The fault line: Cleveland’s dividing lines over race issues come to light under Trump

The Ohio city is one of America’s most racially segregated and under Trump, many fear a conflict between the black community and mostly white police force

by Chris McGreal in Cleveland, Ohio / The Guardian / Friday 3 March 2017 06.00 EST


It’s not easy being a black cop in Cleveland. During his 23 years in uniform, and now as a detective, Lynn Hampton has weaved a tricky path between the city’s African American majority and its overwhelmingly white, sometimes trigger-happy police department. Some in the black community called him a sellout. A few white colleagues regard him as an infiltrator. But Hampton did not give up working to bridge the divide.

Then came Donald Trump.

“We’re trying to keep a lid on this thing here. You’ve got people in this city saying the police department is racist, that we are neo-Nazis,” said Hampton. “Now with Trump coming on the scene, spewing out these bigotries, my community is quite frankly saying this dude is a racist. Then he’s talking about bringing back law and order again, and we know what that meant in the past. What’s that saying to the black community? We’re opening back up open season on African Americans. That’s what people are thinking.”