theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Where's Obama? Throwing cops under bus again

Prez says police actions often 'raise troubling questions'


President Obama spoke – at last – about the madcap situation in Baltimore on Tuesday, but rather than telling protesters to go home, as analysts and peaceful residents alike wanted, he seemed to throw the police under the bus and fault them for the crisis and chaos that’s tearing through the city streets.
He said, in a televised statement: “We have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African Americans, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions. And it comes up it seems like once a week now, or every couple weeks. And so I think it’s understandable that, and more importantly moms and dads across the country, saying this is a crisis.”
Obama also went on to say the situation in Baltimore is indicative of “a slow rolling crisis” that’s “been going on a long time,” only coming to light because of social media campaigns and alert observers with cameras who shed light on police behaviors.
“We have to pay attention and respond to it,” he said, speaking to the “new challenges [in] how police apply” their actions to civilians. The Hill, meanwhile, reported he also called the violence inexcusable and “counterproductive,” and said many of those in the streets weren’t “protesting, they’re not making a statement. They are stealing.”
Obama’s remarks, his first on the escalating tensions, come on the heels of several media criticisms for his silence on Baltimore and failure to use his public platform to help bring an end to the widespread protests.
“The president of the United States, who’s got a big mouth, should have been on national TV last night saying, ‘Kids, go home,’” said former New York Police Department detective Bo Dietl, during a Tuesday interview on Fox & Friends.
Dietl’s remarks were framed in the context of saying most of the Monday evening protesters were youth who were in the streets because schools were closed, and who wanted to make an impression on their friends.
“These are kids who thought this was an opportunity to [say], ‘Wow, let’s go loot stores,’” he said. “It was animal house, that’s what it is. When you have nowhere, nothing to live for, you want to do something that makes your friends go, “Wow, Bo just whacked a cop.’ That’s what’s out there.”
Dietl issued a stark warning the violence in Baltimore needed to be quickly “nipped,” else it would grow worse. And he faulted Obama for not taking the opportunity to send out a message of peace and calm.
“This should have been nipped in the bud and the president … should get on national TV and say [stop],” Dietl said. “We’ve got to take charge otherwise anarchy will be all over this country. … I pray to God the president steps up and becomes a leader.”
He’s not alone in that view.
Charles Payne, a Fox Business Network analyst, said similarly on the same news show.
“Obama mishandled this whole thing, particularly on the racial side,” Payne said. “You’ve got to admonish people. You can’t always make the looters the victims. … When we look at President Obama, he could have taken the words of Martin Luther King to the next level,” and spoken of the immediate need for peace.
Billionaire businessman Donald Trump, meanwhile, took to Twitter to vent some harsh criticisms of Obama, writing in one message: “Our great African American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore!”
Trump also slammed other city officials.
On Rawlings-Blake, he wrote: “The Mayor of Baltimore said she wanted to give the rioters ‘space to destroy’ – another real genius!” And on the city police, he tweeted: “Now that the ineffective Baltimore Police have allowed the city to be destroyed, are the U.S. taxpayers expected to rebuild it (again)?”
Looters and rioters have been setting fires, damaging buildings and breaking into businesses and destroying properties in recent days, since the funeral of Freddie Gray, a black man who died from massive spinal injuries incurred during police custody.


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