Donald Trump used his bully pulpit last week to encourage police brutality:
Trump delivered a combative law-and-order speech in the New York suburb Friday, calling gang members “animals” and praising law enforcement for being “rough.”
Speaking before law enforcement officers, Trump praised the aggressive tactics of immigration officers and suggested that police shouldn’t protect the heads of handcuffed suspects being put in the back of a car.
“When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon. You see them thrown in rough. I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice,'” Trump said to applause, referring to officers shielding prisoners’ heads with their hands.
“Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody. I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?'” [Ray Sanchez, “Police Push Back Against Trump’s Law-and_order Speech,” CNN.com, 2017.07.29]
In response to those remarks, Sioux Falls Police Chief Matt Burns released this statement:
“The comments by the President regarding police use of force do not reflect the views or the policy of the Sioux Falls Police Department in regards to the handling or treatment of persons in our custody. We treat all persons with respect regardless of our reason for contact with them” [“Sioux Falls Police Chief Responds to Trump’s Use of Force Comments,” KSFY, 2017.07.30]
It’s bad enough that Trump’s speech to police last week was filled with the usual factual errors. It’s worse that he projected a thug-like attitude that public-service minded police in Sioux Falls and across the country reject as unprofessional and counterproductive.