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Race relations has been an incendiary theme of American politics for decades, re-ignited by the death of black American George Floyd beneath the knee of a white police officer in May.
Most commentators expected it to have a central effect on the election.
But not so, according to one retired American police officer who spoke to SR News from his home in Georgia as the election unfolded.
THE killing of George Floyd was an event which has had no real effect on America’s vote, despite the firestorm of racial, social and political division which it unleashed.
So said retired Georgia police sergeant David Banks last night, as America was about halfway through its polling, with all still to play for.
The former police officer, a Trump supporter who served in Montezuma, Georgia, said: “The George Floyd incident did not have much influence on the 2020 election, as most of the people who it would have affected would have been hardcore Democrats.
“They would have voted that way anyways, to secure all of the free Government things they receive and not have to work. It’s funny they want socialism. If they had it, they would then have to work.”
Mr Banks also offered a different perspective on the George Floyd incident from the viewpoint of a police officer – with an important implication for the next President.
While he agreed that excessive force was used on Mr Floyd, he also said the incident could be seen as the result of the nature of policing in the United States, where he said police officers often suffer from “burnout” and have no access to mental health support.
He compared it to the stresses suffered by soldiers in combat zones, which have also resulted in multiple excessive use of force cases among different militaries.
Mr Banks said: “After spending five or more years, you start getting burned out. You start getting opinionated and it’s not good. Higher-ups need to pay closer attention to that”.
He explained that police officers in the US do not have much access to mental health other than the initial psychiatric evaluation they are given when they enter the force.
After that, they are usually left to fend for their own mental health, which can result in officers losing the capacity for anything other than outright enforcement of what they’re trained to police – without any grey areas for human tolerance.
“They don’t have access to mental health support, but they should,” he said.
Mr Banks said: “When you’re out in the street, you’ve got to take control of the situation, and when you’ve got rioters and people not listening to your commands you’ve got no choice but to use the force necessary to improve the situation.”
However, Mr Banks said the death of George Floyd had profound implications for whoever claims the White House, in terms of the future funding of police across America.
“Defunding the police may result in a repeat of the George Floyd incident, especially if mental health among police officers is not addressed,” he said.