President Donald Trump’s statement encouraging police officers to be “rough” with people they arrest has drawn criticism in law enforcement circles for sending the wrong message at a time of heightened tensions with the public.
“As a department, we do not and will not tolerate ‘rough(ing)’ up prisoners,” the Suffolk County Police Department said in a statement.
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.
The police statement in the suburb where Trump spoke added, “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.”
Suffolk County police have been under Justice Department oversight since 2013, after a federal investigation exposed a pattern of anti-immigrant violence.
In New York, Police Commissioner James O’Neill said in a statement that 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 head of the New York City agency tasked with investigating complaints against officers also denounced the remarks.