Ann Dorn’s speech will likely be remembered as one of the most poignant and moving moments of this week’s Republican National Convention. She spoke on Thursday night of the death of her husband David Dorn, a retired police captain who was fatally shot in June as anti-racism protests turned violent on the streets of St. Louis.
Dorn expressed support for President Donald Trump and his intensifying law-and-order message — a theme repeated often by speakers at the RNC. Dorn, an officer with the St. Louis Police Department, said Trump “knows we need more Davids in our communities, not fewer.”
But her Trump endorsement contradicts the wishes of David Dorn’s daughters, who’d earlier expressed opposition to her decision to speak at the RNC and had urged her to “not politicize our father’s death for Trump’s agenda.”
David Dorn, who was Black, was a registered Democrat and not a Trump supporter, his daughters told The St. Louis American.
Though his “passion for law enforcement ran deep ... he also was a man, a Black man, and he knew some not so good things come out of police departments. He tried to make a difference as much as he could, but he was part of a system with systematic racism,” daughter Lisa Dorn said.
Her father, she added, “did not agree with many policies and actions of this president that are aimed at disenfranchising many Black and Brown people. He thought Trump is doing many things to ruin our country.”
David Dorn, who served for 38 years on the St. Louis police force before retiring in 2007, was killed on June 2 while trying to protect his friend’s pawn shop. He was 77.
His death ― captured on camera and posted on Facebook Live — occurred on a night of violence in St. Louis as protests erupted there and in cities across the U.S. over the May 25 death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a Black man who died as a white police officer knelt on his neck. Four St. Louis officers were shot that night and dozens of businesses were burglarized or damaged, AP reported.
Two men were later charged with his murder and three others were arrested on burglary counts in connection with the case.
Ann Dorn in her convention speech said, “Violence and destruction are not legitimate forms of protest. They do not safeguard Black lives. They destroy them.”
Trump, she said, “understands this and has offered federal help to restore order in our communities. In a time when police departments are short on resources and manpower, we need that help. We should accept that help. We must heal before we can effect change, but we cannot heal amid devastation and chaos.”
Later on Thursday, as Trump accepted his party’s nomination for a second White House term, he acknowledged David Dorn and his wife.
Ann Dorn, Trump noted, was in the large crowd on the White House’s South Lawn accompanied by two other family members. David Dorn’s daughters were not in attendance.
“We will never forget the heroic legacy of Captain David Dorn,” Trump said.