Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence speaks at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Ariz., Aug. 31, 2016.
Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Trump’s running mate: Talk of racism, police should end

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is clearly aware of this week’s tragedies in Tulsa and Charlotte. But as this NBC News report suggests, the Republican ticket’s reaction to the developments may not be entirely constructive.
GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence called on the country to end debate about “institutional racism” among law enforcement officers as protests in Charlotte flared this week following the shooting of another black man by a police officer.

“We ought to set aside this talk, this talk about institutional racism and institutional bias,” Pence said during a roundtable with pastors in a Colorado Springs church on Thursday afternoon.
According to the Associated Press’ report, the far-right Indiana governor also said, “Donald Trump and I both believe that there’s been far too much of this talk of institutional bias or racism in law enforcement.”

In fairness, Pence also reportedly acknowledged, in his best passive voice, that “mistakes are made” in law enforcement, and he agrees that “people have to be held to strict account.” Trump’s running mate added that “there will be a thorough investigation and that justice will be served and high standards will be upheld.”

But this doesn’t negate the fact that Pence nevertheless wants less “talk about institutional racism and institutional bias” in law enforcement. Evidently, according to the GOP’s vice presidential nominee, the problems might improve if we’d only agree to end conversations about them.

One of the striking aspects of this is how much further Pence is going than the usual response from many conservatives.

When it comes to police, race, violence, and frequent mistrust between minority communities and law enforcement, it’s obviously a complex, multi-faceted debate. In general, many on the right resist calls for major reforms and policy changes, preferring instead to give police officers the benefit of the doubt as national conversations continue to unfold.

But Pence is going much further, saying he disapproves of the debate itself. Forget the national conversation, he effectively argued yesterday, because there’s already been “far too much of this talk of institutional bias or racism in law enforcement.”

Vox’s piece on this added, “While Pence may be annoyed by all of this talk, the truth is people are going to keep talking about institutional bias and racism within law enforcement – because it’s real. An analysis of the available FBI data by Vox’s Dara Lind shows that US police kill black people at disproportionate rates: They accounted for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, even though they made up just 13 percent of the US population. Although the data is incomplete, since it’s based on voluntary reports from police agencies around the country, it highlights the vast disparities in how police use force.”

Apparently, Mike Pence’s reaction to this evidence can be boiled down to, “Shhh.”