Police departments across the US have criticised Donald Trump after he told officers not to be “too nice” with suspects in a speech which seemingly encouraged police brutality.
Law enforcement authorities from New York to Los Angeles have slammed the President’s comments and experts have warned the remarks could encourage inappropriate use of force among officers.
The backlash came after Mr Trump gave a speech to police in Brentwood, New York, which was intended to support police in the fight against the MS-13 gang, which has been accused of numerous murders across the US.
During his speech, Mr Trump suggested officers should not protect suspects’ heads when pushing them into police vehicles and his comments were greeted with loud applause and laughter by the audience of law enforcement officials.
He said: “When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough — I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.”
“Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody — don’t hit their head. I said, ‘You can take the hand away, okay?’” he added.
But New York police commissioner James O’Neill told the The New York Times the department’s training and policies about the use of force “only allow for measures that are reasonable and necessary under any circumstances, including the arrest and transportation of prisoners”.
He said: “To suggest that police officers apply any standard in the use of force other than what is reasonable and necessary is irresponsible, unprofessional and sends the wrong message to law enforcement as well as the public.”
The department which covers the easternmost part of Long Island was quick to respond after the department’s former chief James Burke was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for beating a handcuffed man in an…