Last week, at an event in Brentwood, N.Y to support the police in their fight against the MS-13 gang, President Donald Trump remarked that the authorities should not be “too nice” when arresting the suspects. The gang has been responsible for several murders in Long Island. Some from the crowd have cheered, but police officials launched harsh criticisms about the address.
Trump’s Speech Only Adds to a Negative Perception
On Friday, Trump’s speech had many faults. However, his advice to the law enforcement officers to handle the suspects with force sparked criticism from police departments across the country. Apart from saying that police officers should not be “too nice” during arrests, Trump continued:
Like when you guys put somebody in the car, and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put your hand over… I said, ‘You can take the hand away, O.K.?
Although there has been some cheers and laughter from the officers in the audience, police officials have immediately taken to the Internet to signal the problematic speech. The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Police Foundation are two of the organizations that have spoken against the President’s remarks. Moreover, the Suffolk County PD which had officers in the audience tweeted:
As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners.
— Suffolk County PD (@SCPDHq) July 28, 2017
The New Orleans Police Department even issued a statement on Twitter:
— NOPD (@NOPDNews) July 30, 2017
While there have been some that have taken the President’s remarks as nothing but jokes, it does not help the overall image of the law enforcement in the States. The police department in Suffolk, for example, received penalties after accusations of discrimination against Latinos. Moreover, the former chief of Suffolk County James Burke has been sentenced in November 2016 for assault and other misdeeds. The history of police brutality in New York is especially significant.
The Officers Who Cheered “Should Be Ashamed.”
Joke or not, the remark garnered some cheers that have been just as harshly criticized. Apart from sending the wrong message on the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve, it seems to echo fears on the state of police work today.
On Twitter, a spokesperson for the PD in Gainesville, Florida stated:
I’m a cop.
I do not agree with or condone @POTUS remarks today on police brutality.
Those that applauded and cheered should be ashamed.
— Ben Tobias (@GPDBenTobias) July 28, 2017
His tweet had gone viral, and while Tobias was glad the message came through, he added:
It’s amazing and also sad that me simply stating the obvious makes national news. https://t.co/CzhxTltDJO
— Ben Tobias (@GPDBenTobias) July 30, 2017
Image source: DepositPhotos.