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ATLANTA (AP) — The Trump administration’s tough talk on crime and the treatment of suspects has left black police officers worried that efforts to repair the fraught relationship between police and minority communities could be derailed.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday addressed a major black law enforcement group, just days after President Donald Trump said police shouldn’t be “nice” to suspects by shielding their heads as they are lowered, handcuffed, into police cars. The comment, now described by the White House as a joke, angered some cops who said it only served to dial back progress they’d made with the people they serve.

In addition, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration said Saturday in an email to employees that Trump’s comments “condoned police misconduct regarding the treatment of individuals placed under arrest by law enforcement.” DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg said he thought it important to emphasize the drug agency’s operating principles, which include rule of law, respect and compassion and integrity.

Sessions did not directly address the president’s comments in his remarks Tuesday, but said police officers need the support of the community as they do a dangerous job.

“You deserve the support and respect of every American, and I’m here today on behalf of President Trump and the Department of Justice to say, ‘Thank you.’ I am proud to stand with you. The Department of Justice is proud to stand with you,” Sessions said, drawing applause from the crowd. “We have your back. We are in this together.”

Seattle Assistant Police Chief Perry Tarrant, president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, told reporters Sessions also spoke privately with the organization’s leadership. Sessions didn’t apologize for the president’s comment and said he believes it was made in jest, but said he understands the effect such comments can have and underscored the Department of Justice’s commitment to protecting everyone’s civil rights, Tarrant said.

When asked if he believes Trump was joking, Tarrant said, “Whether intentional or unintentional, it was heard around the country by the folks, by the very communities that we’re trying to build relationships with and I believe it had an impact.”

Other conference attendees approached by The Associated Press declined to discuss Trump’s comments or Sessions’ address.

Black police officers talk of straddling two worlds: the communities where they live, and the police departments where they work. They take seriously their oath to uphold the law and to go after criminals, but they also worry about their own friends, relatives and neighbors who fear the police.

“We live in some of the same communities that are affected by this disparate treatment. We go to church in those neighborhoods. We go to the barbershops. Certain things people don’t realize: It’s really hard being black and being a police officer when these things happen,” said Clarence E. Cox III, former chief of Clayton County Schools in Georgia and incoming president of NOBLE.

Sessions has questioned the federal civil rights investigations that marked the Obama administration’s efforts to overhaul troubled police departments, often after high-profile deadly police encounters with black men inflamed tensions and reignited debates over police-community relations.

“We cannot let the politicians — and sometimes they do — run down the police in communities that are suffering only to see crimes spike in those communities,” Sessions said. “In the very neighborhoods that need proactive, community-based policing the most, we don’t need to be telling police not to do their job in those communities.”

Sessions has said aggressive federal intervention in local law enforcement can malign entire agencies and make officers less effective on the streets, but he has promised to prosecute individual officers who break the law.

Sessions has been traveling the country touting his tough-on-crime agenda. He believes rising violence and the nation’s opioid epidemic require a return to tougher tactics, vowing to make fighting ordinary street crime a top priority for a Justice Department.

Tarrant has also expressed concern about Sessions’ pledge to dial back civil rights investigations. While some effective interim steps can help address bad departments, he said, “at the end of the day if you have systemic issues in any organization, the Department of Justice has an obligation to intervene.”

Trump’s remarks came last Friday before law enforcement officers in Suffolk County, New York, during a visit to highlight his administration’s efforts to crack down on a street gang known as MS-13.

He spoke dismissively of the practice of shielding the heads of handcuffed suspects as they are placed in patrol cars.

“Don’t be too nice,” Trump said. “I said, ‘You could take the hand away, OK,'” he said.

His remarks were later denounced by the Suffolk County Police Department, which issued a statement saying it has strict rules and procedures about how prisoners should be handled and “we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners.”


Associated Press writers Sadie Gurman and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.

(John Amis/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

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18 thoughts on “Black Police Concerned By Trump Quips On Handling Suspects

  1. B. Brown on said:

    This man continues to show how stupid and racist he really is,I’m not surprised because this is the same ignorance we got from him on the campaign trail.He has clearly made it known to the minorities that he has no regard for us, just trow us in police cars and bust our heads when you do.How and why do Americans allow this fool to represent this nation if he has no respect for over half of the population.Why have we not gotten rid of him ?

  2. giancarlo vega on said:

    What about the families of these Nine White Cops Killed In 11 Days By White Men: Where Was blue lives matter !! BUt since we are are talkin about crime it doesn’t go with the Narrative!!!

  3. Angela R. on said:

    This comment will do nothing for the unity of this country. This will allow danger on everyone’s behalf. A leader is suppose to be better than that, but I expect nothing else from him. He did this in the election!

  4. In today’s society, money talks. And until we start speaking with it, nothing is going to change. Economic empowerment rules.

  5. I wonder how relatives as well as fellow black officers of officer Miosotis Familia
    Of NYPD gunned down by black thug while monitoring gang activity in minority neighborhoods (not Trumps or Sessions but black communities) feel about coddling street thugs, Stay woke and stay on the Plantation

  6. Mrknowitall on said:

    Maybe police should give milk and cookies to criminals, so they won’t get their feelings hurt after they car Jack, Rob & kill a single mother.

    • Oh do you mean like the treatment Dylan Roof received from police after he was arrested for murdering all those people in church? FOH

      • jhuff on said:

        Roof was given a burger from BK, he was fed just like Timothy McVeigh or any other prisoner and just like McVeigh he will be given a LAST meal what the f@ck is your point?

      • Mrknowitall on said:

        Tim McVeigh and Dylan roof should have been dragged to prison behind a patrol car.

  7. Joe Gonzales on said:

    Getting mad protesting all that work no more. We’ve gone through all this for the past 500 years when the hell are we going to learn we need to use a different approach when dealing with politicians of every political stripe Democrat or Republican have failed African American people. If Democrats or Republicans claim to have the answers to help us why the hell are we still fighting the same battle 500 years later please answer me this? If you look back at political comments back in the fifties and you fast forwarded to the deer 2000 every single presidents including Barack Obama Donald Trump and President Reagan Nixon Eisenhower all the way to President Truman and Franklin D Roosevelt have all failed us. They are pretty good at blindsiding us and telling us a bunch of b******* and we believe in them. Remember we have one and a half trillion dollar economical power us black people here in America to put it into perspective we have almost the same amount of financial power than the whole country of Canada so we would be considered the 8th or 9th largest economy in the world if Black America was independent. So why the hell don’t we start our own businesses why don’t we need in every town Villages and hamlets in America all of us blacks and start creating small businesses service our own people and eventually we provide services to white people and make some money. Do not get mad make money build an economical base. Then we will gain respect look at Chinese look at other people of color they just build power economical power no demonstrating marching and burning will not help us we’ve tried that before and we have failed and that’s where we are here today facing the same problems. Democrats Republicans Barack Obama and other presidents including Trump will never succeed in helping us if we don’t help ourselves

  8. People of color need to stay woke and pay attention to this turd AG Sessions.

    This POS plans on allowing PIGS to run rampant in urban communities and continue to
    brutalize/kill innocent African Americans.

    In addition, Sessions plans on doing away with Affirmative Action and filing law suits
    based on reverse discrimination-i.e. -discrimination against whites.

    As well as making it more difficult for us to cast our Vote in 2020!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Chump and his minions will TURN BACK THE CLOCK TO THE 1940’S if folks don’t
    start making some damn NOISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. specialt757 on said:

    “The comment, now described by the White House as a joke…” This was very irresponsible of the man who holds the highest office in the land. Considering the circumstances going in with cops and the community, he should have not chosen that “joke” which we ALL know was not a joke.

    • Diane on said:

      Now it’s being said, it was a joke, but not really. Shameful. But is anyone really surprised about what kind of s**t comes out of that fools mouth? I mean really.

      • Stephanie Johnson on said:

        Not surprised at all! He is the most hateful and ignorant person I’ve ever seen! Shame on Americs for voting this fool in office!

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