It’s really obvious when the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, is reading from his teleprompter versus when he is going off script.
On Friday, when Trump told a crowd of Suffolk County Police Officers “please don’t be too nice” to detained suspects, it was another off-script moment that sent shockwaves through the nation. However these comments resonate with Black and Brown people in a uniquely troubling way. Innocent until proven guilty is supposed to be the foundation of the American legal system. Yet as we’ve seen over and over again, black and Brown suspects aren’t given the same presumption of innocence and often don’t make it to trial to prove their innocence.
Many die in police custody before they have the chance. Which makes Trump’s comments on casually abusing suspects that much more problematic.
“When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head… I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’” Those remarks received a chorus of applause by the officers in attendance at Suffolk County Community College, but shortly afterwards the Suffolk County PD took to Twitter to denounce the statements made by the President.
Other law enforcement agencies soon followed suit with their own reactions.
But where is the statement from the Baltimore Police Department, who were responsible for Freddie Gray’s severe spinal injury that lead to his death while in police custody? Where is the statement from the Chicago Police Department, who are responsible for shooting and killing Rekia Boyd, who committed no crimes? Other law enforcement institutions also have a responsibility to denounce Trump’s tone deaf and remarkably inaccurate comments.
As mentioned, Trump’s encouragement of police brutality a twisted remix of a joke made by Jerry Seinfeld in the 90’s which seemingly discourages police brutality. Rather than leave the hand off the heads of suspects being put into a cop car, we’d much prefer Trump and his administration to leave the thumb off of the scales of justice.