President Donald Trump was just joking when he suggested police officers should let suspects’ heads bang against the doors of their police cars ― or so White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she believed on Monday.
Trump made the remark last week while speaking to law enforcement officers on Long Island, New York.
“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 explained. “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?’”
This comment, Sanders claimed, was meant in jest.
“I believe he was making a joke at the time,” she said.
While Trump’s audience last Friday laughed and cheered in response, police departments across the country soon condemned his remarks as inappropriate.
“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,” said the New York Police Department’s commissioner, James O’Neill.
“The Boston Police Department’s priority has been and continues to be building relationships and trust with the community we serve,” said Boston police commissioner William Evans. “As a police department we are committed to helping people, not harming them.”
The comments also drew criticism from police headquarters in Suffolk County, where Trump made the remarks.