There is “no bigger thug” than US President Donald Trump, says an American activist, arguing that racist movements have gathered momentum and extremist groups have been emboldened in the country since the businessman-turned-politician came to office.
Graylan Hagler, a justice advocate from Washington DC, made the remarks during a Friday edition of Press TV’s The Debate program while commenting on decades of racial discrimination in the US and the recent ruthless killing of an African American in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Fresh protests erupted across the United States on Thursday night as anger over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American, intensified, with some demonstrators gaining access to a police precinct in Minneapolis — the epicenter of the protest — and setting sections of the building on fire.
The 46-year-old Floyd died on Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the ground for several minutes as Floyd repeatedly pleaded that he couldn’t breathe. He was soon declared dead at a hospital and the incident sparked widespread protests and prompted calls for criminal charges against the officers.
Trump has called the protesters thugs and threatened that they could be shot.
“There is no bigger thug than Donald Trump, that’s the reality. The climate that exists right now in the country in reference to black folks, brown folks and the law enforcement really stems from the kind of rhetoric that has been coming out of the White House, a very kind of shrill, divisive rhetoric that has been continuing for the last three and a half years,” Hagler told Press TV on Friday.
“This kind of racism and white supremacy context that exists continue to boil over and create death and destruction and clearly people are sick and tired of it and are fighting back,” he added.
Asked whether US police brutality was becoming systemic especially among minorities, Hagler said, “It’s been part of the founding of this country. Who we have in the White House right now has been the cheer leader of white racist extremist organizations; that’s why they are feeling so emboldened from law enforcement down to militaristic terrorist white groups that exists in the United States.”
“The country was not founded on benevolence; the country was founded on greed and exploitation that basically allowed colonial settlers out of Europe to come into the US and on the back of the free black labor were able to make billions and billions of dollars,” he underlined.
Rallies have turned violent in Los Angeles and Minneapolis, where the police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets against the demonstrators.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has activated the National Guard to reinforce the measures that are being used by the police in the face of the protests.
More than 500 guard members were activated and sent to Minneapolis and several surrounding cities. It was the first time the Minnesota National Guard has been activated for a civil disturbance in 34 years.
Margaret Kimberley, senior editor and columnist at Black Agenda Report from New York, was the other panelist invited to The Debate program, who said police brutality was also common under former President Barack Obama.
“He is no different from his predecessor, Barack Obama, despite the fact that he was the first black president and the Black Lives Matter movement began during his administration. He did not take action, he did not speak like Trump speaks, he also did not use the power of presidency in order to prosecute these cops, so, once again we see that Trump is not the outlier, he is the outlier in the language that he uses and not in fact in the action he takes,” Kimberley said.
“The justice system and the law enforcement system in this country is built to keep black people under physical control. They rely on the police and the police are the machine that feed the victims into the system, so, we live with a system that cannot be naive about… As long as we rely on politicians who would just react to the latest outrage but are happy to go along and not change anything, then there will be more George Floyds in the future,” she added.
Police-involved shootings and the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers have led to mass protests across the country in recent years and the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement.