Critics of former President Donald Trump, from progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) to right-wing Never Trump conservatives like attorney George Conway and the Washington Post’s Max Boot, have been warning that if Trump wins the 2024 election, his second administration will do everything it can to destroy the United States’ system of checks and balances.
In his September 5 newsletter, liberal Philadelphia Inquirer opinion columnist Will Bunch takes their warnings a step further — arguing that if a full-fledged authoritarian state does take over the U.S., “violent reactionary policing” will play a prominent role in it.
“If you remember the late John Singleton’s classic 1991 film ‘Boyz n the Hood,’ you can’t forget the constant, buzzing presence of police helicopters over South Central L.A., reminding the youthful protagonists they are always under watch in a modern police state,” Bunch writes. “Three decades have passed, and for all the talk about changing the police, the only real change is that cops have gone high-tech.”
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After George Floyd’s murder in June 2020, Bunch laments, the U.S. “decided to double down on repressive law enforcement instead of cleaning up its act.”
“Increasingly, cops are enforcing right-wing politics,” Bunch observes. “In Telford, a Philadelphia exurb, an online activist was stunned to get a letter from the local police chief threatening to arrest her for ‘maliciously harassing’ the right-wing extremist group Moms for Liberty. This comes on the heels of a widely publicized raid of a small-town Kansas newspaper that had investigated prominent locals, including the new police chief, and an incident in St. Louis in which a member of a jail monitoring board raced to the facility after an inmate died ― only to be arrested by the cops.”
The columnist adds that “police violence is flourishing” in the U.S., noting examples that range from police in Ohio shooting an unarmed pregnant woman to the fatal shooting of motorist Eddie Irizarry in Philadelphia.
“Police killings in 2022 set a recent record high, although the pace has diminished slightly this year,” Bunch warns. “It feels important to see out-of-control, violent or politicized policing in the proper context — not as a random story that occasionally intrudes on the nonstop news of Donald Trump’s 50-50 chance of becoming 47th president despite his indictments, but as a subplot of the same narrative. The powerful, ultra-conservative police unions mostly endorsed Trump in 2016 and 2020, and that ridiculous phalanx of motorcycle cops at his Atlanta arrest was a visual reminder that the police support him more than ever — despite his growing rap sheet.”
READ MORE:The ‘out of step’ GOP has entered the ‘bunker stage’ — but there’s hope: authoritarian expert
Read Will Bunch’s full Philadelphia Inquirer column at this link (subscription required).
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