The Reverend Al Sharpton has accused US President Donald Trump of “encouraging police violence” during a speech this week on Long Island to an audience of uniformed officers.
The activist preacher tore into the Republican at the weekly gathering of his National Action Network in Harlem on Saturday.
A day earlier, the president spoke to law enforcement professionals at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. Trump said violence and murder on US soil by the MS-13 gang, which is linked to El Salvador, justify a strong police response.
The president said his administration is removing from the United States gang members terrorising communities on Long Island and other parts of the country.
He added, “Now, we’re getting them out anyway, but we’d like to get them out a lot faster, and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, please don’t be too nice.”
That means, for instance, shielding their heads from being bumped while getting into a police vehicle, Trump said.
Sharpton called Trump’s comments “reprehensible”.
They were “a reckless disregard for the law, and set a tone that is dangerous and biased in this country”.