Find out what our Presidents have said about police brutality

President Quotes

Here is a list of obscure Presidential quotes concerning Police Brutality and the Injustice System (yes, I am a nerd and went through a ton of presidential papers to find these). I know that some of the quotes may be a little out of context and many of the politicians are not worthy of being attached to them, but I thought they were pretty interesting. I hope you enjoy them.

1. “The American people cannot close their eyes to abuses of human rights and injustice, whether they occur among friend or adversary or even on our own shores.” Ronald Reagan

2. “The paramount duty of maintaining public order and defending the interests of our own people may require the adoption of measures of restriction, but they should not tolerate the oppression of individuals of a special race.” Grover Cleveland

3. “It is always possible that occasional individuals may have overstepped the law and humanity in treatment of criminals and those charged with crime, and if so, they should be severely punished.Herbert Hoover

4. “[W]e must always remember that you are officers of the law in a great democratic nation which owes its birth to the indignation of its citizens against the encroachment of police and governmental powers against their individual freedoms.” Harry S. Truman

5. “[T]he guilty as well as the innocent are entitled to due process of law. They are entitled to a fair trial. They are entitled to counsel. They are entitled to fair treatment from the police. The law enforcement officer has the same duty as the citizen-indeed, he has a higher duty–to abide by the letter and spirit of our Constitution and laws. You yourselves must be careful to obey the letter of the law. You yourselves must be intellectually honest in the enforcement of the law.” Harry S. Truman

6. “The friendless, the weak, the victims of prejudice and public excitement are entitled to the same quality of justice and fair play that the rich, the powerful, the well-connected, and the fellow with pull thinks he can get.” Harry S. Truman

7. “[T]he rule of law does more than ensure freedom from high-handed action by rulers. It ensures justice between man and man however humble the one and however powerful the other. A man with five dollars in the bank can call to account the corporation with five billion dollars in assets–and the two will be heard as equals before the law.Dwight D. Eisenhower

8. “Every citizen, regardless of his race, creed, or color, is entitled to equal justice.” Lyndon B. Johnson

9. “Effective law enforcement and social justice must be pursued together, as the foundation of our efforts against crime.” Lyndon B. Johnson

10. “It is very seldom that any one is in prison for an ordinary crime unless early in life he entered a path that almost invariably led to the prison gate. Most of the inmates are the children of the poor. In many instances they are either orphans or half-orphans; their homes were the streets and byways of big cities, and their paths naturally and inevitably took them to their final fate.” Lyndon B. Johnson quoting Clarence Darrow

11. “Law enforcement officers should use only the minimum force necessary in dealing with disorders when they arise. A human life–the life of a student, soldier, or police officer–is a precious thing, and the taking of a life can be justified only as a necessary and last resort.” Richard Nixon

12. “[W]e cannot speak of human rights in other countries unless we are going to do our utmost to protect the rights of our own people here at home.” Jimmy Carter

13. “[N]early all inmates are drawn from the ranks of the powerless and the poor. A child of privilege frequently receives the benefit of the doubt; a child of poverty seldom does.” Jimmy Carter

14. “In many courts, plea bargaining serves the convenience of the judge and the lawyers, not the ends of justice, because the courts simply lack the time to give everyone a fair trial.” Jimmy Carter

15. “Powerful white-collar criminals cheat consumers of millions of dollars; public officials who abuse their high rank damage the integrity of our Nation in profound and longlasting ways. But too often, these bigshot crooks escape the full consequences of their acts. Justice must be blind to rank, power, and position.” Jimmy Carter

16. “What our administration and our party seek is the day when the tragic side of the black legacy in America can be laid to rest once and for all, and the long, perilous voyage toward freedom, dignity, and opportunity can be completed—a day when every child born in America will live free not only of political injustice but of fear, ignorance, prejudice, and dependency.” Ronald Reagan

17. “Law enforcement officials cannot place themselves above the law that they are sworn to defend.” George H.W. Bush

18. “What we’re going to do is look into violations of the law and prosecute any of the people that have violated the Federal law and speak out against police brutality — because what I saw made me sick. It was sickening to see the beating that was rendered, and there’s no way, in my view, to explain that away. It was outrageous.” George H.W. Bush

19. “Not all Americans are living the American dream by a long shot. Many can’t even imagine it. There are impoverished Americans, the poor and the homeless, the hungry and the hopeless, many unable to read and write. There are Americans gone astray, the kids dragged down by drugs, the shattered families, the teenage mothers struggling to cope. Then there are Americans uneasy, troubled and bewildered by the dizzying pace of change.” George H.W. Bush

20. “[W]e have a right to expect a police force that protects our citizens and behaves in a responsible manner… in the American conscience there is no room for bigotry and racism.” George H.W. Bush

21. “[W]e also generally agree that it is important for you to focus on the constructive steps the Administration has taken and will take to root out police brutality,and strengthen the bond between police officers and the communities they serve.” Bill Clinton

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