Several police departments across the US have lashed out at President Donald Trump after he appeared to encourage police brutality in a recent speech.
The new Republican president told a number of law enforcement officers in Brentwood, New York, on Friday that police should not be “too nice” to criminals.
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.’ Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody. I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?'” he said.
The remarks first drew criticism from the Suffolk County Police Department, whose jurisdiction is the county in which Trump spoke in.
“The SCPD has strict rules & procedures relating to the handling of prisoners,” the department tweeted. “Violations of those rules are treated extremely seriously.”
“As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners,” it noted in another tweet.
The Gainesville Police Department in Florida also condemned the remarks, saying they “endorsed and condoned police brutality.”
The Boston Police department also chimed in, saying in a statement that it was “committed to helping people, not harming them.”
Philadelphia Police Department Chief Richard Ross took a similar stance, saying on twitter that his officers treated people with “respect and dignity.”
Police chiefs in Seattle, New Orleans, Houston, New York City and Los Angeles also joined the movement and distanced their departments from the president’s remarks.
The US has been dealing with a growing trend of police violence over the past few years, a problem intensified with a series of high-profile shooting deaths of unarmed African Americans in the hands of white officers.