WASHINGTON, DC — President Trump addressed a group of
law enforcement officers in Brentwood, New York, today and endorsed the use of
force against people police suspect of criminal activity.
Jeffery Robinson, deputy legal director at the American
Civil Liberties Union and director of the ACLU’s Trone Center for Justice and
Equality, had the following reaction:
“The president today told a group of police officers,
‘We have your backs 100 percent,’ if they gratuitously hurt people whom they
suspect of a criminal offense. By encouraging police to dole out extra pain at
will, the president is urging a kind of lawlessness that already imperils the
health and lives of people of color at shameful rates. Innocent until proven
guilty? Our president would rather not bother with that, expanding the role of
the police officer to include judge, jury, and executioner.
“And if the police happen to make a mistake and arrest
an innocent person? Well, the pain and humiliation they endure is just a small
price to pay for our return to being tough on crime. Just remember which
communities will pay.
“This country is weary of the type of policing that
Trump espouses, having seen over and over again that it only makes it harder
for police to investigate and solve crime. We know what happened to Freddie
Gray, Eric Garner, and too many others who lost their lives only because they
were under suspicion. We must increase the trust between police and civilians,
not decimate it.”
Ringe, American Civil Liberties Union, 212-549-2582, firstname.lastname@example.org