops, not a single one resulted in a citation or charge.
  • African Americans made up 86% of all criminal offenses charged by BPD officers even though they account for only 63% of Baltimore’s residents.

If you have a case of déjà vu, it’s likely because a similar DOJ investigation last year also found the Ferguson Police Department guilty of Constitutional rights violations and racial bias.

Unfortunately, departments like that of Baltimore and Ferguson show that the problem is a bit more than “a few bad apples.” In some cases, it’s the fucking tree.

Last month, I praised the Dallas Police Department and the incredible example they set under Chief David Brown as to what a police department should be.

What policies do the candidates propose to insure departments are more like Dallas than that of Baltimore or Ferguson?

Donald Trump hasn’t spoken in detail about criminal justice reform and doesn’t address the issue on his official campaign site. However, there is this 44-second video:

After mentioning the lone “bad apple,” Trump’s solution is to give the police “more authority” and “far more respect.” A bias within law enforcement (such as in Baltimore) isn’t the problem to Trump… the citizens are.

Trump’s broad claim that our nation’s police are “not appreciated” is part of his divisive rhetoric playing into an ‘us vs. them’ narrative between law enforcement itself and citizens advocating for reform.  Specifically, Trump is attacking Black Lives Matter.

As I’ve written before, support for our police and Black Lives Matter are not mutually exclusive.

I am a strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and the criminal justice reform changes for which they have advocated through the Campaign Zero site… Trump, not so much.

Just days before his Black Mirror-worthy Republican National Convention acceptance speech last month, Trump discussed the movement in a phone interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.

Trump described BLM as “…essentially calling death to the police.” This is a lie. BLM hasn’t called for the death of police officers and the group condemned the Dallas mass shooting that resulted in the deaths of five police officers.

During the interview, Trump offers more of a (vague) solution to the BLM protests than to the actual issue they’re protesting against:

“…we are going to have to, perhaps, talk with the Attorney General about it or do something, but at a minimum, we’re going to have to be watching.”

It appears Trump is struggling with understanding the freedom to assemble. This guy really needs to borrow Khizr Khan’s pocket Constitution.

Unlike Trump, you can easily find Hillary Clinton’s criminal justice reform proposals on her official campaign site. Which include:

  • Committing $1 billion in her first budget to fund the best training programs and “support new research”
  • Invest in training and programs focused on “use of force, de-escalation, community policing and problem solving, alternatives to incarceration, crisis intervention, and officer safety and wellness.”
  • Support legislation to end racial profiling.
  • Making body cameras available to every police department.
  • Strengthen the Department of Justice’s civil rights violations monitoring unit.
  • Reform mandatory minimum sentencing.
  • Prioritizing rehabilitation for nonviolent drug offenders over incarceration.
  • Ending privatization of prisons.

Clinton had multiple landmark moments during her convention acceptance speech last month, including mentioning the term “systemic racism”:

“So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism, and are made to feel like their lives are disposable.”

Last October, Clinton met with members of Black Lives Matter to discuss her criminal justice reform proposals.

In February, Clinton received the endorsement from the “Mothers of the Movement.” The group consisting of the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Ganrer, Dontre Hamilton, Jordan Davis and Sandra Bland.

“I think about my son day in and day out, I live with this day in and day out, these mothers live with this day in and day out, and we have an opportunity to have someone who is gonna stand up for us as African Americans, for us as women, I say my vote goes to Hillary Clinton,” Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, said during the February speaking engagement endorsing Clinton.

The now nine-woman group also made an emotional appearance at last month’s Democratic National Convention.

While Clinton has reached out to the communities of people of color to build a solution, Trump has turned to divisiveness.

“As a police officer that has served for more than 30 years, let me say this: We can respect and support our police officers while also pushing for important reforms,” Police Chief Cameron McLay said from the DNC stage. “We can and must do both.”

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Credit: WFMZ

 

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