In virtual remarks addressed to the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), President Joe Biden hailed the police as saviors of “democracy” while announcing billions in new funding for police departments around the country through the “Safer America Plan.”
Ignoring the over 600 people who have been killed by police so far this year, and the hundreds, or perhaps thousands, more who have been killed due to police cowardice, as seen most vividly in the Uvalde Massacre and subsequent cover-up , Biden said, “Every day we rely on law enforcement to save lives.”
“Then,” Biden continued, “on January 6th we relied on law enforcement to save our democracy.” Biden specifically named the Capitol Police and the D.C. Metropolitan Police. Biden said the while the police were subject to “medieval hell” for “three hours, the defeated president of the United States watched it all happen.”
“The police were heroes that day. Donald Trump lacked the courage to act,” Biden said, adding: “You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-cop. You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-democracy. You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-American.”
In his retelling of history, which is indistinguishable from the narrative advanced by reactionary vice chair of the House Select Committee, Liz Cheney (Republican-Wyoming), Biden claimed that the assault on Congress was instigated by Trump alone, without any support from the police, military and intelligence agencies, and that Trump acted not as the leader of a coup, but instead, a bystander, who “did not have the courage” to act.
This false narrative is meant to uphold the institutions of the state as legitimate and chloroform the American people as to the role of wide sections of the capitalist state, including the police at all levels, towards Trump’s effort to remain in office despite being defeated in the 2020 election.
The police are riddled with fascists and racists. Dozens of police have been arrested for participating in the coup, with ABC News reporting this year that at least 52 former or current police and military members have been charged in the attack.
Additionally, during the coup itself, several cops were filmed taking “selfies” with Trump’s mob while allowing fascists and white supremacists to freely enter the Capitol to carry out their deadly objectives.
That the police played a significant role in almost ensuring the coup’s success was revealed in a Senate report commissioned last year.
Despite its limitations, the report gives some indication of the massive cover-up by the police and intelligence agencies. It noted that by 10:30 a.m. on January 6, over two hours before the first Proud Boys would break past police lines, a US Capitol Police “update” noted that organizers of Trump’s rally “planned to march to the Capitol after the President’s speech.” Despite this planned march, which the Capitol Police estimated to contain as many as 30,000 people, no additional steps were taken to protect Congress.
The hearings have revealed that around this time, prior to Trump’s speech at the Ellipse outside the White House, police and Secret Service, who were in constant radio communication, were well aware that Trump’s mob included people who were armed with spears, knives, clubs, bear mace, pistols and even long rifles.
The same report notes that despite the Capitol Police employing 1,879 cops as of September 2020, the agency only deployed 195 cops to the exterior and interior posts of the Capitol the morning of January 6. By 2 p.m., over an hour after fascists broke through purposefully underequipped and undermanned police lines, the report notes that “1,214” police were “on-site,” but only 417 of those cops’ locations could be verified.
Some of those police missing in action, the World Socialist Web Site has previously reported, included members of the Containment Emergency Response Team, or CERT. While CERT was tasked during the coup with evacuating high-level members of Congress, including members of the vice president’s team, they did not respond, according to former Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton.
While there is “no money” for social services or COVID-19 and monkeypox vaccines, in a White House “fact sheet” released last week on the misnamed “Safer American Plan,” Biden outlined a staggering proposal that calls for $37 billion in funding for the cops in the 2023 budget. Of the $37 billion, $13 billion is earmarked for hiring over 100,000 new police officers, through the COPS hiring program.
Biden has repudiated the demands of millions of working class voters and youth who mistakenly thought the Democratic Party had any intentions of “defunding” killer cops following massive protests held in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd.
In his comments to the black police leaders gathered in Orlando, Florida, Biden said, “when it comes to public safety, the answer isn’t to defund the police, it’s to fund the police. Fund the police.” Biden noted that the $350 billion allocated to states, cities and tribes as part of the “American Rescue Plan” signed into law last year, could also be used, and in many cities already has been used, to hire police.
“Over $10 billion of that money is being used to keep cops on the job [and for] new training facilities,” Biden said. Appealing to the black bourgeoisie and upper-middle class “liberals” obsessed with race and identity politics, Biden said that funding included in the American Rescue Plan was part of his “relentless efforts to empower black communities.”
Under the guise of police “reform,” the Safer American Plan allocates $15 billion towards a grant program called “Accelerating Justice System Reform.” Cities and states can apply for and receive the funding as long as they claim it will be used to “prevent violent crime.” The purposefully broad definition will allow states and cities to use the funds for literally anything they want to that is police related.
As Biden showers increasingly fascistic police departments around the country with billions of dollars in new funding, right-wing sheriffs aligned with ex-President Donald Trump continue to build an authoritarian movement aimed at suppressing voters in future elections.
The same day Biden spoke to NOBLE, the New York Times published an article headlined “2020 Election Deniers Seek out Powerful Allies: County Sheriffs.” The Times writes that “two right-wing sheriff’s groups” seek “to lend law enforcement credibility” to Trump’s lies, which have been embraced by a majority of the Republican Party and their voters, that the 2020 election was stolen and that Biden is illegitimate.
The two groups named by the Times are Protect America Now and the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, CSPOA. From July 13–16 in Las Vegas the two groups participated in a conference dubbed “FreedomFest” whose speakers included several right-wing sheriffs, Trump’s former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Steve Forbes of Forbes magazine and sometimes journalist, full-time Fox News apologist, Glenn Greenwald.
At the event the Times reported that speakers “urged sheriffs to open investigation of the 2020 election, which they compared to a rigged sporting event.”
CSPOA members, including Barry County, Michigan, Sheriff Dar Leaf, who was also at the Las Vegas event, were linked to the ultra-right political campaign against minimal COVID-19 protections and shutdowns, which sparked the assassination plot against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020.
The CSPOA is led by Richard Mack, a former sheriff and co-founder, along with Elmer Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers militia group. Rhodes is currently incarcerated on charges of seditious conspiracy for his role in Trump’s failed coup.
- January 6 Committee covers up role of Republican Party, national security officials in Trump coup
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- Senate hearing on January 6 coup: D.C. police were warned of armed attack on Congress