Biden Politicizes Police Officers Memorial Day Proclamation

A day long observed to honor law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty has political undertones thanks to language in the proclamation signed by the President this year.

The nationally-recognized day is observed annually on May 15. The memorial day dates back to 1962 when President John F. Kennedy signed legislation into effect to create the official holiday to “pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and to voice our appreciation for all those who currently serve on the front lines of the battle against crime.” The legislation also dictates that flags be flown at half-staff, one of only two days ordered by law. 

But this year, President Joe Biden used the annual proclamation as an opportunity to discuss strained relationships in some communities around the country, primarily due to race.

From the proclamation:

“This year, we also recognize that in many of our communities, especially Black and brown communities, there is a deep sense of distrust towards law enforcement; a distrust that has been exacerbated by the recent deaths of several Black and brown people at the hands of law enforcement.  These deaths have resulted in a profound fear, trauma, pain, and exhaustion for many Black and brown Americans, and the resulting breakdown in trust between law enforcement and the communities they have sworn to protect and serve ultimately makes officers’ jobs harder and more dangerous as well.”

The proclamation varies greatly from those signed by former Presidents, such as the one issued by Donald Trump in 2020 and while Barack Obama’s 2016 proclamation addressed gun control, it did not politicize policing. Year after year, Obama, like the others before him, focused on honoring the lives lost regardless of any events transpiring across the country. In 2002, President George W. Bush amended his message on POMD to discuss the role of law enforcement in combatting terrorism, domestic and abroad. 

This year, flags are not required to be flown at half-staff for Peace Officers Memorial Day because it falls on the same day as Armed Forces Day. 

You can read the proclamation here.

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and co-creator of of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast 'Prison Town.'

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