Colin Powell, Secretary of State with Republican George W. Bush, this Sunday accused President Donald Trump of having “departed” from the Constitution for his belligerent stance in the face of protests over the death during a police arrest of George Floyd last 25 May in Minneapolis.
“We have a Constitution. We have to comply with that Constitution. And the president has departed from it. I am very proud of the generals and admirals,” said Powell, himself an African American, in statements to CNN referring to the rejection of the leadership. military to the deployment of combat forces to contain the protests.
Trump has criticized the “extreme left”, “anarchists” and “anti-fascists” for the mostly peaceful mobilizations for the death of Floyd. He even went so far as to propose the deployment of 10,000 active duty servicemen last week.
With the calmer situation as the days passed, the Secretary of Defense ratified in writing his refusal to resort to the “law of insurrection”, a legislation that is more than 100 years old that Trump wanted to use as a legal basis to deploy the Army in American soil.
Only the intervention of the attorney general William Barr, the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, and the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, managed to convince the president to renounce the idea.
The intervention of the Army within the borders of the United States is regulated in part by the Posse Comitatus law, which only allows this type of deployment in absolutely extraordinary circumstances such as an invasion, an epidemic or any other circumstance that, according to the President, incapacitates to the security forces to maintain control of the country. All in all, it is considered an act of absolute last resort.
The protests began after a video was released showing a white police officer pressing Floyd’s neck to the ground with his knee for almost nine minutes in Minneapolis. The person responsible for the death of Floyd and three other agents are charged, the first for murder and the other two for collaboration and complicity.