The head of a national police organization blasted President Barack Obama for occasionally speaking out against police brutality.
“No one is sorry to see this guy go,” William J. Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, told The Blaze.
Although the FBI confirmed that 2015 was the safest year on record for police officers and The Washington Post reported that police officer on-duty murders have been lower under Obama than any president in recent history, Johnson claimed Obama inflamed anti-police sentiment by listening to groups who advocate against police brutality, such as the Black Lives Matter movement.
“He knows what he’s doing. He’s aware who his audience is,” Johnson said of Obama. “In terms of violence against police, his audience was not police or survivors, his audience was leaders of Black Lives Matter, protesters and agitators. … He sent a clear message: ‘I’m on your side.'”
Obama has voiced measured support for the anti-police brutality movement, but told Time magazine in June, 2016 that he has always coupled those remarks with staunch support for police officers.
“You’d have to find any message that did not include a very strong support for law enforcement in all my utterances dating back to Ferguson,” Obama said. “I rely on law enforcement.”
He added: “Kindness and compassion expressed by these two sides ... that makes a big difference. Sometimes people just want acknowledgment.”
Obama's even-handedness on the police brutality issue was criticized by Johnson when the president gave a speech at the funeral for the five members of Dallas law enforcement who were murdered by a man not affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement in July 2016.
During the speech, Obama praised the fallen police officers and law enforcement in general, but also touched on the pitfalls of discrimination and institutional racism.
“Although most of us do our best to guard against it and teach our children better, none of us is entirely innocent,” Obama said, according to a transcript of the speech on the White House website. “No institution is entirely immune. And that includes our police departments. We know this.”
Johnson considered criticism of racism a criticism of police officers.
“Even now just can’t support police?” Johnson asked of Obama's speech, according to The Blaze. “What the hell is he talking about? How does that fit in?”