What President Obama really thinks about the police

From The Washington Post:

Not long after three police officers were shot dead Sunday in Baton Rouge, La., President Obama condemned the attack. “For the second time in two weeks, police officers who put their lives on the line for ours every day were doing their job when they were killed in a cowardly and reprehensible assault,” he said. “These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop.”

But Obama’s support for the police has not always been taken at face value. Last week, he confronted more skeptical questions about his support for police officers at a town hall in Washington. Police officers “know you support law enforcement, of course,” Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican, told Obama during the event, which aired on ABC and ESPN. ”But do they really in their heart feel like you’re doing everything you can to protect their lives?” Patrick added. “Words matter. Your words matter much more than mine. Everything you say matters.”

Patrick was only the most recent conservative politician to argue that Obama has not supported law enforcement the way that he should. ”The last couple of years, Barack Obama has done nothing but hate on cops, accusing cops of being bad and racist,” former congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) said on CNN.

Obama has raised deep questions about police shootings of unarmed black men and made a few criticisms of law enforcement. He has pointed, for instance, to evidence that police are more likely to pull over black drivers in the absence of a clear violation of traffic laws, among other broad disparities in the criminal-justice system.

In acknowledging these shortcomings, though, Obama has always spoken highly of America’s police. In doing so, he has also offered several detailed arguments for the importance of law enforcement during his presidency.

Most police are not bad people

For example, Obama rebuked advocates for police reform in his speech at a memorial for the five officers killed …

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