President Donald Trump stirred up controversy during a July 28 speech in which he encouraged police officers to rough up suspects while placing them into the back of police cars (video below).
"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, and I said: 'Please don't be too nice,'" Trump says in the video. "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, OK?'"
The comments came as the president addressed a group of officers in Long Island, New York, notes the Huffington Post. Many audience members applauded the remarks.
"It's sad, it's sad," Trump continued, saying that many towns have a "pathetic mayor" that keeps law enforcement from properly carrying out their duties. "You look at what's happening, and it's sad. We're going to support you like you've never been supported before."
Trump went on to say that the law is "horrendously stacked" against cops.
"For years and years, [laws have] been made to protect the criminal," he added. "Totally protect the criminal, not the officers. You do something wrong, you're in more jeopardy than they are. These laws are stacked against you. We're changing those laws."
Trump's speech sparked a backlash, with a number of people saying that the president was encouraging police to be needlessly violent.
"For President Trump to endorse brutality against individuals at the hands of law enforcement officers who are sworn to protect our communities is absolutely reprehensible," Lecia Brooks of the Southern Poverty Law Center said.
Zeke Johnson, the senior director of programs at Amnesty International USA, called the speech "inflammatory and hateful" and said that it will do nothing but "escalate tensions between police and communities."
Trump has made similar comments since announcing his candidacy for president in 2015. During his campaign, he expressed a desire to see protesters who get escorted out of his rallies handled more roughly like "in the good old days," notes the Washington Post.
His administration has stood by such remarks.
"The president in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence," Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in June. "If anything, quite the contrary."