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.
In a statement emailed to HuffPost, the NYPD called suggestions for police officers to use alternative standards for use of force “irresponsible” and “unprofessional.”
“The NYPD’s training and policies relating to the use of force only allow for measures that are reasonable and necessary under any circumstances, including the arrest and transportation of prisoners,” a spokesman for NYPD said.
“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.”
While speaking about the administration’s efforts to take on international gangs to law enforcement officers at the Suffolk County Community College in Long Island, New York, Trump joked that officers should be rougher with suspects and suggested letting them hit their heads on police cars.
“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 said.
“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,” he added. “Don’t hit their head, I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’”
His remarks elicited cheers from the audience of law enforcement, which included local lawmakers, officers from the Suffolk County Police Department, the Nassau County Police Department acting police commissioner Patrick Ryder, Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco and deputies and jail guards from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office, according to Newsday reporter Nicole Fuller.
A NYPD spokesman told HuffPost that no one in their department attended Trump’s speech on Friday.
HuffPost reached out to the White House for further clarification on who was invited and who attended the speech.
NYPD joins a growing number of law enforcement agencies, officers and organizations that have denounced the president’s remarks on Friday, including the Suffolk County Police Department, which reportedly had over 100 officers who attended Trump’s speech.
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.” Goff also said that he has spoken to police chiefs and officers who are “disgusted” by “the president’s statements ― and the applause” it received.
“Unchecked police force is not tough. It is not ‘manly’ and it does not reduce crime,” Goff said in the statement emailed to HuffPost. “What it does accomplish is to make crime victims less likely to call 911 for help because they fear how police will treat them.”
Goff added that Trump’s Friday remarks were dangerous because it would make even bystanders less likely to report violent crimes for fear of violent treatment from police. Goff also said that excessive force could endanger other officers.
“Punitive force by any member of law enforcement is potentially a precursor to violence against the next officer encountering that individual,” Goff said. “Excessive force dehumanizes all involved, both police and public.”
Similar to NYPD’s statement, the International Association of Police Chiefs on Friday defended strict use of force policies that require officers to treat all individuals “with dignity and respect,” calling it “the bedrock principle” behind police legitimacy.
The Suffolk County Police Department in New York and the Gainesville Police Department also tweeted in response to Trump’s speech on Friday. Suffolk County police said their department will not tolerate “roughing up of prisoners,” while the Gainesville police rejected Trump’s speech which they said “endorsed and condoned police brutality.”
Police brutality has been a focal point of public concern in recent years. The case of Eric Garner, who was held in a fatal chokehold by an NYPD officer, gained national attention and inspired a wave of protests.