July 28, 2017

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.”

For more information about the ACLU’s work on police reform:
https://www.aclu.org/issues/criminal-law-reform/reforming-police-practices

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