Police cheered President Donald Trump on July 28 when he suggested they use violence on criminal suspects during a speech at Suffolk County Community College in Long Island, New York (video below).
The president encouraged officers to slam the suspects' heads into police cars, notes Mediaite:
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?"
During the same speech, Trump bragged about appointing wealthy people to his Cabinet, according to CNN:
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They'll say that's not politically correct, you’re not allowed to have rough people doing this kind of work. We have to get-- just like they don’t want to have rich people at the head of Treasury. Like, I want a rich guy at the head of Treasury. I want a rich guy at the head of Commerce because we've been screwed so badly on trade deals. I want people that made a lot of money to make a lot money for our country.
The Suffolk County Police Department quickly pushed back against Trump in a series of tweets on July 28: "The SCPD has strict rules & procedures relating to the handling of prisoners. Violations of those rules are treated extremely seriously. As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners."
Professor Karen Pita Loor of Boston University School of Law criticized Trump's speech, telling LawNewz: "I’m not sure that’s what his supporters meant by a law-and-order president. Law and order does not mean abuse of power."
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Loor added that the public should question U.S. Department of Justice investigations into police brutality.
Defense lawyer and professor Craig Futterman of The University of Chicago Law School concurred:
This is a president who has shown contempt for the Constitution of the United States. Is there any wonder why the [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions' Justice Department refuses to address patterns of civil rights violations by local police departments when the President of the United States advocates for police brutality It is beyond frightening when the federal government not only refuses to enforce our nation’s most fundamental laws, but encourages police officers to break them.