Trump raises ire of US police
WASHINGTON: Police departments in the US criticised President Donald Trump after he urged police forces on Friday not to be “too nice” during arrests, as officers risk undermining efforts to alleviate tensions between the police and communities.
The criticism came shortly after Trump gave a speech to police in the state of New York against violent street crime.
“When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said: ‘Please don’t be too nice’, ” Trump said during the speech amid laughter and cheers from a crowd of uniformed officers.
When calling the gangsters “animals”, Trump said there was no need for police to use their hands to protect the heads of those handcuffed suspects when putting them into police vehicles. “You can take the hand away, okay?” Trump said.
Trump’s remarks have quickly drawn condemnation from police organisations, domestic law enforcement agencies and police officers, as many believed the US president delivered a “wrong message”.
The Police Foundation said although it appreciates Trump’s support for law enforcement, it cannot support any commentary that undermines the trust that communities have placed in the police to protect and serve, while another non-profit group, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said officers are trained to treat everyone with “dignity and respect”.
The police department of Suffolk County, where Trump delivered the controversial speech, said it has strict rules and procedures relating to the handling of prisoners, warning “violations of those rules and procedures are treated extremely seriously”.
James P O’Neill, the New York police commissioner, said suggestions for police officers to use alternative standards for use of force other than what is reasonable and necessary are “irresponsible, unprofessional” and “send a wrong message to law enforcement as well as the public”.
Gainesville police spokesman Ben Tobias rebuffed Trump’s position by tweeting that he, as a cop, disagreed with the president’s remarks and that those who “cheered should be ashamed”. Xinhua