When speaking to law enforcement about MS-13 gang activity, President Trump said, “don’t be too nice” to suspects. The crowd cheered. USA TODAY
Law enforcement agencies condemned police violence Friday after President Trump advised New York officers “don’t be too nice” during arrests.
New York City Police Department Commissioner James P. O’Neill, in a statement Saturday, said proposing police deviate from anything other than “reasonable and necessary” use of force is “irresponsible.”
“The NYPD’s training and policies relating to the use of force only allow for measures that are reasonable and necessary under any circumstances, including the arrest and transportation of prisoners,” the statement said. “To suggest that police officers apply any standard in the use of force other than what is reasonable and necessary is irresponsible, unprofessional and sends the wrong message to law enforcement as well as the public.”
The commissioner’s remarks came a day after Trump seemed to encourage police violence while speaking to a group of officers on Long Island, N.Y.
“Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head, I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’” the president said.
The statement drew laughs and applause from the crowd. Hours later, the local Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) issued two tweets clarifying that it doesn’t allow violence.
“The SCPD has strict rules & procedures relating to the handling of prisoners. Violations of those rules are treated extremely seriously,” the department said. “As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners.”
The International Association of Chiefs of Police also issued a statement stressing that officers are extensively trained to ensure use of force is applied carefully.
“Law enforcement officers are trained to treat all individuals, whether they are a complainant, suspect, or defendant, with dignity and respect,” the organization said. “This is the bedrock principle behind the concepts of procedural justice and policy legitimacy.”
The police department in Gainesville, Fla., also felt compelled to chide the president for his words.
“The @POTUS made remarks today that endorsed and condoned police brutality,” the department tweeted. “GPD rejects these remarks and continues to serve with respect.”
“Those that applauded and cheered should be ashamed,” added department spokesman Ben Tobias.
Follows Sean Rossman on Twitter: @SeanRossman