Progressive critics responded harshly Wednesday after President Donald Trump ordered federal officers to Kenosha, Wisconsin under the pretense of restoring "law and order" in the aftermath of unrest that culminated in an armed right-wing vigilante murdering two Black Lives Matter protesters overnight who were demonstrating in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake earlier this week.
Critics who pointed out that "officers should not be above the law" took issue with Trump's narrow definition of "law and order" and asked if he would be "holding the officers accountable for shooting Jacob Blake in the back?"
So will you be holding the officers accountable for shooting Jacob Blake in the back?? Because that is how I'd like to see law and order enacted in the United States. Officers should not be above the law.— Kate Perkins (@KatePerk) August 26, 2020
Other critics drew attention to the fact that it is not individuals demonstrating against police brutality who are the source of lethal violence but rather armed white supremacists who have been emboldened by Trump's racist and authoritarian rhetoric, including his late May comment that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."
Imagine caring more about damage to property than about human lives. A white guy, supported by the Kenosha police and armed with an AR-15, went looking for trouble driving all the way from Illinois to Wisconsin and shot two protestors dead. The police literally let him walk away.— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) August 26, 2020
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What about white supremacists and armed militia? https://t.co/SyKAfAWGxO— Wajahat "Wears a Mask Because of a Pandemic" Ali (@WajahatAli) August 26, 2020
Alluding to the widely criticized practices of federal agents deployed to Portland, Oregon earlier this summer, the ACLU stated that "Kenosha doesn't need to see a repeat of Portland, where federal agents wreaked havoc and violently trampled on the constitutional rights of protesters."
The ACLU of Wisconsin added that "sending federal law enforcement to Kenosha will only make matters worse."
Kenosha doesn’t need to see a repeat of Portland, where federal agents wreaked havoc and violently trampled on the constitutional rights of protesters. https://t.co/ZUzIYl8oke— ACLU (@ACLU) August 26, 2020
Amnesty International USA also tweeted that "the militarization of policing does not enhance safety, but puts human rights at risk."