VSP Reiterates Use of Force Policies in Wake of President’s Remarks

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The Director of the Vermont State Police and the Vermont Public Safety Commissioner are speaking out against the encouragement of the “unreasonable use of force.”

The joint statement comes two days after a speech given by President Donald Trump that many viewed as an encouragement for police officers to be rough with the people they arrest.

“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 at Suffolk College on Long Island, NY Friday while making a speech about a proposed federal effort against the MS-13 street gang. “Like when you guys put somebody in the car, and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put your hand over…I said, ‘You can take the hand away, O.K.?’”

Dept. of Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Anderson and Col. Matthew Birmingham wrote in a statement:

“Statements by any public official condoning or encouraging the unreasonable use of force or the mistreatment of individuals in police custody are inappropriate and antithetical to professional policing and the mission of the Department of Public Safety.”

The Vermont public safety leaders reiterate the state’s use of force training policies to “ensure the prudent, reasonable and careful use of force under the circumstances.”

“The Vermont State Police also receive ongoing training on use of force, are required to report when force has been used, and face significant disciplinary penalties for the improper use of force or mistreatment of any person in their custody, up to and including dismissal,” the statement reads.

Local 22 & Local 44 News asked the VSP spokesperson to confirm that the statement provided Sunday was in response to the President’s remarks. We have not heard back.

Burlington Police tweeted Saturday: “It is our sworn duty to protect people from unjustified violence and harm, no matter who disagrees.” The tweet included a link to a Huffington Post article headlined “Donald Trump Endorses Police Brutality in Speech to Cops.”

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