Off-Duty or On-Duty, No One Should Be Shocked By How the Police Acted During the Coup at the Capitol
By Ameer Hasan Loggins
The news of off-duty police officers from around the country making the pernicious pilgrimage to Washington D.C. to participate in the armed and deadly takeover of the United States Capitol should come as a shock to no one. Nor should the grace that was granted to the angry clan of neo-Confederate Trump loyalists by some of the on-duty Capitol police during the attempted coup d’etat.
Amidst the madness, one of the Capitol police officers took a selfie with someone who was part of the mob that stormed the Capitol. Another policeman was seen wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and was directing people around the besieged building.
Again, this news should come as a shock to no one.
The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the largest and oldest police union in the U.S., endorsed Donald Trump for president in both 2016 and in 2020. But endorsing Trump is not the first time that they publicly put their white supremacist politics on display.
In 1966, the FOP invited Alabama segregationist Governor George Wallace to speak at its national convention. In that speech, Wallace received a standing ovation when he told the audience that if “the police of this country could run it for about two years, then it would be safe to walk in the parks.” Two years later, in1968, the FOP endorsed George Wallace in his presidential run. The FOP followed by endorsing Richard Nixon, and it regularly endorsed “law-and-order” GOP candidates such as Ronald Reagan, and George Bush. The FOP flirted with supporting Democratic Party “law and order” candidate Bill Clinton in 1992, as Clinton aggressively sought the Fraternal Order of Police’s endorsement. In 1996 Clinton became the first Democratic presidential candidate to pick up the endorsement of the FOP. Post-Clinton, the FOP realigned with the GOP. In 2000, the FOP endorsed then-Texas Governor George W. Bush for President. In 2008, they endorsed John McCain for President. Now they are attached to Donald Trump, a man that declared himself as being the “president of law and order” from the White House Rose Garden while peaceful protestors were being beatdown and tear-gassed by military police.