Trump ad­dresses po­lice.

The pres­i­dent made the com­ments dur­ing a dark, fore­bod­ing ad­dress that fo­cused on transna­tional gang MS-13

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Mark Berman

In a speech at Long Is­land on Fri­day, the pres­i­dent gave some ad­vice about how to treat “thugs” — re­marks that drew ap­plause from some of­fi­cers but re­buke from their su­pe­ri­ors in the depart­ment.

Dur­ing a speech in Long Is­land on Fri­day, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump took a break from dis­cussing gang vi­o­lence and il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion to give the law en­force­ment 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 of­fice 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 and de­scribed “these thugs be­ing thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, met with ap­plause from at least some of the law en­force­ment 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 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.

Trump’s re­marks also drew re­buke from the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Chiefs of Po­lice. In a state­ment, the group ap­peared to re­spond to his speech by stress­ing the im­por­tance of treat­ing all peo­ple, in­clud­ing sus­pects, with re­spect.

Trump’s com­ments were made dur­ing 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.

With his com­ments Fri­day, Trump ap­peared to en­cour­aged po­lice of­fi­cers not to worry about us­ing ex­ces­sive force dur­ing ar­rests.

Of­fi­cers can be ar­rested and charged with ex­ces­sive force, fac­ing charges on both a lo­cal and fed­eral level. Sev­eral Suf­folk County po­lice of­fi­cers were in­dicted last year and ac­cused of beat­ing a sus­pect af­ter he was ar­rested in 2012.

The Jus­tice Depart­ment said its in­ves­ti­ga­tions of un­con­sti­tu­tional be­hav­ior by law en­force­ment of­fi­cers most fre­quently in­volve al­le­ga­tions of ex­ces­sive force.

Ex­ces­sive force law­suits can also be costly for lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

Den­ver paid nearly $28 mil­lion to set­tle le­gal claims in­volv­ing the Den­ver po­lice and sher­iff’s de­part­ments, ac­cord­ing to an April re­view by The Den­ver Post of data pro­vided by the Den­ver city at­tor­ney’s of­fice. Claims in­volv­ing civil rights, use of force and other jus­tice is­sues ac­counted for the bulk of the money.

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