Mark Chiusano is a member of the Newsday and amNew York editorial board.
President Donald Trump loves his crowds big and beautiful, boisterous and larger-than-usual. He likes the nice surprise they present around every corner. But it was a very specific crowd that awaited him at Suffolk Community College on Friday: one made up almost entirely of uniformed police.
They waited patiently on the stage behind him, their white-gloved dress-uniform hands folded. They sat in the small auditorium, alternately talking quietly and falling silent. They were local cops from Suffolk County, guests from out of state, federal officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, some of them engaged in the fight against the violent MS-13 street gang that has killed 17 Long Islanders within miles of where the president was about to speak.
As expected Trump praised their work on that front, which has helped to prevent that vicious gang’s crimes and bring criminals to justice. But then he went further: encouraging officers “not to be too nice.” To be “rough.” When they were pushing a perp into the squad car with a hand over the perp’s head, don’t worry about hitting the head. “You can take the hand away,” Trump said.
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