Last week, President Trump, in remarks before law enforcement personnel in New York, told those in attendance that they shouldn’t be too nice to suspects and that basically it would be OK to smack their heads against the door frames of squad cars when putting them in the backseat.
Light said he was “shocked” by the comments, and is rightly concerned of the impact of such a statement at a time when allegations of police using excessive force have been frequently in the headlines over the past couple years.
Sigsworth and Corbin reiterated Light’s statement.
But Light really nailed the issue with this:
“You have to bend over backwards to make sure everything is above board. The police are there to protect and serve. We’re not there to dole out justice; that’s for the couts to do.”
We couldn’t have said it better or more succinctly.
We are all becoming accustomed to President Trump rather frequently saying inflammatory things that play well before particular audiences but are pretty much diametrically opposed to the traditions and even established laws of the country. The important question is do these various remarks and tweets carry the force of presidential directives and policy or are they merely “jokes” and examples of Trump’s “straight-shooting style of saying what most people are really thinking, as some pundits and administration officials are wont to dismiss them as? Unfortunately, It’s too early in his presidency to tell for sure, but mature, responsible public officials like Light, Corbin and Sigsworth are right to look upon bizarre statements as suspicious and to speak up and resist when they deem it necessary for the safety of the public and their own officers.
As much as some self-styled “law and order” politicians detest it, in the United States, people are innocent until proven guilty and treating them in any manner other than with the full rights and respect conferred upon them by our country’s constitution and courts of law is a dangerous road to go down. And if it ever looks like things may be headed that way, the only protection we have is the better judgment and sense of trained, professional public servants like those we have here.