The acting head of the Drug Enforcement Agency is sending a strong message to his agents: President Donald Trump’s comments calling on law enforcement to rough up suspects in custody are wrong and should be disregarded completely.
Chuck Rosenberg, who was appointed in 2015 by former President Barack Obama, made clear that his comments weren’t meant to be political, or to otherwise suggest that his agents would ever do anything to cause harm to suspects.
In an open letter to those who serve in the DEA, Rosenberg wrote, “In writing to you, I seek to advance no political, partisan, or personal agenda … Nor do I believe that a Special Agent or Task Force Officer of the DEA would mistreat a defendant. I know that you would not.”
Rather, Rosenberg wrote the letter because he felt Trump was wrong to state that law enforcement should be rougher with their suspects.
“[W]e have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong,” Rosenberg added. “That’s what law enforcement officers do. That’s what you do. We fix stuff. At least, we try.”
Rosenberg was referencing comments made by Trump on Friday, in which the president made light of situations when officers can take advantage of their positions of power and purposely cause harm to suspects.
“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,” Trump said.
Trump’s comments drew condemnations from officers and their superiors across the country. The International Association of Chiefs of Police issued their own statement reaffirming that officers should always treat every suspect fairly.
“Law enforcement officers are trained to treat all individuals, whether they are a complainant, suspect, or defendant, with dignity and respect,” their official statement read. “This is the bedrock principle behind the concepts of procedural justice and police legitimacy.”