The New York Police Department released a statement on Saturday reiterating their use of force policies after President Donald Trump suggested police officers be more rough with their suspects during a Friday speech to invited law enforcement officers.
"Please don't be too nice", Trump said to an auditorium full of police officers when placing "thugs into the back of a paddy wagon". "T$3 hat's what I'm looking for", the president said. "Like when you guys put somebody in the vehicle 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. "I said you can take the hand away, okay?"
What Trump was actually doing was encouraging law enforcement officers to ignore both their departments' policies and local, state, and federal law. "Just like they don't want to have rich people at the head of treasury", Trump said.
Journalists immediately said that the joke was an open endorsement of police brutality.
The Suffolk County Police Department was one of the first to criticize. DeRay McKesson, a prominent voice in the Black Lives Matter movement who made an unsuccessful bid to become mayor of Baltimore, pointed to the reaction of the law enforcement officials Trump spoke to.
"Don't be too nice", Trump told police officers in Suffolk County, New York, during a visit to highlight his administration's efforts to crack down on the street gang known as MS-13.
'As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up prisoners'.
Trump's visit to his home state of NY came as Sessions was in El Salvador to increase worldwide cooperation against the gang.
"Violations of those rules are treated extremely seriously", the department wrote.
The president praised the increasing militarization of USA police, saying "You know, when you wanted to take over and you used military equipment - and they were saying you couldn't do it - you know what I said?"
Trump's comments about the treatment of people in police custody resurrected memories of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore man who was shackled but alive when he was put into a Baltimore police van in April 2015.
Goff added that Trump's Friday remarks were unsafe because it would make even bystanders less likely to report violent crimes for fear of violent treatment from police.
Maya Wiley, the chairwoman of the city's Civilian Complaint Review Board, condemned Mr. Trump's speech, saying in a statement that it was "shameful, risky and damages the progress our city has made toward improving police-community relations".
But it didn't stop in NY. He was telling them that they shouldn't be afraid to do their jobs; that they shouldn't be thinking in the back of their minds about losing their job or pension if they do what is required to keep people safe.
Phillip Atiba Goff, the founder of the New York-based Center for Policing Equity, said in a statement issued Friday evening that Trump's speech was "dangerous", dehumanizing and "implied a disrespect for the rule of law".