Harvard Law Professors Criticize Trump’s Response to Protests
Harvard Law School faculty are condemning Trump’s response to police brutality protests.
In an open letter, 160 faculty criticized the president’s military response following the killing of George Floyd, The Harvard Crimson reports.
WHAT TRUMP SAID
As protests erupted nationwide following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, President Trump tweeted a post condemning non-peaceful protests, stating “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
In the letter, Harvard faculty members denounced the tweet arguing that the president’s language encourages violence.
“By legitimating lawless action by public officials, the president’s tweet invites other individuals to take similarly destructive action,” the letter states.
Faculty members even went so far as to say that the president was acting unlawful.
“We don’t under our Constitution live in a society where even if somebody is stealing something they get shot,” Harvard Law School professor Christine A. Desan tells The Crimson. “To have him pledge to use excessive state violence against people indiscriminately is really unlawful — deeply unlawful.”
ACT AGAINST INJUSTICE
Authors of the letter say they hope students learn how to act against injustice and defend fundamental principles of the legal system.
“We’re not just teaching our students tactical principles of law,” Harvard Professor Kenneth W. Mack tells The Crimson. “We are hopefully teaching and setting an example about how to be responsible citizens — lawyers specifically — in a democracy.”
Mack says lawyers hold a responsibility for knowing when to speak out against injustice.
“The protests were set in motion by an act of lawlessness, and the President of United States has responded by promoting, recommending, and pledging to engage in further lawlessness,” he tells The Crimson. “That was the reason we felt the need to speak up.”