On July 28, President Donald Trump gave law enforcement officers a little advice on how to deal with suspects during a speech on Long Island.
Instead of sticking with his usual topics – fake news, illegal immigration and gang violence – President Trump decided to discuss treatment of 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, while mimicking the actions taken by cops to protect a suspect’s head, while placing them in the back of a police cruiser.
“Like, don’t hit their head and they just killed somebody – don’t hit their head,” Trump said. “I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”
Trump talked about gang violence and its impact on towns, saying “these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddywagon.” The comment met with applause, including the law enforcement officers standing directly behind the president.
In an attempt to distance itself from Trump’s comments, Suffolk County Police Department said it refused to 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 a statement. “As a department, we do not and will not tolerate ‘rough[ing]’ up prisoners.”
Law enforcement officials and agencies across the country criticized Trump’s remarks, as well as advocacy and civil rights groups.
On Saturday, Reverend Al Sharpton spoke out against President Trump’s comments, saying they were “a reckless disregard for the law and set a tone that is dangerous and biased in this country.”
Sharpton went on to criticize Trump’s use of the Irish slur “paddywagon.”