State College Police Department rebukes Trump’s endorsement of excessive force
On Tuesday, the State College Police Department released a statement starkly condemning recent comments made by President Trump that seemingly condoned and encouraged police officers to use excessive force when handling suspects. President Trump made the controversial comments, which were met with cheers from the group of state and federal officers in attendance, in a July 28 speech in Brentwood, NY, where he praised “rough” tactics used by immigration officers, and called on those in attendance to “not be too nice” to suspects by not protecting their heads when they were being placed in police vehicles.
The statement, released in an effort to “reassure our community that we are professional officers who hold ourselves to a high standard of conduct,” reaffirmed the Department’s commitment to treating “ALL people with dignity and respect regardless [of] whether they are a victim, suspect, defendant, complainant, or witness. This is the foundation behind the concepts of procedural justice and police legitimacy.”
The statement restated the Department’s ongoing commitment to their “stringent policies in place for use of force and treatment of persons in custody,” including the fact that “use of force instances are strictly monitored to ensure that department policies are being followed and to ensure our actions are objectively reasonable considering the situation confronted by the officers.”
It finished by offering a clear rebuke of Trump’s comments: “The President’s recent comments regarding police treatment of persons in custody are clearly inconsistent with our professionalism and code of ethics.”
The President’s comments come at a time when police departments across the country have come under severe scrutiny for their unaccountable use of excessive force, particularly against African Americans. According to the advocacy group Mapping Poliec Violence, police officers killed 309 African Americans in 2016, and have killed 160 African Americans in 2017 thus far. Moreover, African Americans are 3 times as likely to be killed by police than whites, and 30 percent of African American killed in 2015 were unarmed, compared to only 21 percent for whites. The comments also came less than a month after the charges against Brian Encinia, a Texas state trooper who violently ripped the now-deceased Sandra Bland out of her vehicle for not putting out her cigarette, were dropped.
Statements issued by other administration officials and police departments in the wake of President Trump’s comments echoed many of the same sentiments as the SCPD. These include comments from the acting DEA administrator, International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Police Foundation, the New Orleans Police Department, the New York Police Department, and the Suffolk County Police Departmen, among others.
— NOPD (@NOPDNews) July 30, 2017
The White House has offered little-to-no response in the wake of the backlash, with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders only saying that Trump was “making a comment, making a joke, and it was nothing more than that.”
— CNN (@CNN) August 1, 2017