Washington: US President Donald Trump was joking at an event last week when he told police officers to be “rough” with suspects, according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“I believe he was making a joke at the time,” Sanders told the media on Monday when asked if Trump had a response to the critiques of the comments which were rebuked by police departments across the country.
On July 28, Trump, speaking before officers from Suffolk County Police Department in New York on efforts to combat the gang MS-13, told officers to be “rough” on suspects.
In response, a series of police departments from New York, Massachusetts, Florida distanced themselves from Trump’s comments, arguing that they did not represent their values or guidelines.
The Suffolk County Police Department said: “As a department, we do not and will not tolerate ‘rough(ing)’ up prisoners.”
A tweet by Ben Tobias, spokesman for the Gainesville, Florida, police department, responding to Trump went viral, CNN reported.
“I’m a cop. I do not agree with or condone remarks today on police brutality,” he wrote.
New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill said: “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.”