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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Saturday, June 01, 2024

Donald Trump had lots of negative opinions about felons. Now he is one. | Donald Trump | The Guardian

Donald Trump had lots of negative opinions about felons. Now he is one.

"From roughing up suspects to revoking bail, the 34-count felon has suggested harsh treatment for his fellow criminals

Trump in court with officers behind him.
‘If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone,’ Trump said. Photograph: Getty Images

Donald Trump has spent years complaining that American police and the criminal legal system should be “very much tougher,” arguing that some criminals should not be protected by civil liberties, police should rough up suspects and that a much wider range of peopleshould face the death penalty for breaking the law.

Now that the former president has been convicted on 34 felony counts for falsifying business records, Trump is arguing that the US legal system is out of control. “If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone,” he said on Friday.

Here’s a recap of some of Trump’s notable comments about “felons” and “criminals” – and a look at how the convict himself has actually been treated.

Trump’s opinion: police officers should rough up suspects as they’re arresting them

Addressing an audience of law enforcement officers on Long Island in July 2017, Trump told officers, “Please don’t be too nice,” and he mocked the idea of police making an effort to protect suspects’ heads as they’re put in the back of a police vehicle.

“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],” Trump said, pantomiming the gesture. “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?’”

How Trump has been treated:

On his way to his arraignment in the New York hush-money case last April, Trump was not getting roughed up by officers. He was instead posting angrily on his own social media platform about his feelings about his case. “Heading to Lower Manhattan, the Courthouse,” Trump posted on Truth Social. “Seems so SURREAL – WOW, they are going to ARREST ME.” Trump arrived to be fingerprinted and processed via his own eight-car motorcade.

Trump also did not get roughed up on his way to jail last August in Fulton county, Georgia, where he faces criminal charges in a separate case related to interference of the 2020 election that he lost to Joe Biden. Instead, his lawyers reportedly arranged for him to surrender at the Fulton county jail during prime-time cable television viewing hours.

A line of police motorcycles.
A police motorcade leads the SUV carrying former president Donald Trump to the Fulton county jail on 24 August 2023 in Georgia. Photograph: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

After flying to Atlanta on a private plane, and being processed in an unusually fast 20 minutes, Trump did have to take a mug shot at the jail, which he later said was “not a comfortable feeling – especially when you’ve done nothing wrong”.

Trump’s opinion: allowing defendants to be released before their trials is dangerous

In 2010, 16-year-old Khalief Browder was arrested on suspicion of stealing a backpack. The New York teen maintained his innocence, but his family could not afford the $3,000 it cost to bail him out of jail while he awaited trial.

Browder ultimately spent three years incarcerated on Rikers Island before facing trial. Suffering from delays, physical abuse and solitary confinement, Browder attempted suicide multiple times. His horrific story would galvanize calls to end cash bail in New York state and nationwide.

But Trump has stridently opposed abolishing cash bail. And when New York state embraced cash bail reforms designed to keep more people out of jail while presumed innocent and awaiting trial, Trump criticised the move as dangerous.

“So sad to see what is happening in New York where Governor Cuomo and Mayor DeBlasio are letting out 900 Criminals some hardened and bad onto the sidewalks of our rapidly declining because of them city,” Trump tweeted in 2019. “The Radical Left Dems are killing our cities.”

How Trump has been treated:

The former president had enough money to keep himself out of jail (and continue running for a second presidency) while awaiting his criminal trial in Georgia, though a judge there set his bail at $200,000. (Working through bail bond companies, as Trump did, defendants there typically pay about 10% of the total bail amount upfront.)

Trump’s opinion: criminals should be denied civil liberty protections

In 1989, after a white woman was raped and bludgeoned while jogging in Central Park, five Black and Hispanic teenagers were falsely accused of the crime, and they said they were coerced into confessing their purported guilt during police interrogations. Trump took out full-page ads in multiple newspapers calling for the city to “unshackle” police from “the constant chants of police brutality” and suggesting the juveniles should be executed for the heinous crime.

“BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY,” the advertisements read. “Criminals must be told that their CIVIL LIBERTIES END WHEN AN ATTACK ON OUR SAFETY BEGINS.”

Yusef Salaam, who was 15 years old at the time, later said that Trump’s advertisements had left the accused boys and their families frightened: “I knew that this famous person calling for us to die was very serious.”

“I want to hate these muggers and murderers,” Trump had written in the ad. “They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes. They must serve as examples so that others will think long and hard before committing a crime or an act of violence.”

Even after the Central Park Five were completely exonerated, and the city eventually paid them a multimillion-dollar settlement for losing years of their lives to imprisonment, Trump refused to apologize for his high-profile comments – or to consider the men as innocent.

“Why did they all sign confessions and how many people did they mugg [sic] that night in the Park?” he tweeted in 2013. “What about their criminal records?”

How Trump has been treated:

When Trump was arraigned in New York in a hush-money case in April, Salaam – one of the Central Park Five defendants – published his own advertisement on social media.

Salaam argued that Trump’s response to his multiple legal cases had been to warn of “potential death and destruction”, and to repeatedly threaten judges, prosecutors, court staff and others – actions that certainly represented, in Trump’s own words, “an attack on our safety”.

Even so, Salaam said, he did not believe Trump’s civil liberties should be suspended.

“I am putting my faith in the judicial system to seek out the truth,” the wrongly incarcerated man wrote. “I hope that you exercise your civil liberties to the fullest, and that you get what the Exonerated 5 did not get – a presumption of innocence, and a fair trial.”

Salaam added that he hoped, if convicted, Trump would endure his punishment with “strength and dignity”, which his teenage cohort did while serving time for a crime the group did not commit.

Other commenters have noted that Trump was in a relatively privileged position to even have his New York criminal case go to trial before a jury. More than 90% of felony convictions at both the state and federal levels are the result of plea bargains – not jury trials. Trials are expensive and time-consuming, and those who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer (which is most people) must rely on overburdened public defenders, who are typically struggling with unmanageably large caseloads.

Trump’s team of private attorneys is already preparing to appeal his conviction.

Trump’s opinion: criminal penalties should be harsher and more violent

In the decades since his newspaper ads calling for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, Trump has repeatedly endorsed harsher penalties for a wide range of crimes, including threatening 10-year prison terms for anyone vandalizing a statue or other federal monument, suggesting that people who sell illegal drugs should be executed, and praising the president of the Philippines for his approach to drugs, which included the extrajudicial killings of thousands of suspected drug dealers by both police and vigilantes.

Protesters hold a 'Trump is guilty' banner.
New Yorkers celebrate Trump’s guilty verdict on 30 May 2024. Photograph: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

Trump publicly suggested that soldiers could shoot at migrants at US borders who throw rocks at them, reportedly suggested in private in 2019 that soldiers shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down, and reportedly made a similar comment about shooting protesters in the legs during the height of the social justice demonstrations prompted by a Minneapolis police officer’s murder of George Floyd in 2020.

And it wasn’t just talk: the Trump administration ordered federal prosecutors to pursue the heaviest possible sentences, resumed executing prisoners after 17 years of an informal moratorium on the death penalty at the federal level, pulled the justice department back from investigating local police departments for civil rights violations, and blocked small business owners with criminal records from receiving federal relief during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Criminals only understand strength!” the president tweeted in 2020, criticising Portland’s mayor for his insufficiently tough treatment of local protesters demonstrating against police violence.

How Trump will be treated:

While Trump falsely claimed he is facing “187 years” in prison after his felony convictions this week, the maximum penalty in his case is actually four years. Legal experts say that, as a first-time offender convicted of a nonviolent crime, Trump is unlikely to face any prison time at all. Instead, his punishment is likely to be some combination of fines, probation, and community service.

Trump’s opinion: repeated critical statements about felons voting

Trump made multiple false claims about thousands of felons illegally voting in Georgia and tipping the 2020 election results against him, according to the Washington Post’s database of 30,573 false or misleading claims that he made as president.

When a news report revealed that billionaire Michael Bloomberg had raised $16m in 2020 to support a Florida non-profit’s efforts to restore the voting rights of people with felony convictions, Trump denounced the effort as a crime and accused Bloomberg of trying to buy votes for Biden by “bribing ex-prisoners to go out and vote”. Top Republican officials in Florida announced an investigation into whether Bloomberg had violated the law, and they eventually decided he had not.

How Trump will be treated:

Despite his felony conviction, Trump is likely to be able to vote in November’s presidential election due to voting rights restoration rules in Florida and New York. If difficulties emerge, he could ask Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, who has endorsed him in the 2024 presidential race, for personal assistance restoring his voting rights. Regardless of whether he can legally cast a vote, his felony conviction does not stop him from running for president."

Donald Trump had lots of negative opinions about felons. Now he is one. | Donald Trump | The Guardian

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