Those who remember the last time the Insurrection Act was used, during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, warn that President Donald Trump could undo decades of progress between police and the communities they serve if he invokes it now.
Calling governors weak and urging them to "dominate" American cities, Trump threatened Monday to invoke the little-known law against people protesting the death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. The Insurrection Act, which dates to 1807, allows the president to call up active-duty military units or federalize the National Guard under certain circumstances.
"We don't need to be telling people that we're going to dominate them. That language doesn't work," said professor Erroll Southers, a former law enforcement officer who specializes in national and homeland security issues at the University of Southern California. "It just reinforces where we were decades ago."