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Phoenix chief says Trump police comments paint officers in bad light

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

PHOENIX — The chief of the Phoenix Police Department said remarks made by President Donald Trump last week about the rough treatment of people by police set the profession back from the progress it has made.

“We are focused on crime suppression and really making a difference and an impact in our community,” Jeri Williams said Monday. “But at the same time, the charge that we have, even when we take our oath of office, is to treat everyone with dignity and respect.”

In a speech to police officers in Suffolk, New York last week, Trump suggested it would be acceptable for people to be roughed up when being arrested.

“You see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon,” he said. “I said, ‘Please, don’t be too nice.'”

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that Trump was likely making a joke, but Williams said she did not want people to get the wrong idea about her officers.

“I don’t want anyone in the community or the country to think, or perceive or believe that the Phoenix Police Department is nothing shy of professional, and courteous and respectful,” she said.

Williams said her officers undergo de-escalation training and have worked hard to be respected while doing their jobs in the community.

“If we’re making an arrest, we want that arrest to be lawful, practical [and] respectful,” she said.

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