Acting chief says Trump “condoned police misconduct”
WASHINGTON» The leader of the Drug Enforcement Administration said in an email to staff members during the weekend that President Donald Trump had “condoned police misconduct” in remarking to officers in Long Island that they need not protect suspects’ heads when loading them into police vehicles.
Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg wrote that he felt obligated to respond to the president’s comments “because we have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong.” He cited the agency’s core values — among them integrity, accountability and respect and compassion. “This is how we conduct ourselves. This is how we treat those whom we encounter in our work: victims, witnesses, subjects, and defendants. This is who we are,” he wrote.
The email, sent Saturday, was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
The White House has said Trump was joking when he told law enforcement officers in New York last week that they should not “be too nice” with suspects.
“Like 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 before miming the 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. I said, you can take the hand away, OK?”
Trump’s comments have been widely criticized by policing leaders, but Rosenberg’s message marks the first pushback from a federal law enforcement agency.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not address the president’s comments explicitly in a public speech Tuesday to the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, although he told the group’s leaders afterward that he felt the president was making a joke.