WASHINGTON - Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger is taking issue with President Donald Trump’s remarks during a speech to police officers saying that they shouldn't “be too nice” to people under arrest, and has sparked Manger to fire off a letter that is now going viral.
In addition to leading the Montgomery County Police Department, Chief Manger is also the president of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association.
The White House said the president was joking when he made his comments, but Chief Manger isn’t laughing. He told FOX 5 Trump sent the wrong message about police work and how officers treat suspects.
"My heart just sank, it just sank,” Manger said. “I thought how can someone in authority like this say something like that? I think since then it's been pointed out that he was joking and perhaps he was. I have no reason to doubt that this was an attempt at humor, but I guess I'm just too close to this that I did not find it funny.”
Chief Manger sent a letter to members of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association both online and on its Facebook page. He wrote "our job got tougher" and was "appalled when I heard the President of the United States condone injuring an individual in police custody."
Manger warns a small number of incidents of excessive force have shaped a false narrative of policing nationwide. In fact, he said use of force complaints are down while accountability is up.
This is not the first time the police chief has taken issue with a president. He clashed with President Barack Obama last year during a White House meeting.
He said it is his responsibility to take on any president when he takes issue with comments on policing.
“I am in a position where I do find myself in the same room as a President Bush, President Obama and now President Trump, so if I don't speak up on behalf of policing, talk to them about what they can do to help and talk to them about perhaps what they are doing that is not helping, that to me is my responsibility,” said Chief Manger.
He said he has not heard from the White House as of yet, but said he has had five meetings with the Attorney General Jeff Sessions this year and expects to maintain a good relationship with the Justice Department.
Manger will take part in the National Night Out Against Crime on Tuesday, which is an annual event to build stronger bonds between police and the people they protect.