“Don’t be too nice,” President Donald Trump said Friday in a message that sounded strangely like he was encouraging American cops to rough up the people whom they arrest.
Trump made the comments in front of a crowd of police officers in Long Island, N.Y.
“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 — 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 your hand — 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, okay.’”
Many officers applauded and laughed.
Trump may have been playing to his crowd; but that certainly isn’t the mentality Americans ought to want that particular crowd to maintain. In fact, that sort of thinking is why the U.S. judicial system is as damaged as it is today.
During the Obama administration, the Black Lives Matter crowd, emboldened by anti-cop rhetoric from the highest levels of government, did everything it could to make the job of policing more difficult.
In turn, you can bet the us versus them mentality in police departments throughout the country has intensified. Mentality isn’t measurable– but sometimes common sense is fine stand-in for statistic.
Do Americans want cops afraid to do their jobs? Absolutely not. And that’s the great folly of the left’s anti-police attitude. Everything a cop does is wrong until you need law enforcement assistance.
But Trump is meeting well-intentioned but damaging rhetoric with well-intentioned but damaging rhetoric.
American cops should use whatever force they must to neutralize criminal violence they are witnessing firsthand. But too often the suspects who find themselves in police custody are non-violent offenders, and even innocent people in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s why we have courts and constitutional protections for the accused.
Suggesting that police should extrajudicially assess a suspect’s guilt and begin administering punishment is dangerous and unconstitutional. And urging cops to set aside restraint in going after bad guys is down right dangerous– for both police and the communities they serve.
Trump also said that current laws “totally protect the criminal, not the officers.”
“We’re changing those laws,” he added.
But remember that sometimes the officers are the criminals– and some of the laws were written by crooks.
The only way to protect everyone, is to urge restraint from all involved.