It’s been a while since we heard from TPM Reader LC, a cop from the tri-state area who shared various of his views with us when the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri dominated the national news. After President Trump asked cops to rough up arrestees in their custody, he wrote in yesterday …
I’m fucking furious.
This two-bit gangster, would-be dictator just set police-community relations back by a quarter of a century.
“When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over,” he mimicked an officer putting a handcuffed person in the back of a squad car, the officer’s hand over the suspect’s head. “Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody? Don’t hit their head?”
“I said, you can take the hand away, OK?” he concluded, to laughter, and then loud applause.”
The reaction of officers in the room to the President’s words as described is troubling and embarrassing. Any officer who causes injury to a person in custody is open internal disciplinary charges, criminal Assault charges, Official Misconduct, and Federal civil rights violations, as well as civil liability. This is NOT the Wild West, as POTUS seems to imagine.
Police Officers are not judge and jury. We do not meet out punishment. Every person has the constitutional right to a presumption of innocence. We are authorized to use minimum force necessary to take a person into custody. Once in custody, police are responsible for the health and well-being of the arrestee.
I would direct the POTUS to the definition of the word “custody”