President Trump told a group of police officers at a Long Island speech on immigration and law enforcement not to be “too nice” when arresting suspects, drawing laughter from the crowd, The Hill reports.
Speaking about federal efforts to combat the gang MS-13, blamed for a series of murders on Long Island in recent months, Trump encouraged officers not to bother protecting gang suspects’ heads when putting them into police cars.
“When you see these thugs thrown into the back of a paddy wagon. You see them thrown in, rough. I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice,’ ” Trump said, mentioning seeing officers shielding the heads of suspects. “I said, ‘You can take the hand away.’ “
The Department of Homeland Security and the Dept. of Justice gave an extensive multimedia presentation on the gang during an unusual White House press conference yesterday, as the Senate was gearing up to vote on the ultimately unsuccessful healthcare bill. The NYPD, the country’s largest police department, said it would not attend the event; New York is a sanctuary city, and Trump is seeking to tie its and other cities’ federal funds to immigration enforcement.
— Jeffrey Guterman (@JeffreyGuterman) July 28, 2017
Trump’s suggestion to cops echoes the tough-on-crime ethos he has espoused since his campaign, but it’s out of step with federal and state laws and policies, not to mention growing public demands for reform and efforts toward a more “democratic” policing.