WSJ: DEA Sent Agency-Wide Memo After Trump ‘Condoned Police Misconduct’

Alex Brandon/AP

The acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration wrote to agency employees the day after President Donald Trump endorsed police abuse to “reaffirm” the agency’s principles in the face of what he said was Trump “condon[ing] police misconduct,” the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

In a memo marked “Global Distribution” and titled “Who We Are,” according to the Journal, Chuck Rosenberg (pictured above) wrote: “The president, in remarks delivered yesterday in New York, condoned police misconduct regarding the treatment of individuals placed under arrest by law enforcement.”

Rosenberg was responding to Trump’s call on Friday for “rough” policing in the face of transnational gangs like MS13. Speaking to a law enforcement audience in Long Island, Trump celebrated suspected gang members being “thrown in” to paddy wagons, and said police officers “can take the hand away” from handcuffed individuals’ heads as they are guided into the back seat of police cars — suggesting that police officers ought to harm arrestees as a form of vigilante justice. Audience members responded positively to Trump’s speech.

Before being appointed acting DEA administrator, Rosenberg served in several federal roles in both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.

Rosenberg wrote that the comments required a response, despite his belief that no “special agent or task force officer of the DEA would mistreat a defendant,” the Journal reported.

He added: “I write to offer a strong reaffirmation of the operating principles to which we, as law enforcement professionals, adhere […] I write because we have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong. That’s what law enforcement officers do. That’s what you do. We fix stuff. At least, we try.”

Many police departments immediately distanced themselves from the remarks. On Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump was joking.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK