Anti-police?! Glenn tells critics of 'The Root: Excessive Force' the truth about Thursday's special

On Thursday, Glenn will premiere the latest episode of 'The Root', entitled 'Excessive Force'. Many have seen the short previews and, for some reason, assume Glenn has gone anti-police. Anyone who has watched the show knows this could not be further from the truth. 'The Root' will delve into the militarization of the police, but it will not be anti-police by any means. On his TV show Wednesday, Glenn responded to critics and explained exactly what the core issues are that 'The Root' will address.

Below is a transcript of this segment:

Tomorrow night is the latest episode of The Root. It is called “Excessive Force,” and we’re going to talk tomorrow about this time period from the early 1900s really until today, and we’re going to show you excessive force with the police and why it is happening.

I want you to understand, the reason why I’m doing this show tomorrow is because of these people and the administration, what these people are doing to try to make the bottom rise up, make the police look totally incompetent so the top comes down so we beg the Justice Department and the FBI, “Somebody’s got to do something.” The top comes down, and we’re done. This is really important that you understand this history.

Now, we put a promo together, and some people are already very angry with me, calling me anti-police and just about every other name in the book. The title of the program is provocative, but excessive force is not meant in the way the typical liberal anti-cop person means. I am by no means anti-cop, never have been, never will be. This episode does not bash the actions of individual police officers in any way.

Tomorrow’s program is to challenge the direction the local police is heading. I want to show you this promo that already is causing so much controversy with our audience. Watch.

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Glenn: Local police now have the capacity to turn cities both big and small into a war zone, patrolling streets in tanks and armored personnel carriers and geared up with the same fatigues and weapons you’d see on a soldier. Rare cases, such force is warranted, but it is becoming the norm rather than the exception.

You’re going to meet some of the guys that have been doing research on this program for the last couple of months, and I want to remind you that this program has been one of the only programs that has uncovered what the Chicago police are doing, which is a warehouse in the midst of Chicago, and they are using it as almost like a CIA or Guantánamo Bay interrogation room. It goes against everything in the Constitution.

We’re talking about a complete military takeover or military style takeover of our police department for no good reasons. If they’re outgunned, I want them to have the guns. I want them to have the things that they need. I’m a guy who’s on the border patrol, arm the border patrol, arm them. Let them use their guns. I get it.

Most rational people will not argue that the police have overused or have begun to overuse the militaristic option. I have a place that we stay in the summers, and it’s a town of maybe 5,000 people. It has an MRAP. Why does this little teeny town need an MRAP? Now, there are some indisputable facts. SWAT raids have now ballooned out of control. There are 80,000 SWAT raids, and here’s the problem, if you’re going to take down a violent gang, I want the SWAT there, but most of these 80,000 kicking down the doors and using flash bang grenades are conducted on not violent but nonviolent criminals, many of them misdemeanor criminals.

This is not the fault of the officer. I believe honestly it is the fault of the city pressuring people to use these things because they paid for them. I explicitly state in The Root tomorrow night, and I’ll say it right now, officers cannot be blamed for doing the job they’re asked to do as long as it is within the lines of the Constitution. If you’re going to break the Constitution, you’re just hey, I was doing what I was told, well, so were the people that were putting the bodies into the incinerator in Germany. That’s no excuse. But as long as you’re following Constitution and you’re doing the job you’re supposed to do and you’re fighting for your life, I’m with you.

I argue and state in The Root that because of these policies, I believe our officers are actually being put at a greater risk for injury and harm. As these things spiral out of control, they want the SWAT teams. They want the military on the ground. They want all of these things so the average person looks at them as a victim, and we’ve got a war going on.

I will tell you, we never needed it in the United States before. We needed it in the 1960s. It is not a mistake. It is by design that these things are happening again. So, we have to think strategically, and somebody with $300 worth of pot and no criminal history and the weapons, for them to have their door knocked down by a SWAT team in the middle of the night—let me ask you this. We have a story. I think it’s in The Root. It may have been on the editing room floor, so if you see it tomorrow, pretend you didn’t hear it before.

There’s a story of a guy, he was a mayor of a town. They were going in to get a typical raid on somebody who had like $300 of pot next door to the mayor’s house. Well, the SWAT team got the house wrong, and they actually broke down the door of the mayor’s house, flash bang grenades, put everybody down on the floor. The mayor himself said had I had a gun, I would have drawn that gun because I’m a law-abiding citizen. I would’ve drawn that gun, and I could have fired at one of those police officers because you think you’re being attacked.

If you have guns in your house and you’re a law-abiding citizen, to have somebody break into your house, your natural reaction is to draw and shoot. You’re being invaded. He said if I would’ve done that, I would’ve been dead. That’s the mayor of a town. This exact scenario is happening over and over and more and more frequently. Eighty thousand SWAT teams were unleashed in the last year. That is a whole new territory.

The policy is what we’re challenging, not the police officers. This is a program, not a condemnation of officers. I want to take some time and just respond to some of the letters, some of the comments that are up here on Facebook that are truly remarkable. I’m just going to answer a few of them that are the common complaints.

This one comes in from Daniel. “Should they be wearing ball caps and tennis shorts? You equip with the best available to protect yourself.” Daniel, please, don’t be insulting. Of course, officers should be appropriately protected.

I was just at a movie theater last Friday. I go into the movie theater, and here’s this woman cop. She’s standing by the popcorn counter. Now, she’s working at a movie counter in a suburb of Dallas, okay? I walk up to her, I thank her, and I put my hand on her back, as I do it every single cop I ever see. If I feel a vest, I say, “Thank you and thank you for being safe.”

She wasn’t wearing one. I tapped her on her back, and I said, “The world is changing rapidly. Please, don’t go out without a vest.” Of course, we address this. Of course we have them dress appropriately. But why the camouflage? Why the military look? Most of the 40,000 raids conducted are nonviolent drug offenders. Listen to that, 40,000, 80,000, I think in the last year, estimated 40,000 in the last few years, and most of them nonviolent drug offenders. Because of the increased frequency, there are increased mistakes, often with tragic consequences.

We on this program told you the story of the flash bang that went into a house, and there was a baby in the room. The baby suffered severe burns from it. This is going to happen. The more we do these things, the worse it’s going to be for the officer and the citizen. Some officers have been shot because the person being raided in the middle of the night has no idea what’s going on. They think they’re being robbed by a gang. They shoot.

The overuse of the military heavy weaponry is what I have a problem with. As I said, in my small town of 5,000 people, there may not even be 5,000 people in that town, they have an MRAP. Ask why do you have an MRAP? Well, sometimes we have to serve a warrant. Does the mob live here? Do you have biker gangs that live here? Did you have a big shootout with somebody? No, unnecessary.

Peter writes, “We dress so we come home!” I know that. “Believe it or not criminals have stronger weapons than police. Police equip to survive. Take your anti police views to CNN.” Okay, I’ve never had anti-police views, ever. When the subject of a raid is known to have heavy weaponry or suspected to, has a violent history, I am all for taking the SWAT team and go armed to the teeth. The problem is, Peter, the situation you describe is not what is actually happening the majority of the time.

We can talk about feelings. I’d much rather talk about facts. Most of the SWAT raids conducted now are for standard drug warrants involving misdemeanor-level criminals who have no violent history. All officers risk their lives every single day. Every day they suit up and put a badge on, they’re risking their life. I know that.

So, why is it then they don’t wear the military gear all the time? Wouldn’t that give them the best chance to survive? Of course it would. Why don’t we do it? Because we know being policed by a military force rather than a partner in our community is what creates distance between us. Do you think CAIR, International Answer, MoveOn, Color of Change, Code Pink, Open Society, you think it helps to have everybody suited up like a military and MRAPs running through our streets all the time? Do you think that’s helping their case or helping your case? I guarantee it’s helping them say the police are out of control, and they’re going to get you.

You have people in this country who have always respected the flag, always respected the law, have lived their life, their entire life, being the kind of people that always—I’m one of them—always goes up to the policemen, even in New York City, and shakes their hand and say, “Thank you. I know what you’re dealing with. Sometimes I probably don’t, but thank you for doing what you’re doing. I appreciate it, and so does my family.” I always do that.

Even I and people like me all across the country are starting to have doubts. Why? Because the government is arming the military. You have to look at optics as well. Paul writes, “Shame on you Glenn and during National Law Enforcement Memorial Week to boot. Here’s a Novel idea…walk a mile in their shoes. I challenge you sir…go spend some time and some of these crime ridden cities on the streets with the Officers.”

No, thank you. No, thank you. I don’t know what you go through, but I can guess. I’ve driven through many times going to work at a soup kitchen in Bridgeport, Connecticut. I know exactly what a hell hole that is. No, thank you. “I know without a shadow of a doubt you’ll walk away with a deeper understanding and a [sic] abiding respect for our brothers and sisters in Law Enforcement!” I already have that, Paul. I have the deepest respect, and I honor the men and women in law enforcement. I always have. I always give them the benefit of the doubt time and time again.

Have you heard me condemn the police officers in either Missouri at Ferguson or in Baltimore? You haven’t heard it here. You have heard me say get the bad ones out, but let’s let the system work. I know I have talked with countless officers. I very much understand and respect the men and women in blue. Blue lives matter, but that does not mean that I have to agree with the policies that they are being forced to abide by. I actually think those policies are very harmful to the officers you say I don’t respect.

Look, they are arming you to the teeth, and then have you noticed in Ferguson and in Baltimore, they had no-go zones. You’re armed to the teeth so you look provocative, and yet they’re holding you back. Why do you think they’re doing that? Why? They are causing the American people to lose trust in you. Nothing you’re doing is making the American people lose trust in you. This is orchestrated, and we must know what’s going on and what the end of the road is.

If we were just sitting here talking about violence and what we arm people with, you and I could have a very reasonable conversation, but that’s not what we’re talking about. We are talking tomorrow about who this guy is, who this guy is, the guy who put into motion the militarization of our police force. When you see him in the progressive era and what it has led to, what happened in the 1960s and 1970s and now this coordinated effort, with the president saying we need a well-armed police force, a well-armed civilian force, I guarantee you, it will not be the local police.

The president just said I’m taking some of this military equipment away. No, he’s not. No, he is not. What he really did was say I’m not going to sell you tanks. Well, I hope that the police aren’t saying that they need tanks now. We got that. And he said no grenade launchers. I don’t know a cop that says he needs a grenade launcher. So, he is creating the impression he says you’re out of control because remember, the police act stupidly, so he’s creating the impression that you’re out of control, that you have too much stuff, when in reality he’s not taking any of that stuff away.

His people are holding you back while they are calling for the Justice Department to take over local policing. Don’t you see the game that is being played, and the cops are being set up? By God, man, I’m your best friend because no one else will talk about this—strategy.

These policies of increased force and militarization present the police as occupying military, not a partner in the community. That is not the fault of the officer. Let me ask you something, is it a good thing for the police officer to get out and throw a football with a kid on the street? Absolutely. Why? Because it shows the cops to be just like you, part of the community. Hey, you can trust them. When they come rolling in an MRAP to serve a warrant on your neighbor, what the hell is that? That’s not part of the community. That’s an occupying force to many Americans, and unfortunately, our cops will suffer the consequences of these policies.

I invite you to watch the program tomorrow night and see if it changes your mind. It may not. It may not. I know that we have done months of homework on this particular program, months. I don’t expect to be popular with everybody. I know my views are controversial. I accept that. My job is to tell you the truth, whether you like it or not, the way I find it.

The problem is not the police officer. It is the policy of increased militarization. This is new. I don’t have a problem with our police officers. I have a problem with the Department of Homeland Security. And what else? What are they calling for? What is this top that will come down? I believe what our president, this administration, and many in Congress are lining up for is out of line with the vision of our framers, and I’m sorry, the Constitution is not just a cute rule of thumb. The Constitution is the law of the land. If you don’t like it, we should amend it. There are those who just want to overthrow it or dismiss it. I am neither of those two.

Taylor wrote and said, “If they have ak47 and I’m going into a house I at least want a [sic] m4 or something of equal stopping power. We are not fighting gangs with sling shots people.” I got it. I got it. If there’s a raid and we know they have AK-47s or we have reasonable belief that they do, by all means, lock and load, no problem, but you cannot apply that logic to the patrol of regular city streets because if you do, then my argument, just to be consistent, is we don’t know what the bad guys could have.

We’re dealing with ISIS coming across our border. They might have RPGs. We better have armored vehicles and MRAPs for all routine patrols just in case. You cannot go down that road. Jason, “Take the ‘military’ equipment away from the police and when the situation arises when that equipment is needed you’ll have to call out the actual military. Be careful what you wish for.” Don’t think that I haven’t thought that one through. I never said take the equipment away from the police. What I’m arguing is exactly what you say—when the equipment is needed, it should be the only time it’s used, not to serve warrants. This is not the reality now—80,000 SWAT events, 80,000 SWAT events.

When you see what a SWAT team was originally designed to be, it’ll make a lot of sense. It is being unnecessarily used. I invite you to go beyond judge a book by the cover. Don’t judge a program by a trailer. Watch the program for yourself. While I understand seeing the phrase “excessive force” in the headline can be misconstrued as typical anti-cop, Occupy Wall Street nonsense, I do not accept that from my thinking fans.

This is in no way with this program is about. I know many police officers who don’t agree with the overuse of military tactics. I know police officers, I know military men who are gravely concerned about the way we are using our police on the local level. They are concerned for your safety, your lives, and the future of our police departments.

There are times when force is justified, and I have no problem with those in those instances. When the case is borderline, I side with the judgment of the police. But let’s talk facts.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

Get tickets and learn more about the event here.

The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!