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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Thursday, August 24, 2017

On Friday, July 28, during a speech in Suffolk County, President Donald Trump made comments that seemed to condone police violence. He told the police in the audience to not worry about being “too nice” to suspects they arrest or injuring them while placing them into cop cars. 

These remarks have caused much push back by police across the country and especially from local New York residents. Queens resident Lourdes Diaz Dennis told WNYC that the President’s comments were irresponsible and dangerous. She told reporters, “It sounds like he's giving a blank check to police for brutality. And that's from the commander in chief, and that's a shame and that's scary.”

The event in Brentwood, New York, at which Trump was speaking, was intended to provide support and encouragement to local law enforcement in their battle against La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, a gang that has wreaked havoc on Long Island and is allegedly responsible for several murders out east. 

After Trump called for more immigration officers to assist in the arresting of the gang members, he told officers, “Please don’t be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car, and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put your hand over,” he said as he held his own hand over his head for emphasis. “I said, ‘You can take the hand away, O.K.?’”

As shocked as people were by Trump’s remarks, we have all kind of come to expect such behavior from him as sad as that may be, many were even more appalled by the police officers who applauded the President’s remarks during the televised speech. 

Others said they weren't surprised by Trump’s comments as much as they were appalled by the reaction of the police officers who were behind the President during the televised speech.

J.D. Davis from Washington Heights told WNYC, “They were clapping for him and agreeing with it almost like this inside joke.”

In response to the President’s remarks, the Suffolk County Police Department tweeted they don't tolerate the "roughing up of prisoners." And they weren’t the only department to respond. From New York to Los Angeles, law enforcement criticized the misguided remarks. 

Police officer and Florida’s Gainesville police spokesman tweeted, “Those that applauded and cheered should be ashamed." 

WNYC reports, “In addition to the police officers standing behind him, the President had the support of Republican Rep. Peter King of Long Island. He spoke on John Catsimatidis radio show on Sunday about the impetus for the President's appearance — addressing a wave of deadly violence by MS-13, the gang with Central American roots that authorities said is responsible in 17 killings on Long Island since January, 2016. King placed the blame on President Obama-era immigration policies. ‘These were teenagers who came across the border within the past three years and have been out recruiting and killing for MS-13,’ he said.

Suffolk County police have said only a small percentage of unaccompanied minors have been identified as affiliated with MS-13.”

By Rachel Shapiro