Donald Trump, President of the United States, pretty much espouses his policies in everything he says or writes 24/7. There was the time he addressed the Boy Scouts of America on the 2017 Jamboree in West Virginia last Monday July 24. He started off with a throwaway line about trying not to mention politics in his speech then proceeded to go political on the assembled scouts anyway. It did not end there. Last Friday President Trump spoke to an assembly of Police and crime victims in Brentwood, New York. What he said there could be construed as an endorsement of police brutality, and some spokespeople from law enforcement are taking exception to his words.

No roughing up of suspects

In his speech to the law enforcement community, President Donald Trump admonished cops across the US for being conditioned to treat arrested perpetrators with kid gloves. He had called on them to “stop playing nice” and advocated actions like not covering a suspect’s head when putting them in the backseat of a squad car. The police officers seated behind him laughed and dutifully clapped his pronouncement, but major law enforcement officials all over the country criticized Trump’s speech for sending the wrong message with the community in a very tense period.

The president had applauded the more heavy-handed methods employed by immigration officers and have insinuated that cops could learn for that example.

The county police department of the very suburb where Trump made his address was among the first to denounce his rhetoric and its violent undertones. Push-back statements from the departments of other major cities followed, from Boston to New York to New Orleans to Los Angeles. Ben Tobias, an officer in Gainesville, Florida, managed to generate a lot of attention with his own Twitter post wherein he disagreed with President Trump’s “stop playing nice” line.

Defenders and justification

Not every one of the responses from the police community was condemning though. A police advocacy group called “Blue Lives Matter” came to President Donald Trump’s defense. In their view, Trump’s tough talk on criminals was a joke; and that the media have once again escalated the teasing statements out of proportion.

The context of President Trump’s outrageous proclamations are rooted in his directive for the police to focus on going after MS-13, a notoriously feared crime group from El Salvador that has been responsible for a rash of violent crimes in the East Coast. Trump had mentioned MS-13 members’ preference for killing their victims with knife wounds so they would bleed slowly to death, rather than instantly from gunshots.