Trump’s ad­vice to po­lice: ‘Don’t be too nice’

National Post (National Edition) - - WORLD - MARK BERMAN The Wash­ing­ton Post, with files from The As­so­ci­ated Press

Dur­ing a speech in Long Is­land on Fri­day, U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump took a break from dis­cussing gang vi­o­lence and il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion to give the po­lice of­fi­cers gath­ered for his re­marks some ad­vice on how to treat sus­pects.

“When you guys put some­body in the car and you’re pro­tect­ing their head, you know, the way you put their hand over?” Trump said, mim­ing the phys­i­cal mo­tion of an of­fi­cer shield­ing a sus­pect’s head to keep it from bump­ing against the squad car. “Like, don’t hit their head, and they just killed some­body — don’t hit their head,” Trump con­tin­ued. “I said, you can take the hand away, OK?”

These re­marks, com­ing af­ter Trump talked about towns rav­aged by gang vi­o­lence, met with ap­plause from at least some of the of­fi­cers gath­ered for his speech at Suf­folk County Com­mu­nity Col­lege.

A group of uni­form of­fi­cers stand­ing be­hind Trump ap­plauded and, when he turned to face them, some smiled and ap­peared to chuckle.

The Suf­folk County po­lice quickly dis­tanced it­self from Trump’s com­ments, say­ing Fri­day that it would not ac­cept this treat­ment of peo­ple in cus­tody.

“The Suf­folk County Po­lice Depart­ment has strict rules and pro­ce­dures re­lat­ing to the han­dling of pris­on­ers, and vi­o­la­tions of those rules and pro­ce­dures are treated ex­tremely se­ri­ously,” the depart­ment said in an emailed state­ment.

“As a depart­ment, we do not and will not tol­er­ate “rough[ing]” up pris­on­ers.”

Trump’s re­marks also drew a re­buke from the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Chiefs of Po­lice. In a state­ment, the group did not specif­i­cally men­tion Trump by name but ap­peared to re­spond to his speech by stress­ing the im­por­tance of treat­ing all peo­ple, in­clud­ing sus­pects, with re­spect.

“Man­ag­ing use of force is one of the most dif­fi­cult chal­lenges faced by law en­force­ment agen­cies,” the group said. “The abil­ity of law en­force­ment of­fi­cers to en­force the law, pro­tect the pub­lic, and guard their own safety, the safety of in­no­cent by­standers, and even those sus­pected or ap­pre­hended for crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity is very chal­leng­ing.”

Trump’s com­ments were made in a dark, fore­bod­ing ad­dress largely fo­cus­ing on the transna­tional gang MS-13. He also pep­pered his com­ments with ex­pres­sions of sup­port for po­lice, echo­ing his ef­forts both dur­ing and since the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign to por­tray him­self as a cham­pion of law en­force­ment. “Don’t be too nice,” said Trump.

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 said the ad­min­is­tra­tion is re­mov­ing these gang mem­bers from the United States “but 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.’ ”

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