President Donald Trump blamed poor political leadership and previous administrations’ weak stance on immigration for the uptick in gang violence by MS-13 during a speech before law enforcement officials at Suffolk County Community College Friday. MS-13 has been accused of 17 murders in the last 18 months in Suffolk County, according to county officials. But Trump drew criticism for encouraging police not to protect the heads of suspected gang members when apprehending them.
As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners.
— Suffolk County PD (@SCPDHq) July 28, 2017
The Suffolk County Police Department responded on Twitter, tweeting, “The SCPD has struck rules & procedures relating to the handling of prisoners. Violations of the rules are treated extremely seriously. As a department we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners.”
Other departments were more critical of Trump. The Gainesville Police Department in Florida tweeted, “The @POTUS made remarks today that endorsed and condoned police brutality. GPD rejects these remarks and continues to serve with respect.”
Long Islanders’ weighed in on Pulse’s Facebook page.*
“No Trump supporter here but ever since the Bush Administration NO ONE has done anything to prevent the massive influx of ILLEGAL immigration on LI, which is why we are now having a major crisis with MS-13. With the recent raids today in Huntington by Homeland Security, I have to give Trump credit. He’s doing what no Republican or Democrat has had the guts to do which is to enforce our immigration law and protect our communities. If these laws had been enforced in the first place, there’s no doubt that the kids from Brentwood and Central Islip who were brutally murdered by MS-13 would still be alive today.” – Jackie Gebbia
“Trump is only interested in one thing: Trump! The only reason for this trip to the ‘blood soaked battlefields’ was to reinforce hate and fear of ALL immigrants so he can justify spending billions on a stupid wall. This is not a president, this is a clown in the biggest circus on earth!” – Gina Marie Small
“I was not there but read some remarks. He’s putting civilians and officers in danger with his remarks regarding being crueler to arrested persons. Foolish, unconscionable and likely more rallying rhetoric that smart people on all sides of the fence are not falling for anymore.” – Alan Semerdjian
“Doing more about it than Obama ever did.” – Anthony Rumore
“What message? All I heard was broad generalization, minority/immigrant scapegoating and fear mongering. That is in addition to shaming the Chicago police, whose cooperation he will need to fight gangs there.” – Jack Guarneri
“No one is endorsing police brutality. I want GANG brutality eradicated.” – Ginny Perrell
“The gangs are definitely a problem but his mobster approach is disturbing.” – Christie Baker
“Something needs to be done about the gangs and the crime and the drugs. Tough measures need to be taken. Get it done.” – Lisa Beaman
“What he said was awesome except for the part where he wants to put everybody on the hook for civil liability.” – Michael Mathie
* Responses have been edited slightly for spelling and grammar.
You tell us: What did you think of the speech?