Speaking in Long Island, New York to a group of police officers, President Trump, in his freewheeling style, made reference to the strictures on police officers with regard to gentle treatment of those they arrest. He stated:
When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddywagon, you just see them thrown in, rough. I said please don’t be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody into a 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, OK?
The headlines blared.
From Huffington Post: “Donald Trump Endorses Police Brutality In Speech To Cops.”
Here’s Kyle Griffin from MSNBC’s The Last Word:
Here’s Colin Jones of The Daily Beast:
This is all exaggeration. Is it appropriate for Trump to encourage police not to be “too nice” to suspects? Not really. But it’s not police brutality to refrain from putting your hand on the head of a suspect to prevent them from bumping it on a car door. It’s police brutality if you slam their head into the car door.
Trump is obviously joking throughout this segment of his speech, but even the behavior he clearly endorses isn’t “police brutality.” But watch the tape yourself, rather than reading the headlines blared by an aggressively antipathy-laden media.