Today’s Executive Order: Verbatim Text & Extensive Commentary
The following is the verbatim text of the Executive Order enacted today by the Tyrant-in-Chief in a publicity ploy to try to placate and pacify (source of text: NBC). As we read the verbatim text, let’s see what we derive from the subtext and the missing text. He did make a huge Freudian slip when prefacing it:
Verbatim: “I strongly oppose the very dangerous efforts to DEFEND, dismantle, and dissolve our police departments.” Sure, he meant to say “defund”. But he, just for a split-second, just completely accidentally, spoke a portion of truth:
Any efforts to DEFEND police departments at this time are very dangerous.
And now, the Order.
Assistant Editor’s note: I will use bold italics after each paragraph to share personal thoughts.
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Purpose. As Americans, we believe that all persons are created equal and endowed with the inalienable rights to life and liberty. A fundamental purpose of government is to secure these inalienable rights. Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement officers place their lives at risk every day to ensure that these rights are preserved.
Note that he makes mention of “tribal and territorial law enforcement officers”. It will be worth watching to see what, if any, power plays he tries to make upon those. I imagine “local” must be a catch-all for municipal and county. What else is missing?
Law enforcement officers provide the essential protection that all Americans require to raise their families and lead productive lives. The relationship between our fellow citizens and law enforcement officers is an important element in their ability to provide that protection. By working directly with their communities, law enforcement officers can help foster a safe environment where we all can prosper.
Every word a professional speech writer crafts is deliberate. The use of “citizens” is deliberate. When unchallenged, it allows for a double-standard for those of other paperwork statuses who are here, whether temporarily or long-term.
Unfortunately, there have been instances in which some officers have misused their authority, challenging the trust of the American people, with tragic consequences for individual victims, their communities, and our Nation. All Americans are entitled to live with the confidence that the law enforcement officers and agencies in their communities will live up to our Nation’s founding ideals and will protect the rights of all persons. Particularly in African-American communities, we must redouble our efforts as a Nation to swiftly address instances of misconduct.
Let’s unpack that first sentence. (1) Let’s be honest. The only part he thinks is “unfortunate” is that some were filmed and therefore some were caught, and people responded in ways that affect him. (2) “Some officers” is deliberate. He’s trying to convey a belief directly opposed to ACAB. The “bad apples” premise. (3) “Misused”. This is a horrible downplaying of systematic murder. “Abused” and “violated” were available as much more fitting terms. He is playing to his constituency. Now let’s address that last sentence. (1) “Redouble our efforts” — this implies (a) that there are some efforts in place; factually few and far between; and (b) this implies doing more of the same, rather than other words that could have been more responsible, such as “revamping” or “re-envisioning” or “redefining”. (2) “Instances” — again, looking at only those whose tragedies get documented. More than ever, we need to be the media. We need to prove the frequency. And we need to be the researchers. We need to prove the patterns. He is avoiding calling it what it is: systematic, institutionalized. (3) “Misconduct”. Again, avoiding calling it what it is: murder. Injustice.
The Constitution declares in its preamble that one of its primary purposes was to establish Justice. Generations of Americans have marched, fought, bled, and died to safeguard the promise of our founding document and protect our shared inalienable rights. Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial leaders must act in furtherance of that legacy.
Sec. 2. Certification and Credentialing. (a) State and local law enforcement agencies must constantly assess and improve their practices and policies to ensure transparent, safe, and accountable delivery of law enforcement services to their communities. Independent credentialing bodies can accelerate these assessments, enhance citizen confidence in law enforcement practices, and allow for the identification and correction of internal deficiencies before those deficiencies result in injury to the public or to law enforcement officers.
(b) The Attorney General shall, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, allocate Department of Justice discretionary grant funding only to those State and local law enforcement agencies that have sought or are in the process of seeking appropriate credentials from a reputable independent credentialing body certified by the Attorney General.
We will have to look into what “credentialing” entails, and who performs it, and whether what the tyrant-in-chief is actually trying to do is selectively fund only those bodies in states that conform with whatever he is imposing. States that pick independent credentialing over federal, for a hypothetical example, might be threatened with withholding funding. The tyrant-in-chief is more of a stick than a carrot guy. We know this. Note that in a prior blog post, I provided a link for checking which officers in a given area have lost their credentials.
(c) The Attorney General shall certify independent credentialing bodies that meet standards to be set by the Attorney General. Reputable, independent credentialing bodies, eligible for certification by the Attorney General, should address certain topics in their reviews, such as policies and training regarding use–of-force and de-escalation techniques; performance management tools, such as early warning systems that help to identify officers who may require intervention; and best practices regarding community engagement. The Attorney General’s standards for certification shall require independent credentialing bodies to, at a minimum, confirm that:
(i) the State or local law enforcement agency’s use-of-force policies adhere to all applicable Federal, State, and local laws; and
(ii) the State or local law enforcement agency’s use-of-force policies prohibit the use of chokeholds — a physical maneuver that restricts an individual’s ability to breathe for the purposes of incapacitation — except in those situations where the use of deadly force is allowed by law.
This is not a ban on choke holds. This is not an improvement in policy. This is intended to placate people who don’t know better. This is just a statement of what already exists. Choke holds and carotid holds need to be eliminated entirely. This order does NOT do that. What policies stipulate for claiming “use of deadly force was necessary” need to be re-examined and re-writing. This order does NOT do that.
(d) The Attorney General shall engage with existing and prospective independent credentialing bodies to encourage them to offer a cost-effective, targeted credentialing process regarding appropriate use-of-force policies that law enforcement agencies of all sizes in urban and rural jurisdictions may access.
Sec. 3. Information Sharing. (a) The Attorney General shall create a database to coordinate the sharing of information between and among Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agencies concerning instances of excessive use of force related to law enforcement matters, accounting for applicable privacy and due process rights.
(b) The database described in subsection (a) of this section shall include a mechanism to track, as permissible, terminations or de-certifications of law enforcement officers, criminal convictions of law enforcement officers for on-duty conduct, and civil judgments against law enforcement officers for improper use of force. The database described in subsection (a) of this section shall account for instances where a law enforcement officer resigns or retires while under active investigation related to the use of force. The Attorney General shall take appropriate steps to ensure that the information in the database consists only of instances in which law enforcement officers were afforded fair process.
What does “fair process” mean in this context? What does excluding instances in which officers allege they were not afforded it mean in this process? Note that the Supreme Court just declined to hear cases that could have challenged “qualified immunity”. Thus what cops can get away with remains enormous and broad.
(c) The Attorney General shall regularly and periodically make available to the public aggregated and anonymized data from the database described in subsection (a) of this section, as consistent with applicable law.
Note the huge distinction from the databases we create for ourselves, with a searchable list of names. They are still shielding names and locations.
(d) The Attorney General shall, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, allocate Department of Justice discretionary grant funding only to those law enforcement agencies that submit the information described in subsection (b) of this section.
We will need to research what “Department of Justice discretionary grant funding” currently funds, to see whom he is threatening to punish for noncompliance.
Sec. 4. Mental Health, Homelessness, and Addiction. (a) Since the mid-twentieth century, America has witnessed a reduction in targeted mental health treatment. Ineffective policies have left more individuals with mental health needs on our Nation’s streets, which has expanded the responsibilities of law enforcement officers. As a society, we must take steps to safely and humanely care for those who suffer from mental illness and substance abuse in a manner that addresses such individuals’ needs and the needs of their communities. It is the policy of the United States to promote the use of appropriate social services as the primary response to individuals who suffer from impaired mental health, homelessness, and addiction, recognizing that, because law enforcement officers often encounter such individuals suffering from these conditions in the course of their duties, all officers should be properly trained for such encounters.
(b) The Attorney General shall, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services as appropriate, identify and develop opportunities to train law enforcement officers with respect to encounters with individuals suffering from impaired mental health, homelessness, and addiction; to increase the capacity of social workers working directly with law enforcement agencies; and to provide guidance regarding the development and implementation of co-responder programs, which involve social workers or other mental health professionals working alongside law enforcement officers so that they arrive and address situations together. The Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall prioritize resources, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to support such opportunities.
Co-responder programs are a start. They are not the same as a replacement. But they are a start. If a decent human being with empathy becomes President, they might have a chance of being helpful.
What do you all think of the above? We would love to hear. Thank you. —Ellen.