'Could have a tragedy on your hands': Ex-cop/author fears summer of violence in the streets

Hostile climate of opinion is sapping police morale, says Brandon Tatum. "If you don't have the support of the community ... why in the world would you go and risk your life and potentially lose everything for $50,000 a year?" he asks.
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Between rising temperatures, declining political support for police, and U.S. cities opening after a long year of Covid-19 restrictions, former police officer Brandon Tatum thinks things could get hot in the streets this summer.

In an interview on "Just the News AM," Tatum, author of the forthcoming “Beaten Black and Blue: Being a Black Cop in America Under Siege," explained his fears about an eruption this summer.

“Every summer people start to crack up," Tatum said. "They're going to start committing petty crimes, more violence will happen over the summer."

The dangers are compounded immeasurably by the second-guessing of police tactics now rampant among social justice activists, elected leaders and media.

"You say you're going to defund the police, you're telling a police department they cannot be practicing policing, they can't even deal with black people in a meaningful way without them ending up on the news or getting fired," said Tatum. "That plus the heat from the summer is going to cause an increase in negative human behavior ... you could have a tragedy on your hands."

Outside of the sharply political and often contentious partisan discussions around police reform, Tatum believes that the American police force has been handicapped in its ability to effectively deal with crime.

Now, with crime rates continuing to rise in 2021 after historic surges last year, Tatum's apprehension over the upcoming summer months is heightened, he says, by the sheer number of officers dropping out of the force — and the numbers of new recruits not stepping in to replace them. 

"If you don't have the support of the community — and in some of these cases, you don't have the support of the command staff — why in the world would you go and risk your life and potentially lose everything for $50,000 a year?" asks Tatum. "That's just not going to be worth it."

Former Republican congressional candidate and founder of Red Renaissance, Kim Klacik, sees these same trends playing out in her home town of Baltimore. "For every 20 people who go into the academy and want to become officers, we have 51 who resign," she told Just the News in a recent interview. "We're losing police officers left and right." 

In addition to the national climate surrounding law enforcement at present, Klacik says there are policy measures in some cities — like the consent decree that followed the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore and several years ago — that put police "in a predicament, really, because they feel they can't really do they’re job."

Cops are now nervous to perform even rudimentary parts of their jobs, says Tatum, because "if a situation goes south, and you have an accident ... the Democratic Party is focused on highlighting these situations of police use of force against citizens ... and using the dead bodies of black people, who have been killed by police — whether justified or not — to push an agenda of fear."

"You're going out, and you're putting your life on the line, your fellow police officers are dying in a line of duty," Tatum continues, "and you get spit on in the face by your police chief or city council because you happen to pull over a black man. If a black man gets shot, even if he pulled a gun on a police officer, they're going to blow that up."