Trump advocates rough treatment of suspects, but many police departments reject call
Donald Trump’s address to police officers to boost their moral in the fight against illegal immigrant gangs in New York and the other parts of the US has backfired with citizens accusing the Suffolk police of hosting the President for a hate speech,Updated: Jul 29, 2017 11:31 IST
Donald Trump’s advice to police to act tough against illegal immigration and violent crime drew criticism from Twitterati and many police departments did not appear enthusiastic about the president’s call.
On Friday, Trump appeared to advocate rougher treatment of people in police custody. “Don’t be too nice,” Trump told law enforcement officers during a visit to the Suffolk County police headquarters, New York, to highlight his administration’s efforts to crack down on the street gang known as MS-13 which has been accused of a string of heinous gang murders on Long Island.
The president urged Congress to find money to pay for 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers “so that we can eliminate MS-13.”
Trump pushed for faster expulsion of these gang members from the US. “We’d like to get them out a lot faster and when you see ... these thugs being thrown into the back of the paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’”
The President then spoke dismissively of the practice by which arresting officers shield the heads of handcuffed suspects as they are placed in police cars.
“I said, ‘You could take the hand away, OK,’” he said, drawing applause from many in the audience, which included federal and law enforcement personnel from the New York-New Jersey area.
But the Suffolk County Police Department did not seem to subscribe to Trump’s advice.
“Violations of those rules and procedures are treated extremely seriously. As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners,” the department tweeted later.
As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners.— Suffolk County PD (@SCPDHq) July 28, 2017
But the applause of some of its officers at Trump’s comments drew fire from Twitter users.
You were all clapping, smiling/laughing & cheering on the orange buffoon when he asked you to violate the human rights of people in custody pic.twitter.com/uI3Ul3lT1d— Leyla Martinez ひ🇩🇴 (@LaLey_01) July 29, 2017
Are you sure? The blatant disrespect for the law was clear in the roaring laughter that came after the comment. You should be ashamed— Phoenix Goddess♿🌈 (@JennieBRUTAL) July 29, 2017
Suffolk County Police Dept should have known Trump would give a Hate speech. They weren't prepared & now another mess.— Pink Freud (@alaskarebel) July 29, 2017
Seriously, I felt like I was watching a Hitler rally.— Cora ❄️🔥 (@Cor_Adore) July 28, 2017
Despite its damage control exercise, many Twitter users were not willing to buy the Suffolk police’s statement.
You may want to tell that to your officers. The way they hooted and hollared, and clapped and cheered was absolutely disgusting.— Tina Covfefe (@teetoatee) July 29, 2017
Your tweet means nothing, stop trying to save face and prove it. Prove to the actual people on Suffolk you mean it— Taylor Gonzalez (@tay_gonzo) July 28, 2017
Other law enforcement departments as well as officials did not buy Trump’s argument.
The @POTUS made remarks today that endorsed and condoned police brutality.— Gainesville Police (@GainesvillePD) July 29, 2017
GPD rejects these remarks and continues to serve with respect.
I'm a cop.— Ben Tobias (@GPDBenTobias) July 28, 2017
I do not agree with or condone @POTUS remarks today on police brutality.
Those that applauded and cheered should be ashamed.
Chief Jim Bueermann (Ret.), the police foundation president, said in a statement: “While the President’s support for law enforcement is appreciated by many who have and continue to serve our communities, we cannot support any commentary – in sincerity or jest – that undermines the trust that our communities place in us to protect and serve.”
Suffolk police in focus
Suffolk police had been rapped on the knuckles earlier when its former chief James Burke, was sentenced to nearly four years in prison last November for beating a handcuffed man in an interrogation room.
Since the beginning of 2017, the Department of Homeland Security’s investigative unit has arrested 3,311 gang members nationwide during targeted operations, said Tom Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Trump’s comments about the treatment of people in police custody resurrected memories of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore man who was shackled but alive when he was put into a Baltimore police van in April 2015. Gray left the vehicle with severe neck injuries, and his subsequent death triggered rioting. Six officers were charged initially, but prosecutors in July 2016 dropped all remaining charges after acquittals and a hung jury.
Gray’s family agreed in September 2015 to a $6.4 million settlement with Baltimore.
(With AP inputs)
First Published: Jul 29, 2017 11:30 IST