Dear Commons Community,
On Friday, Donald Trump, told a crowd of Long Island policemen, that they should not be “too nice” while transporting suspects. Since his comments there have been rebuttals by police organizations around the country. As reported by the New York Times:
“President Trump’s admonition that the police should not be “too nice” while transporting suspects drew laughter and cheers from a crowd of officers on Friday, but police officials swiftly made it clear they did not find the words funny.
From New York to Los Angeles, law enforcement authorities criticized the president’s remarks. Experts worried that his words could encourage the inappropriate use of force. A defense lawyer even signaled that he might use video of the speech in court.
The criticism online started shortly after Mr. Trump’s comments, which came at an event in Brentwood, N.Y., which was intended to support the police in their fight against La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, a gang that has been accused of several murders on Long Island.
After calling for more immigration officers to help arrest the gang members, Mr. Trump told officers, “Please don’t be too nice.”
“Like when you guys put somebody in the car, and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put your hand over” their head, he said, putting his hand above his head for emphasis. “I said, ‘You can take the hand away, O.K.?’”
The president’s remark was denounced by police officials and organizations, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Police Foundation and Steve Soboroff, one of the civilian commissioners who oversees the Los Angeles Police Department.
“What the president recommended would be out of policy in the Los Angeles Police Department,” Mr. Soboroff told The Los Angeles Times. “It’s not what policing is about today.”
The Suffolk County Police Department, in New York, which had officers at the speech, responded within two hours.
“As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners,” it said on Twitter. The department “has strict rules & procedures relating to the handling of prisoners,” it said in another post. “Violations of those rules are treated extremely seriously.”
After a miserable week in Washington, D.C. that saw a number of failures (health care vote, military transgender ban, Anthony Scaramucci’s rants), Trump put icing on his melting cake.