What do the statistics actually tell us about police brutality in black communities? What is the leading cause of death for young black men?
I sat down with Brandon Tatum, a former police officer and author of the upcoming book, “Beaten Black and Blue: Being a Black Cop in an America Under Siege.” He explains how his own worldview changed dramatically and how he came to co-found the BLEXIT movement. And he gives us his theory on a hidden agenda behind the defund the police movement.
Jan Jekielek: Brandon Tatum, so great to have you on American Thought Leaders.
Brandon Tatum: It’s my pleasure.
Mr. Jekielek: In a number of our major cities in America, and not just in America, the murder rates are up by a staggering amount. The study that I saw said 30 percent. That is a large increase in the number of people dying.
2020 was a crazy year. Of course, we were in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. We had this whole “defund the police” movement. You’re a former police officer and you’re at the center of all this. You’ve been thinking about this a lot. What’s going on here?
Mr. Tatum: Unfortunately, in our country, we have individuals and organizations that have to push an agenda, and their agenda is really the cause of a lot of turmoil that we see in law enforcement and in the crime rate that we see spiking aroaund the country.
For example, in Portland, Oregon, in the city of Portland, they have an 800 percent increase in crime, and that is astronomical. That’s dangerous. It’s scary. That’s un-American.
These things are occurring, and we’re seeing these unprecedented times because a group of individuals in this country and organizations have a strong agenda to push something that is un-American.
Mr. Jekielek: Okay. So, what is this agenda in your mind?
Mr. Tatum: It is an agenda to completely destroy and dismantle local police departments so that the government can have control of law enforcement in this country and push a nationwide agenda. That cannot be accomplished because in our country, states have rights and local municipalities have the ability to control what goes on in their city.
I.e, if you have a mask mandate, if the federal government wants everybody to wear a mask—states have rights, and the governor does not have to comply with that. Also, states and the municipalities do not have to comply with mandating masks.
Mr. Tatum: Now, if the police departments are federalized, then when they start to come down with mask mandates, vaccine mandates, the obstruction of the Second Amendment, wanting to ban AR-15s, all of the above—I believe that the government has a lot more leverage federalizing these agencies and that’s the end goal.
I don’t believe it has anything to do with racism, police brutality, and on down the chart. It has probably very little to do with that. That is a talking point to push an even bigger agenda.
Mr. Jekielek: Okay, that’s fascinating. We have to dig into that. I have not considered this as an option. But why don’t you tell me about this? The reality is that you’re suggesting that the whole police brutality i’s a narrative. It’s not actually what’s happening out there. Can you break that down for me?
Mr. Tatum: Right. So, let’s start from the beginning and look at what people are projected or claimed to be targeted. It’s claimed to be African-American and minority people in this country that are being targeted. If people who are making these statements from government positions, from leadership positions are saying that they care about the lives and well-being of minorities in this country, at the onset, it’s a complete farce.
Because the leading cause of death for black men my age—middle-aged black men in this country, is being murdered by other black men. Police brutality is a small fraction of the drama, chaos, and confusion that goes on in the inner city.
So, if they are pushing this as if it’s a pandemic or epidemic, then they are already being deceptive from the beginning. However, when you look at the numbers, and I was a police officer, 90 percent or 95 percent of our interactions with the public did not turn violent.
They are taking isolated situations that they pick and choose from all over the country—320 million people who have an opportunity to be in an interaction with police—they’re picking and choosing out of that pool of people. They’re saying that this is the norm, but it’s simply not true.
Mr. Jekielek: That’s definitely not what we hear in the corporate or legacy media all the time. We’re hearing a very, very different story.
Mr. Tatum: The reason why that is, and I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I’m just an American citizen with a brain, the way I look at it is that there is a particular agenda. If you notice every time that there’s an election season, you see this ramp up, this police brutality, and this concern for the minority community.
Just look at stats. You talk about police interactions. You talk about police-involved shootings. If you look at the racial breakdown of police shootings, white individuals in this country who identify as white are being shot twice as much as black people in this country who identify as black or are categorized as black.
A lot of people say, “Well, there’s more white people in the population.” However, when you look at crime statistics, black people in this country commit over half of all violent crimes. They also commit nearly half of all murders in this country. And when you look at the police interaction and involvement in communities, police officers are involved in minority communities disproportionately.
So, when you look at the disproportionate amount of police interactions, and you look at the outcome of shootings, it’s very clear that white people are being shot even more than blacks, given the patrol capacity.
So when you look at the statistical data and look at these numbers, you can see that there’s something not adding up, when every time you turn on the mainstream media these celebrities are coming out and saying they can’t even leave their house, and none of these people are represented in the white community.
Also, there’s a statistic that people may not know, and you can ask 90 percent of people in America and they’re going to get this wrong. You say, “Well, who’s been shot more by police unarmed? Black people or white people?” Look at the stats. It’s been twice as many white people that are shot unarmed by police than black people.
Yet we have not one name. We have no T-shirts of any white person that has been shot and killed unarmed. That is a problem when we are claiming that we want to take care of the overarching issue. They’re deceiving us through the statistical data, and they’re pushing an agenda on the news and on politicians every four years or two years, depending on the election cycle.
That leads me to believe that there is something nefarious going on and that they have an objective that’s beyond what they’re telling us.
Mr. Jekielek: I want to talk about this whole idea of federalizing the police. I won’t forget this, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot. It seems to me like such a terrible tragedy that black men in America are both disproportionately the perpetrators and the victims of violent crime. That seems to be something that we should really be working on together.
Mr. Tatum: 100 percent. If we really care, and I know I care, then we need to get to the root cause of the problem. You can’t just put a band-aid over it and hope that it heals. You have to go and put disinfectant in it, and let it breathe a little bit, and let it heal in a natural way. There’s a time and a place for a band-aid, but you don’t utilize a band-aid to fix the problem.
I grew up in an inner-city community. It is a cultural issue that has been perpetuated from generation to generation. It is a component of hatred that’s misguided and passed down through generations.
My great-grandmother and my grandmother had a reasonable thought process when it comes to feeling disenfranchised by white Americans, because my great-grandmother couldn’t drink out of the same water fountain as white people.
However, that pain and suffering and that mistrust for white Americans has been passed down unjustifiably to the next generation or later generations, and we don’t deal with those things.
When you have that, and you have a political climate where a particular party wants your vote, they’re going to tell you what you want to hear and try to play this savior to an invisible problem. They are going to push an agenda and that causes a lot of pain and hurt—real pain and hurt.
On top of that confusion, you have this delusional state in the inner city. When your father is in prison, or your father has been murdered by another black man, it creates a level of hatred towards other black people. So it turns into this self-destructive cycle that we see and the result of that is a police encounter that ends up fatal.
Mr. Jekielek: Now, you were just talking about your family. You grew up in the inner city. Tell me about that and how you ended up joining the force. How did that work?
Mr. Tatum: Yes. I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. My mom and dad were separated when we were young. I never remember them even getting along together, let alone being in a functional relationship with one another. We lived in multiple different places. We started out in a very humble beginning.
My dad was a firefighter. He started when he was 19, and he didn’t make a great deal of money. We methodically went from place to place, growing up out of the inner city. Eventually, we ended up living out of the inner city.
However, I graduated from high school right in the middle of the hood in Fort Worth, Texas in a neighborhood called Stop Six. In that environment, I was exposed to the same things that I’m talking about.
Also in this environment, when you look at members of my family, particularly on one side of my family, you have multiple people who were selling drugs, using drugs, and murdering people. A few of my family members are doing life in prison. It was a troubling reality.
When I was in high school, people would come off the street into the school, adults, to fight, multiple fights a day. And I will never forget this. It was two guys, neither one of these individuals actually went to our school. Their younger brothers went to our school. They almost crashed in the parking lot, and then they pulled guns on each other in front of everybody, even with an armed police officer at the school.
The disregard for human life in this cultural dilemma is something that needs to be addressed. And if more people like myself will come out and be honest and stop blaming the police and stop going down that path, we’ll come to a fair judgment of what’s going on.
However, despite all of that, it’s invaluable for me to talk about God’s plan for my life. Because, despite all of that, I got a scholarship to play football. I went to the University of Arizona, and it just opened my mind up because I had only lived around black people and everything was Afro-centric. Everything was about the black struggle and black people, and the way we think and how we process information from this one perspective.
When I went to college, a primarily white university, I realized that racism wasn’t what I was taught in this fearmongering state in the inner city. I got along with just about everybody. I never had a person call me out of my name that wasn’t black on a college campus.
I got saved in 2008. I went to college in 2005. I got saved in 2008. I was baptized in Jesus’ name, filled with his spirit, and I completely changed.
That led me to having more of an open mind which eventually led me to apply for the police department. I never wanted to be a police officer. I never thought about it a day in my life, but I really just needed a job. I needed an opportunity because football hadn’t worked out for me the way I wanted it to work out.
So, I just applied. I didn’t know nothing about policing. And I said, “You know what? I’m going to do a ride-along.” I did a ride-along with Officer Sean Payne, who’s my favorite officer in the world. He really revealed to me how heroic policing is.
All of the myths of policing and all of the things that people have said just went out of the window when I saw a man who happened to be white, day in and day out going through and doing things that I, at the time, could only last 20 minutes at. He was doing this all day, every day for years. That really inspired me. I finished the process and I became a Tucson police officer.
Mr. Jekielek: That’s a fascinating journey and as you’re describing this, I asked myself how in this inner-city reality can you even think about defunding police departments? I know you’re saying it’s an agenda. You mentioned that. Do people in the inner city think that as well?
Mr. Tatum: There are two parts to people in the inner city. You have the people who are honest individuals who want to do better with their lives. If they have more money and opportunities, they will move out of the inner city. They will move to a better environment. However, they’re in this environment and making the best of it.
Then you have the criminal element of this environment. I may say there’s three parts. You have the criminal element of this environment that terrorizes the community, that’s a stain on the legacy of inner city, minority individuals. Then in the middle, you have those people who may come from either side that are voting through brainwashing.
Not through brainwashing, they’re voting while being brainwashed. So they make these unjustifiable decisions based on propaganda. Then we remove that third group and we go to a fourth group. It’s fair to say that you have individuals, possibly from both sides, that are more rational and say, “Look, let’s vote in our best interests and not be deceived by propaganda.”
Unfortunately, the third group that I mentioned that are being led by propaganda outnumbers the fourth group that are rational. Therefore, they’re voting for people who are putting them in a deficit and in a bad situation.
Defunding the police comes from that propaganda brainwashing because if you are walking around believing—because you’re not experiencing this—if you are being pushed and told all around the country these white racist police officers are getting away with murdering black people, of course, you’re going to feel that they should be defunded and other resources should be acclimated, or at least, derived from the money taken from police.
Of course, that’s what you’re going to believe if you’re being deceived. And when that happens and they defund the police, we see a cycle of violence.
The fourth group that I spoke about, the people who are rational, are taking the brunt of it. They’re the ones coming out and speaking out and saying, “We need the police, what kind of drugs are you guys smoking? We need the police to protect us, to protect our children, to protect our property value so we can open businesses, and so we have a desirable city that we can live in and function in.”
That four-squared dynamic is what we see, and that’s where the bulk of issues come from.
Mr. Jekielek: You know, I can’t help but think about this. I first became familiar with you in this really incredible film, “Uncle Tom,” where you play a very significant role in, along with Larry Elder who works with us these days. There’s some folks out there who probably aren’t very happy that you’re saying what you’re saying.
Mr. Tatum: Yes. I get pushback all the time and it’s incredibly fair. People don’t have to agree with what I’m saying. I don’t think people should just jump on the bandwagon and say, “Yeah, everything Brandon Tatum is saying is right,” unless you verify it.
So, for those who may disagree with what I’m saying, go and verify. Go and do some research. Look at the crime rate. Look at these things. Those who live in the inner city, they know for a fact I’m telling the truth because these experiences matriculate all throughout the country.
It’s not just a random situation happening in Fort Worth, Texas. I’ve been to different inner-city communities and many places around the country, and it’s the same soup warmed over in many of these places.
So, I get pushback a lot. A lot of it is the initial inertia of fear, and having to understand that you may have been lied to, or you may have been living a lie your entire life.
I felt the same level of fear the first time I heard Larry Elder completely eviscerate Dave Rubin on his show. Dave Rubin was talking about police brutality, this very thing, and Larry Elder was hitting him with facts so hard that I was blown away.
It made me reflect, and I had a level of resistance because I’m like, “Wait a minute. This guy is dismantling, at least, what he’s saying is dismantling everything I thought to be true, and that people that I love and care about have told me in the media, the news.
What is this newfound reality that I have to confront?” I didn’t believe him at face value. I said, “You know what? It sounds compelling. If it is true, it’s damning to my own understanding.”
I went and looked up the research and did the research myself, and it blew me away. It’s like I found out that I had been living a lie or was lied to, to some degree, for a very long time.
It inspired me after I got past the initial inertia to say, “I need to let everybody I know in on the secret of reality so that we can live a more prosperous, better life that’s conducive for growth and what we all want to achieve, and that’s the American dream.”
Mr. Jekielek: And yet, Uncle Tom is about what it’s like to be a black conservative. You faced a lot of pushback, it would seem, from all the stories that come through there.
Mr. Tatum: Yes. We get a lot of pushback, but I get a lot of love at the same time. There’s so many people that inspire me on a day-to-day basis because they’re saying, “Hey, thank you for what you do. I saw the Uncle Tom movie. I woke up. You guys are inspiring.”
I would say 85 percent of the feedback that I get on my social media and from people who see me in public, actually 100 percent of what I get in public, nobody’s ever confronted me in public—most of what I get is people saying, “Thank you for speaking out. Thank you for being a voice.” And those people come in all shades, colors, backgrounds, sex, sexualities, sexual identities,you could go down the list.”
Then you have that small fraction of people who are still struggling with their own identity, and trying to reconcile with this dude on television exposing things that are going on in my community, and I don’t know what to do about it. Do I get mad at him or do I join forces? That’s where the remaining 15 to 20 percent are coming from.
Mr. Jekielek: While you were an officer, what was the most difficult moment that you remember?
Mr. Tatum: Man, I have a book of them. One of the most challenging moments, and this is one of probably 20 I can speak right off the top of my head, was this epidemic of drugs killing young people.
I’ll never forget this older gentleman. I think he was Native American. We had gone to his son’s house because his son had OD’ed on drugs. The night before, his dad told him, “You need to stop using these drugs. They’re going to destroy your life.” He died the next day. His wife was in the bed with him. She woke up, he was cold and stiff, which is incredibly traumatizing to any wife out there.
His dad comes over and everybody’s just screaming in the living room. They’re bawling. They’re screaming. The son is still up in the upper room because we have to leave them there so we can investigate the scene and have OME [Office of the Medical Examiner] come and get the body. We have to leave them in place. So, nobody has gone upstairs to see him. He’s up there by himself.
Everybody’s traumatized and screaming in the front room. OME finally shows up to get his body. His dad is there and he’s the only one that’s not distraught, but you could tell he’s internalizing it. I remember we asked him, because it’s his son, we say, “Hey, do you want to see him before we put him in the body bag?”
Initially, he said, “No, I’m fine. I’m fine,” the toughest man that you can imagine. He’s like, “I’m fine. I’m fine.” Right before we go upstairs to get him, his dad said, “Let me see him. I want to see my son.”
I had to stand in the doorway to make sure he doesn’t obstruct the investigative scene, and I saw that man break right before my eyes. I’ll never forget him crying, and trying not to let me hear him cry out for his son. He just called him Junior.
I saw a man lose his son and saw the strength of that man break down to the point of uncontrollable emotion of loving your baby. That man’s son was a baby at one point. With me being a father and having a son, it’s one of the first times that I ever teared up on duty. It was traumatic, and I will never forget his face. I will never forget the apartment. I’ll never forget his son. And I’ll never forget that father standing over his son in such brokenness.
That speaks a lot to the reason why I did the job that I did. Some of the things that we see on a day-to-day basis are the reason why we have a perspective as police officers on things that need to change and how those things need to be administered.
Mr. Jekielek: This is an obvious question. I’m very curious about how you made it into speaking with people like me on camera. Before I get there, from your experience and from what you know through all this, the broad information set that you’ve accumulated, what are the solutions? Going back to what we said at the beginning, there is a 30 percent increase in murders in major cities in America.
Mr. Tatum: Yes. The solution is to not politicize anything. This just should not be about politics, Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal, libertarian; it should have nothing to do with politics and everything to do with real people that are being hurt in this country and with statistical data that’s impartial.
The impartial statistical data is saying we have a huge issue in the inner city, and it’s not the police officers. If you look at the crime, you look at the murders of young men my age, it’s mostly homicide by other black men, which leads to a high rate of incarceration of black men.
Then you say, “Well, how did these black men end up getting murdered or being the killer in these situations?” And I’m just going with murder. I’m not talking about violent crimes. I’m not talking about drug dealing. I’m just go with murder.
You say, “Well, the young men are not being brought up with strong fathers.” You need a dad. I don’t care what nobody says. I don’t care what any psychologist wants to put out there and make up a myth on. You need your father. The reason why I’m here today is because I had a strong father.
You need a man to show you, a good man, to show you how to treat women. You need a good man to show you what integrity looks like, what hard work look like, what dedication look like, and what legacy looks like. I push it to my son all the time that you are a Tatum. That name means something. The reason I say that to my son is because my dad said it to me and because his dad said it to him.
So when you have a strong father, you don’t see these young people who are out there lost, trying to find their identity in gang-banging, trying to find their identity in how many people can they shoot and get away with it, finding their identity in how much time they can spend in prison, and when they get out, how are they considered?
So we really got to start going through the layers and looking at how these things are transpiring, even beyond the fatherlessness. You got to look at, to a certain degree, you got to look at policies, not presidents and not political parties. You look at policy, no matter who it’s coming from.
The policies that are driving single parenthood, meaning the socialist policies that are pushed that allow the government to be your dad, that allow the government to be your support system, instead of actually holding men accountable to be there for their children and the women that they decide to have children with.
When you look at these things, we have to improve them. In this country, in the thirties, you’re talking at the height of racism and segregation and all of those things moving all the way up to the fifties, you have black families that in spite of those adversities were together. The divorce rate was 22 percent.
Now, after the civil rights movement, after the liberation of black people, equal treatment under the law, the constitutionally-afforded rights that we should have had at the very beginning, after we’ve been afforded these things through men and women who fought hard to get us here, we have a 75 percent plus divorce rate. We have children born in households without a father.
I talk about this in the book that I wrote, but we are seeing such a destruction in our inner-city communities. Focusing on law enforcement is not only a joke, but disrespectful to the legacy of black people in this country.
Let me finish with this. You heard all of what I said about the underpinning ideas and trauma that go on in the black community that can be addressed—fatherlessness, the drugs, and all of these different things.
Then you go to law enforcement and say, “How many black men were shot unarmed in Chicago, Illinois, in 2019″?” Zero. 2020? Zero. When you look at these numbers, you say, “Why are we hooking our saddles to this police brutality when we have 40 to 50 black people getting shot in one weekend in Chicago?”
Not one unarmed black man had been shot by the cops, yet we’re spending all of our focus and attention on law enforcement.
Black Lives Matter as an organization raised $90 million, and George Floyd didn’t get any money. His family didn’t get any money. Breonna Taylor’s family didn’t get any money. Jacob Blake, Michael Brown, I can go down the list. That money was never given or reunited with the black community. It never made it there.
I’ll say this and I have to get this part out because we were talking about this last night, me and a few friends. Black Lives Matter is possibly one of the largest, most influential political organizations ever. No other organization would have the power that Black Lives Matter has had in the last two years.
The question is with that power and leverage, every university has to wear a Black Lives Matter shirt. They got it all on television. You better post a black square or are you going to get canceled. They got in the NFL, they got it on buildings, and they got signs into parking lots and on the streets. Everybody knows Black Lives Matter around the world.
Did that benefit Black people? No. Does the murder rate go down in the inner city? No, it doesn’t. Does education in the inner city go up? Are black people more excited about being black in America? No. It has done nothing.
We’re going in the wrong direction towards the issues. We’re doing an external locus of control where we’re pushing out our problems and hoping that the savior comes from outside. But in this case, the savior comes from within.
We have to look in the mirror. We have to work in our communities to figure out how can we rise up and be a better group of people, and then we can start looking outward.
Mr. Jekielek: It was actually Larry Elder that mentioned this to me, and I did the fact-checking myself. It seems like the single biggest predictor of success across race, and across all sorts of demographic characteristics is the presence of a father in the household. It’s absolutely fascinating.
It’s not generally known how powerful it is to have a complete family unit raising kids and how much of a predictor of success that is.
The corollary to this was shocking to discover. I had to do my own fact check again. The Black Lives Matter organization had as one of its kind of goals, the destruction of the nuclear family, which, frankly, is bizarre.
Mr. Tatum: Yes. The unsuspecting person that’s looking at the name only, because everybody believes that black lives matter, and everybody should believe that all lives matter. But to the unsuspecting person, it seems very bizarre that the founding of Black Lives Matter is trying to do the very thing that has damaged the black community the most, and that’s to believe in the absence of the father.
They want to destroy the nuclear family. They want Marxism. They believe in Marxism. They call themselves Marxists. These things are counterproductive to capitalist American values and Judeo-Christian values. These things are completely contradictory.
If you look at it in any of these tenets that are in Black Lives Matter, they are troubling. Then you look at the effects of it, the residual effect of this ideal—burning down buildings in your own community doesn’t bring George Floyd back. Looting Neiman Marcus doesn’t stop police officers from shooting black people.
None of the dominant, prominent things that we’ve seen really have any real consequences for successful black people. Posting a black square, yet you’ve never talked to a black person a day in your life. You post the black square and that’s supposed to be justification for you.
Your company puts out that, “Hey, we support black businesses,” on their social media, but they don’t have any black people that they’ve hired or have any black executives. I’m not saying they have to. Black people need to earn that position. But this virtue signaling that I see going on is counterproductive.
To be honest, we could actually resolve these things if we were honest. If we would say, “Instead of defunding the police, how about we get young people to apply for the police department? How about you be a part of the change that you want to see, like I did?”
You know what? I had the ability to dictate how I treated minorities and other people in the community. I treated everybody with respect, but I dictated that. If I was on a call with a person disrespecting anybody, I would address that. I had a plan to be the chief, so that I could implement the things that I believed would be fair policing in this country.
You can’t get that when you’re just protesting on the sideline, breaking the law, and burning buildings. You don’t accomplish that. I really wish that leaders more prominent than me will just be fair and come out and say these things that I say, and I think we will see a huge generational change.
Now, the founders of Black Lives Matter and the Black Lives Matter organization on a corporate level, they are making their money. This has nothing to do with whether they really care, in my opinion, whether they care about black lives or not. They are making money by any means necessary.
The reason I say that is because when a black man dies, they jump on the bandwagon and raise a bunch of money. That black man doesn’t get money from the organization. That black man’s family doesn’t get any money from the organization. So how do you raise money off of him, but you don’t return the favor to his family? Every scenario that comes up, they raise money on big-ticket items.
They have never once—I looked at it and it sickens me—Black Lives Matter has never once put a young child that had been murdered in the inner city on their website. They haven’t done a fundraiser. They haven’t said, “Stop the violence in the inner city.”
I’m talking about the corporate Black Lives Matter. The little subsections or little chapters, I don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t get any publicity, or they don’t get any money from the corporate chapter. But they don’t put these low-ticket items on there.
Tyshawn Lee, a young nine-year-old that was murdered in cold blood in the alleyway where the criminals put cigarette butts out on him, his grandmother had to find him bleeding out in the alleyway. Secoriea Turner— you can go down a list of these young people who are between nine and fourteen years old that have been murdered in the inner city.
Black Lives Matter doesn’t go and address that. Black Lives Matter can’t raise any money on that because nobody cares. You’re not going to get a T-shirt for that person, but you can get one for George Floyd. You can get one for Jacob Blake. So, it’s clear their intentions by the fruit that they produce. That’s the moral of how I believe or how I feel about Black Lives Matter.
Mr. Jekielek: Let’s go back now to the beginning where we started. You made a pretty interesting contention that, frankly, I hadn’t thought about. Let me see if I got it right—part of the agenda of defunding the police has another agenda.
People that are trying to do that don’t necessarily believe that defunding the police will actually help those communities. Instead, they have an agenda to federalize the police department. So, tell me, how did you come to this?
Mr. Tatum: I just started looking at the logistics of defunding the police and hearing the mixed messages that are coming from people who are spewing this kind of rhetoric. They started out saying, “Dismantle, defund and dismantle the police,” which means that we’re going to take all the funding from police so they can exist no more.
Then you hear people saying, “Well, no, let’s defund the police and divert funds.” So, when you look at the totality of circumstances from the federal and state level, you say, “Well, wait a minute. These people are very intelligent. There’s nobody in the world that thinks that you could have a city without any law enforcement.”
You see certain situations in California where this has occurred. The municipal police are completely disbanded, but the county comes in and takes that jurisdiction. They don’t let the police department disband, and then tell the county they can’t come into the municipality. They don’t do that.
They let the county come right in. Any city where the police department has been disbanded, the county has come in and taken over the police responsibilities in every situation. So, you look at that and say, “They’re giving mixed messages here that reveal a lot of what they’re trying to do.”
Then you look at the federal push to pass these laws like abortions and to pass legalization of marijuana. In some cases, people want to legalize all drugs federally. When you talk about the ban of AR-15s, you say, “They’re pushing us on a federal level.”
Nobody’s dumb enough to think that you can have no police. They would rather have the county, which is an elected official, run a local police department than local police. Therefore, it’s plausible that they would rather have these things run federally. If it’s run federally, they can make one decision from the top, and it forces these municipalities and these cities to do things against their will.
You can even see it being pushed now with mask mandates. “Everybody needs to wear a mask.” Well, the states don’t have to abide by that. The governor can tell the state what to do. The president has no power. Trump or Biden have no power to make states do a mask mandate. They want it, but they don’t have it right now.
And so, if you federalized the police and you federalize law enforcement in the country, then now you do have the power. Because if the federal government said, “You have to have a mask mandate,” the governor says, “We don’t want to enforce it,” Well, good for you, but now the federal government runs the agencies that enforce these things.
The same thing with AR-15s. Clearly, Stevie Wonder can see that AR-15s are not the leading weapon of choice to commit murder in this country. Handguns are the leading cause of death by guns in general. In most inner-city violence, most people are killed by handguns. 60 percent of all handgun deaths are suicides.
When you look at the statistical data in all of these, you say, “Why are they picking the AR-15?” Now, that’s probably for another conversation because there’s a bigger agenda. But how can they enforce that? They have to have federalized police. By defunding the police, you can cause a deficit in policing.
The crime rate is going up, but the police department is not doing anything about it. They can’t do anything. They’re incompetent. Call in the National Guard. They’re incompetent. They need to be taken over by the county sheriff. The county sheriff is incompetent. It can’t be transparent. We need to have a federalized, standardized police.
I’ll add this one thing to it as well. They want a federal database. Why do you need a federal database for local law enforcement? What is the federal government going to do for local law enforcement? They don’t have any vested interest in these states and they really can’t change any policies within these states because they still have rights.
They want to slowly, methodically get all of these things handled on a federal level— federalized body-worn cameras, all of these things. Even now they’re trying to roll out for every federal agent who is associated with law enforcement, border patrol, ICE, to all have body-worn cameras.
That’s fine on a federal level, but state-level should not be dictated that way. We see the overreaching of our federal government, and that’s where I get this idea that in the long-term, this is what they want to accomplish.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s absolutely fascinating. Let’s talk about that because I was just looking at that, this push to get body cams on all federal agents, and that struck me as a pretty reasonable idea.
Mr. Tatum: Yes. Personally, I don’t think that it’s a problem in and of itself if you’re doing it for the right reason. I don’t see why, all of a sudden, they want body-worn cameras on federal agents when body-worn cameras have been out for 20 years probably at this point.
Why all of a sudden? But I do think body-worn cameras are effective because they help document things for both parties in an impartial way.
However, I think that they’re trying to set a precedent to say every agency in America should have body-worn cameras. I think that should be left up to individual municipalities and counties and states to decide whether or not they want to utilize their finances to fund body-worn cameras.
Now, body-worn cameras are a big-money industry. I wish that I had stock in these body-worn camera companies—not even the body-worn camera itself—but the cloud server space because you have to back up all of this images, all of these video files for years.
You’re talking $50 million or so just for local police to do this. If you’re talking about federalizing body-worn camera footage for every federal agency, every minute that they are doing their active duty, you’re talking billions of dollars of server space that’s going to be needed.
So, I would argue that we need to be looking at, are they doing it for this or they doing it to make a lot of money? Those are some things that we should think about in the public sphere. Why are they all of a sudden doing this? Are they acting in good faith or is there something else behind this?
Mr. Jekielek: How is it that you decided to leave the force?
Mr. Tatum: I could say it wasn’t a necessarily a conscious, pre-planned decision on my part. It was that things began to move rapidly in a different direction, and I was just following what I believe God wanted me to do. With that being said, for a little more context here, I had no intentions of leaving the police department.
I had gone back to get my master’s degree, so I could be a chief. I was in the middle of testing to be a sergeant. I was on a SWAT team. I was doing everything I wanted to do on the police department. However, politically, I started to change my ideology because of some of the things that I saw.
Of course, most people on the police department are conservative. I am believed to be a little more liberal. I completely woke up to that and realized that at the end of the day, I’m more of a conservative person. I believe in more conservative things.
So I ended up giving Donald Trump a try in the election. I said, “Let me see what he’s got to say. If he’s a racist bigot like they all say he is on the news, then I will see it for myself, and I would never vote for that person.”
But when I went to the rally, I was blown away. I was blown away at how nice, respectful, and American—when I say American, I mean a group of people from all walks of life getting along together—how much of a representation of America the rally was, the people there supporting Trump.
The things that he said were not polarized and divisive, unless you just hate America, then it may be divisive to you. But he said a lot of things that I agree with. The protesters were out of control. I had never seen anything like that in my life.
I’ll never forget walking to the entrance of the rally, very impartial. I didn’t even support Trump at the time. I remember walking through and I felt like Martin Luther King, not that extreme because of course, he had a lot more. But I felt like, “Did Martin Luther King feel this energy of hate and contempt just for standing up for the freedom to express yourself?”
I was walking down this thing, had no real involvement with the Trump campaign or anything, and they are calling me a white supremacist and that I’m supporting white people, and I should be ashamed of myself.
It was so haunting to me that people were that evil to people just going to see what a candidate has to say about where he stands. That it really changed my mind, and I made a video, never made videos before. I made a video just expressing my thoughts.
I thought maybe a hundred people that followed me on Facebook would see it, but it went viral. That led me to continue to make videos and express how I feel about these current issues because I feel like people want to hear me, hear my voice. Mind you, I always been a talker as you can see. My mama will tell you. I talk. That’s how I express myself. That’s how I get my emotions out, is to talk.
However, I realized that maybe I should be more vocal about things that I believe because I can articulate myself in ways that people understand. I kept making videos. I made the most viral video that I’ve ever made when I spoke about Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem. It had 70, 80 million views on Facebook.
It was so viral that a company in Phoenix, Arizona, actually in Anthem, Arizona, decided that, “Hey, we would love for you to be a spokesperson for us for just one year.” And I said, “Okay.” They were going to pay me $20,000 more a year than being a cop, plus my signing bonus was maybe half of my salary as a cop.
I said, “Of course, I’ll do it for a year. I can always be a cop. I can always go back.” And I had every plan to go back. And then, when I left, I met Candace Owens. I met Charlie Kirk at Turning Point USA. Then God just continued to change the environment ever since then.
Mr. Jekielek: Of course, and that’s when you co-founded Blexit with Candace Owens. That is a fascinating story. It’s amazing. It’s amazing how the plan can take you where you don’t expect.
Mr. Tatum: Yes. The goal is to just follow the plan. Take one step in front of the other. The way I look at the way God structures our lives is that if you have faith that you really believe in yourself, when you take a step forward, it’s like God is kind of putting the puzzle pieces together underneath your feet. If you stand still, there’s nothing to put together. You’re just standing there.
If you continue to move forward and say, “Look, I’m going to take one step in front of the other. God, I’m going to see what you have for me today. Whatever it is, I’m believing that it’s in my best interest.” And God will continue to put that groundwork in front of you if you just walk on it.
First of all, I never thought I’d be a cop. And then, when I became a police officer, I never thought I would leave. And then when I left, I never thought that I would be the co-founder of Blexit, having millions of subscribers on social media and speaking all around the country.
I’ve been at 30 universities speaking to young people about conservative values. I’ve been to the White House seven times. I would have never imagined that these things would have happened for me, being married and things like that. But taking those steps, God just keeps working it out.
Mr. Jekielek: So, do you want to share with the viewers any thoughts on how to communicate with folks with differing political perspectives? You’ve been in this situation quite a bit, from what I understand.
Mr. Tatum: The best way to communicate with people who come from different walks of life, different political persuasions, whatever have you, is to do it with love. For me, a lot of people get confused when they see me on my social media because. Of course, I have an audience. I have a certain brand. I have a certain way that I do my videos.
But when you’re trying to have a sit-down conversation with somebody directly, not talking at them, but talking with them, you have to do it in love. I would argue only speak to people and communicate with people that you really care about. Therefore, it will be displayed that you care, and therefore, people will be willing to listen to you.
And when you do that, in my personal opinion, depending on which side are you on, do it with facts. Don’t get emotional. Don’t get mad at somebody. Just do it with facts.
The best way to argue your point, in my personal opinion, on either side, is to be rhetorical. Ask the person a question that they have to answer. And I’m not saying be condescending, but ask them a question that they have to answer. It’s not up to you to give them all the answers.
Make them think and critically come up with an answer to the questions that you may have for them. And the only reason I use this is because Jesus spoke in parables and he also asked his apostles and people that follow him rhetorical questions.
Like, “Isn’t it written? Isn’t it said that this is the truth?” And now the person, it’s on them to say, “Yes, or no, or I don’t know,” versus you saying, “You do this, you do this, you got to do this, you got to do that.” So, the best way to do it is do it in love, and also ask questions for people to have to answer, and I think the dialogue would be much better than just pointing the finger all the time.
Mr. Jekielek: Brandon, any final thoughts before we finish up?
Mr. Tatum: I just want anybody that’s watching this to look at the things that I’ve said and do your own research. Don’t get mad at me, and don’t fall in love with me at the same time. Look at what I’m saying. Verify it. Back it against facts, and come up with your own conclusions about these things.
I’m just here to be a messenger of things that I know, and have experienced and researched. But it’s invaluable for us to empower ourselves with knowledge, and everybody should do their own research to prove that whatever you hear from me or from anybody else is true and it’s factual, and it’s something that you can support, if, in fact, it is the truth.
So, that’s one thing I want everybody to leave with is to not feel like that I’m telling you by the authority of Jesus Christ this is what you need to believe. It’s like, “No, I’m giving you information. Now, it’s up to you to take it and verify it and come up with your own conclusions about what’s really going on in America.”
Mr. Jekielek: Well, Brandon Tatum, it’s such a pleasure to have you on.
Mr. Tatum: Yes, my pleasure, and thanks for having me back.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
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