On July 28, Gainesville Police spoke out against police brutality and their take on the flippant remarks made by President Donald Trump regarding the issue. During a speech made in Long Island, New York, the president spoke to local police officers about MS-13, a local gang. One piece of advice he had for the officers was “Please don’t be too nice” to crime suspects.
GPD was less than pleased with this ideology.
Tweets posted by GPD spokesperson Officer Ben Tobias about the statements made by Trump have gone viral over the past several days.
Tobias tweeted from the GPD Twitter account saying “The @POTUS made remarks today that endorsed and condoned police brutality. GPD rejects these remarks and continues to serve with respect.”
He then tweeted from his personal account saying, “I’m a cop. I do not agree with or condone @POTUS remarks today on police brutality. Those that applauded and cheered should be ashamed.” He also quoted the original tweet posted from the GPD account, confirming he was granted permission to post the opinionated statement.
The tweets received thousands of retweets, favorites and responses. Some commending GPD for their courage to speak out against Trump’s statements. Others showed extreme contempt toward GPD’s stance and claimed the tweets were disrespectful to the president.
We at the Alligator would like to applaud GPD and Tobias for their outspoken opinion on the matter. Police brutality is nothing that should be condoned nor should it be encouraged by the president.
Many people began to argue that the president never outwardly said he condones or supports police brutality. We respectfully disagree and are appalled by the fact this is even a topic of debate.
Everything the president says is heard and digested by millions of Americans, and he should know better than to speak in a way that has even the slightest chance of encouraging events that could endanger the lives of American people — or any people for that matter.
No matter the criminal or severity of their crime, no one should be treated as less than a human, nor should they be physically harmed by police officers. Oftentimes, incidents of police brutality happen before an arrest is made and before a suspect is proven to be guilty of their crime in a court of law. This leads to the endangerment of innocent people and increases the fear many people have toward the police.
This leads to a less safe nation overall.
Police officers risk their lives every day for our safety, and they deserve to be seen as what they are — caring and protective public servants. They should not be feared, and they should not be thought of in a negative way if they were to use more aggressive measures when making arrests.
We believe by giving officers the go ahead to increase aggression and force, fear and negative stigma around the police will only inflate. When people are scared to approach officers and scared to seek help from the police, we become less safe and lose the impact that police departments work so hard each day to create for us.
Once again, we thank you, GPD. You and Tobias have done a phenomenal job defending our freedom and our safety while also keeping the integrity of police officers intact.