NOPD Chief: President's comments contrary to constitutional policing

Chris Miller
July 29, 2017 - 7:06 pm

New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison issued a statement today rebuking comments made by President Donald Trump.

Speaking Friday to police officers in Brentwood, New York, President Trump joked that police should not be "too nice" when dealing with suspected gang members and other violent criminal suspects.

"Like when you guys put somebody in the car, and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put your hand over" their head, he said, putting his hand above his head for emphasis. "'I said, 'You can take the hand away, O.K.?'"

Although the crowd chuckled at the comment, police chiefs and organizations including the International Association of Chiefs of Police said it was no laughing matter.

"Every interaction our officers have with the public is an opportunity to keep our officers and citizens safe, and to build community trust with law enforcement," said Chief Harrison. "The President’s comments stand in stark contrast to our department’s commitment to constitutional policing and community engagement."

Harrison said what police need is support from the federal government for community police programs that help build trust between law-abiding citizens and officers.

"Any unreasonable or unnecessary application of force against any citizen erodes trust at a time when we need support from our local communities the most," Harrison said, concluding, "This is not a binary choice of either protecting the public or protecting a person's rights. We can and we must protect both, and NOPD will continue to lead the way in adopting policing reforms that do just that."

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