Late last week, President Joe Biden said—in answer to a reporter's question about images of Border Patrol agents on horseback chasing migrants surging on the border near Del Rio, Texas and waving what appeared to be leather reins—"I promise you, those people will pay."
United States Customs and Border Protection is presently conducting an internal investigation into the matter and the officers involved have been placed on administrative duty, but the president seems to have already reached a conclusion on the outcome of any such inquiry.
"There will be consequences," Biden said. "There will be consequences."
In fact, there already have been consequences—the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) quickly announced that it is suspending the uses of horses in the Del Rio area.
Meanwhile, Paul Ratje—the New Mexico-based photographer who snapped the images that caused the uproar—later said of the mounted unit of the Border Patrol, "I’ve never seen them whip anyone."
Ratje added, "He was swinging [the horse's reins], but it can be misconstrued when you're looking at the picture."
It's no surprise that the president seems just fine with conducting a public flogging of a Border Patrol agent based entirely on a false narrative.
Heather Mac Donald—author of the bestseller The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe—wrote in a column on City Journal just days after the 2020 election, "Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were unambiguous throughout their presidential campaign: they believe that racism pervades policing and all other aspects of the criminal-justice system."
But the president's latest verbal brow-beating of law enforcement may not be the most egregious anti-cop rhetoric—or action—in recent days.
Let's get a gander at two of the other headlines of late—both of which are centered on the implementation of so-called "police reform" measures.
All Eyes on Minneapolis Voters
The Minnesota State Supreme Court cleared a ballot measure set to be put before voters in Minneapolis—the city where the "defund the police" movement began following the in-custody death of George Floyd—that would limit the authority, autonomy, and activities of the police department.
The "Yes 4 Minneapolis" initiative—what appears to be a first-of-its-kind measure for a major American city—is an amendment to the city's charter that would replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety.
Somewhat surprisingly, one of the opponents of the measure is none other than Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who throughout the summer of 2020 was one of the most outspoken elected officials on the matter of "defunding the police."
Frey says that the current proposal would "dramatically diminish accountability" and would "reduce clarity of command."
"When everybody's in charge, nobody's in charge," Frey recently said.
However, Frey stands by earlier statements in support of aspects of the proposal which allow social workers and mental health experts to respond to some calls currently being addressed by police.
Meanwhile, some Minneapolis residents describe the violence there as "unbearable" and a "warzone" with some calling on Governor Tim Waltz to send in the State Patrol or the Minnesota National Guard to assist local police.
It will certainly be interesting to see what the voters decide in November, but regardless of that outcome, problems in the Twin Cities are almost certain to persist.
National Police Reform Legislation Dies
A proposed piece of legislation named for the abovementioned George Floyd apparently died on the vine last week as Democrats walked away from negotiations on a bill that would ban no-knock warrants in certain cases, and all but remove qualified immunity for law enforcement officers in legal proceedings over alleged police misconduct.
In a largely party-line vote, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act was passed by the House of Representatives in March and sent along to the Senate for consideration.
A leading Democratic negotiator in the talks—New Jersey Senator Cory Booker—said after the months-long negotiations broke off, "It was clear at this negotiating table at this moment we were not making progress."
The two sides had reached agreements banning chokeholds, limiting the transfer of military equipment to police departments, and increasing mental health resources, but the matter of qualified immunity has been a bridge too far for leading Republicans.
South Carolina Senator Tim Scott—a leading voice in the ongoing discussion about police reform legislation—expressed disappointment that efforts to find compromise in the bill fell short.
Scott said in a written statement that Democrats have once again squandered a crucial opportunity to implement meaningful reform to make our neighborhoods safer and mend the tenuous relationship between law enforcement and communities of color."
Scott continued, "Reverting to a partisan approach to score political points when American lives are at risk is just plain wrong. As they are doing on so many other issues, I fear Democrats will continue to pursue a partisan route to create problems in search of solutions. While I am frustrated that the Left abandoned such a critical issue at such a critical time, I will continue to work with anyone who is serious about finding bipartisan solutions that bring justice, fairness, and safety for the most vulnerable among us."
Okay, I guess we can agree that Biden's comments on the Border Patrol were actually the most egregious anti-cop rhetoric in recent days.
At least in the case of the two pieces of legislation addressed above, there are some voices of reason and some manner of rational thinking.
I've said for years that Senator Tim Scott should be—and by now probably is—on the fast track for the Presidency. I strongly encourage everyone to read his latest book—co-authored with another favorite, Trey Gowdy—Unified: How Our Unlikely Friendship Gives Us Hope for a Divided Country.
There's plenty of room for improving just about everything in America, policing included. In my (not-so-humble) opinion, bettering law enforcement in this country is a multi-faceted endeavor, beginning with the recruitment process, continuing through ongoing training, and culminating with elevating the very best in the ranks to positions of leadership.
The Minneapolis legislation—as flawed and misguided as it is in its current form—is at least an attempt to make changes based on the will of the people, not some autocratic declaration made from "on high."
I'll even begrudgingly admit that on at least one thing I agree with the Minneapolis mayor—I've been saying for many years, "When everybody's in charge, nobody's in charge."
He literally took the words right out of my mouth.
Yuck. I suddenly feel the need to brush my teeth.
In the end, the fact remains that anti-police rhetoric still pervades—and poisons—the public dialog. The vast majority of Americans support and respect the police, but their voices are drowned out by the bellowing of a boisterous few whose hollow slogans somehow ring true for a mainstream media hungry for "red meat" that sustains their narrative that the cops are the bad guys and the bad guys are victims.
Despite persistent anti-police sentiment, American law enforcement continues to watch over the American public, like sheepdogs protecting the flock from the wolves.
Be well and stay safe my friends.