Donald Trump encouraged police officers to be rough with suspects in a major law enforcement and immigration address on Friday with a speech that drew cheers from the law enforcement officers in attendance but widespread criticism elsewhere.
Trump delivered the much-anticipated speech at Suffolk County Community College in Long Island, New York. During the speech, Trump said that officers are often “too nice” to suspects who are arrested, and instead, encouraged them to rough these suspects up a bit as they are being detained.
“When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddywagon, you just see them thrown in, rough. I said please don’t be too nice,” Trump said (via The Hill).
Trump went on to reference the help that officers give handcuffed suspects in placing them into police cars, making sure that the suspects do not strike their heads on the car door frame on the way in. This help shouldn’t be afforded all suspects, Trump said.
“Like when you put somebody into a car and you protect their head?… I said you can take the hand away, OK?” Trump added.
The full video of Trump’s encouragement to the officers can be seen below.
The statements were met with cheers from the crowd, although Trump’s apparent encouragement of police brutality was also met with some immediate criticism. Some commented that Trump’s statements would put his Justice Department at a disadvantage when prosecuting police brutality, as it appears to give permission for officers to act in this manner.
Trump’s speech was centered largely on his plan to defeat the U.S. based chapters of the MS-13 gang, which is originally from El Salvador and made up largely of illegal immigrants. Some members of the gang have said that Donald Trump’s sharp rhetoric against illegal immigrants has actually strengthened the gang by making other illegal immigrants afraid to go to the police to report gang activity, CNN reported.
Under Donald Trump, the Justice Department has already rolled back some safeguards against police brutality and misconduct put in place during the Obama administration. The department announced it would roll back funding for police body camera research, the Washington Examiner reported. And earlier this month, the Justice Department reversed an Obama policy that limited the ability of law enforcement officers to seize assets from suspects not charged with or convicted of a crime, the Huffington Post noted.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]