President Donald Trump suggested to gathered New York law enforcement officers on Friday that they should be “rough” while arresting suspected criminals.
During a speech addressing the violent MS-13 gang in Long Island, the president said, “When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, and I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’ “
He elaborated, adding, “Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, 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 comments followed the president’s praise of how ICE officers have operated in regard to gangs.
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According to the Washington Post, the MS-13 gang have been responsible for 17 murders over 18 months, local police said.
Trump called gang members “animals,” saying, “They kidnap. They extort. They rape and they rob.”
“For many years, they exploited America’s weak borders and immigration enforcement,” Trump said. “They are there right now because of weak political leadership … and in many cases police who are not allowed to do their job because they have a pathetic mayor or a mayor who does not know what’s going on.”
To illegal immigrants, the president added a threat, saying, “We will find you, we will arrest you, we will jail you, and we will deport you.”
Amnesty International responded to the speech through a statement, obtained by the Huffington Post.
“This inflammatory and hateful speech will only escalate tensions between police and communities and put both law enforcement and civilians at risk,” said the statement, in part.