Ignore Trump's George Floyd 'sympathy' – here's all the times he trashed people who protest police brutality
Getty

Donald Trump might be devoting most of his Twitter feed to sharing ‘news’ about Obamagate, but he did break his flow briefly to comment on the killing of George Floyd.

Calling Floyd’s death in police custody “very sad and tragic”, Trump said he had requested an expedited investigation from the FBI and Department of Justice and that “justice will be served”.

It’s a surprising move from the president, given past comments regarding police brutality.

In a 2017 speech, Trump seemingly encouraged police officers to inflict violence upon suspects, urgin law enforcement not to be “too nice”.

Speaking to officers at Suffolk Community College in New York, the president said:

When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just seen them thrown in, rough. I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.

When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head you know, the way you put their hand over [their head]. 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?'

I have to tell you, you know, the laws are so horrendously stacked against us, because for years and years, they've been made to protect the criminal. Totally made to protect the criminal. Not the officers. You do something wrong, you're in more jeopardy than they are.

George Floyd died after being stopped on suspicion of a non-violent crime and being pinned down by four officers, one of whom kneeled on his neck while Floyd gasped “I can’t breathe”.

Following Trump’s 2017 speech, the Suffolk County Police department tweeted a veiled reference to his comments, reminding people of its “strict” policy regarding handling prisoners.

“As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners”, one tweet posted by SCPD read.

Trump has also slammed people who publicly protested police brutality, like NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick embarked on a high-profile demonstration to police brutality against black people by ‘taking the knee’ while the US national anthem played at football games.

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour,” Kaepernick said after beginning his protest.

To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

Although Kaepernick wasn’t the first to take the knee, his action attracted a media storm, including accusations of being ‘unpatriotic’.

For his part, Trump has long slammed the football player, calling him a “son of a b***h” at a 2017 rally and encouraging NFL owners to fire protesting players.

"Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” Trump said to a crowd in Alabama.

“You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country”.

The president has since suggested NFL protesters should be forced to leave the country and attacked the sportswear brand Nike after they made Kaepernick the face of a 2018 campaign.

Clearly safe hands to leave the pursuit of justice in.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)