Brandon Tatum, a black police officer from Tucson, Arizona, attended a Donald Trump campaign rally on Saturday — not for work, but just to see for himself what such an event is like.
While anti-Trump protesters have been seen getting punched, attacked, assaulted and kicked out of rallies across the nation, it appears that the GOP front-runner’s supporters are the ones being rowdy and violent. However, Tatum said his experience was the complete opposite.
Tatum admitted that he encountered some peaceful protesters and he was able to read their posters, take photos, and ask the demonstrators questions. He claimed that when he got closer to the entrance, however, protesters were shouting obscenities, pushing and shoving and were being “verbally violent.”
Tatum actually said that anti-Trump protesters were “the most hateful, evil people” he’s ever seen.
Tucson definitely had no shortage of protesters on Saturday as groups of them blocked traffic while flying anti-Trump signs and banners. A group of protesters even formed a human wall in front of the entrance to one of the rally sites while chanting “shut it down!” according to The Washington Post.
As per usual, violence ensued during Saturday’s events as a man was seen getting punched and stomped while being escorted out by police.
“I gained a lot of respect for Donald Trump,” Tatum said. “I think that if you want to know the truth about stuff, you got to examine it, you got to physically show up. You show up to events and you’ll get a perspective of what’s really going on and you won’t have to listen to what anybody else says.”
While hearing of Tatum’s experience sheds light on the fact that protesters aren’t always innocent at these rallies, his perspective should be taken with a grain of salt.
Trump himself incites violence at his events. He has publicly said he wants to “punch a protester in the face,” and he has told his supporters he will pay their legal fees if they get arrested during physical altercations with protesters.
Trump has also encouraged his supporters to “throw out” demonstrators, rather than leaving that up to security.
Trump has been overtly supportive of the violent acts his followers commit yet refuses to accept any responsibility for the repeated altercations.
Protesters were likely riled up and angry in Tucson, but what kind of response do you expect at an event that promotes a presidential candidate who is running on a platform of hate?
Tatum said he witnessed a peaceful rally once he got indoors, but that does not mean that all of Trump’s supporters behave rationally.
Video footage of a protester getting sucker-punched in North Carolina by a random Trump supporter flooded the Internet and it is clear that the man who was hit was not holding up obscene signs or wearing any offensive attire to prompt such an attack.
Furthermore, it’s no secret that relations between law enforcement and protesters have been very tense in recent years. Although Tatum was speaking from his experience as a civilian, he may not have completely shut off any potential biases he has against protesters from dealing with them while in uniform.
Violence shouldn’t be condoned no matter which side it comes from and Tatum’s personal assessment completely ignores what we have seen of Trump supporters with our own eyes.
Rather than objectively condemning all the violence that occurs at Trump events, Tatum actually gave the many supporters who are aggressive more ammo to justify assaulting protesters.
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