Donald Trump has encouraged police to be more brutal in how they handle suspects - and been applauded and cheered for it.
Trump was addressing law enforcement in Long Island on Friday and, during his meandering speech in which he also lauded his political acumen, encouraged them to be rougher on those they arrest.
“When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, and I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice,’” Trump said.
“Like, when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head, I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’”
The audience laughed then whooped and applauded.
Zeke Johnson, senior director of programs at Amnesty International USA, said Trump’s “inflammatory and hateful speech will only escalate tensions between police and communities”.
“Police cannot treat every community like an invading army, and encouraging violence by police is irresponsible and reprehensible,” he said.
In the speech, Trump also insisted he was on the right course on abolishing Obamacare - the goal Republicans have strived for for years and failed to achieve when the Senate voted against its repeal.
Unbowed, Trump decided police wanted to hear how he had always been right on the subject.
“I said from the beginning: Let Obamacare implode, and then do it. I turned out to be right,” he said.