Irish police officer in US: 'Trump is agitating everyone and just causing more trouble'

An Irish man who is a police officer in Washington DC says US President Donald Trump is "just cau...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.27 3 Jun 2020

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Irish police officer in US: 'T...

Irish police officer in US: 'Trump is agitating everyone and just causing more trouble'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.27 3 Jun 2020

Share this article

An Irish man who is a police officer in Washington DC says US President Donald Trump is "just causing more trouble" with his actions.

Mark Kirwan, originally from Co Tipperary, went over to the US in 1993 to run a horse farm - but instead ended up working in the restaurant and bar industry.

He joined the police after the September 11th attacks, and has been 20 years in the Washington DC police department.


Asked about the public mood to the George Floyd protests, he told The Hard Shoulder: "It's absolutely horrific, Ivan, I have never experienced anything like it in my 20 years on the police department.

"The mood in the city - yesterday morning you drove around and the only smell you could get was the smell of fresh plywood being drilled into storefronts which had been destroyed.

"I'd like to say myself I'm completely against what happened in Minneapolis, I thought it was a disgrace and I hope that officers get what's coming to them regarding the legal system.

"That is not the feeling here amongst the police department in regards to support for anything like that - we're an extremely professional police department.

"We've really been tried and tested.

"Last night I come off a 20 hour shift - I've been punched, I've been spat at, someone tried to steal my police cruiser - but that doesn't make up for the fact that an innocent man was killed in the hands of police officers.

"When I put on the uniform I have to respect everything and everyone as I do in my personal life - and that includes the president of the country - but I've a terrible feeling that he is just agitating everyone in the city and just causing more trouble".

He said a curfew has been in place for the last two nights - but that they were told not to enforce it on the second night "because we really didn't want to have a lot of arrests and aggravate those who are on the streets trying to protest.

"The issue is that during the day you have a lot of peaceful protests, and then as soon as it gets dark it's a different kind of protest.

"It's looting, it's violence, it's very similar to Beirut."

"I don't know if we can get back form this - the divide which has been created is huge.

"There's a lot more people who have been affected throughout the States by racism, by violence from others who feel they're superior and may wear a badge and a gun".

Irish police officer in US: 'Trump is agitating everyone and just causing more trouble'

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Describing driving around the streets on Tuesday night, he said: "On every corner, I counted maybe a dozen to two dozen ATF, DEA, FBI agents along with the the 82nd airborne special forces.

"There was over 2,000 forces which were never on the street, there were in hotels waiting for something to go down.

"The local military airport here, which would be Andrews Airforce Base, where the president's own plane is kept was like a regular airport yesterday: there was planes just landing non-stop with troops on them, which President Trump had ordered to come in to defend the city".

"The Metropolitan Police in DC we run the entire city regarding law enforcement... and now we've basically been invaded by federal agencies - and I don't think they're held to the same standards as the local police department.

"We have internal affairs follow us, we have body cameras, they don't - everything is extremely well investigated by the Metropolitan Police department, but federally it scares me a little bit to tell you the truth - it's more like Martial Law."

Asked about racism in US police forces, he said: "I think, Ivan, in every aspect of life there's racism.

"Not just police departments but throughout companies, throughout the world you're going to have racism.

"The majority of crime - and I'm speaking on behalf of the city of DC - the majority of crime is in the low-housing income area, and for the most part that is 99.9% African- American.

"So when police go in to those areas and make arrests, obviously there's going to be tension and confrontation.

"Is that considered racism because there's a higher emphasis on that area where the higher crime rate is?"

"There is racism, there's reverse racism - so it's not just white versus black, black versus white: there's multitudes of racism that are within every department

"I think it's how the police departments are managed, and thankfully DC is managed extremely well".

Asked about the future, Mr Kirwan said: "It's not going to change as long as I think the person who's in power is in power.

"I believe that there's a lot of hatred being spread and he's someone that, once you poke him with the hot iron, he just gets worse.

"So I really think that the general election coming up should be, and I hope will be, very different from what it has been in the past and voters will actually turn out to try and possibly get someone else in who can help calm the situation.

"And it is going to take an awful lot of rebuilding".

Protests over the killing of George Floyd in police custody have continued across the US, despite curfew imposed in around 40 cities.

Mr Floyd died after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the back of his neck for nearly nine minutes in the city of Minneapolis.

Video of the incident shows the unarmed Mr Floyd repeatedly telling the policeman “I can’t breathe” before losing consciousness.

Mr Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter - however, Mr Floyds family are calling for all four police officers involved in the arrest to face justice.

Main image: Mark Kirwan is seen near the White House in Washington DC. Image: Supplied

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