CHICAGO — For the second time this week, President Donald Trump blasted violence in Chicago — and revealed tantalizing clues about the identity of the mysterious "top police officer in Chicago" who told him during the campaign that violent crime in Chicago could be "stopped in a week" with toughness.
In a speech to law enforcement officers on Long Island, Trump said that officer — whom he called a "rough cookie" that impressed him with the "tough" way he spoke to officers — was the boss of the motorcycle brigade that escorted him on a trip to the city.
In the version Trump told cheering officers on Friday, the motorcycle officer pulled the then-candidate aside and said it would take only “a couple of days" to end the surge of violence that swept the South and West sides of the city starting last year.
"If you gave me the authority. I really mean it," Trump said the cop assured him. "We know all the bad ones. We know them all.”
"I sent it to the mayor," Trump said. "I said, 'You ought to try using this guy.' Guess what happened? Never heard. And last week they had another record. It’s horrible."
However, spokesman Frank Giancamilli said the officer was not a member of the Chicago Police Department.
"CPD has been unable to identify any department member who had a conversation with then-candidate Trump," Giancamilli said. "Additionally, there were never any motorcycle teams assigned to any campaign event in 2016. Perhaps it was another agency."
As of Wednesday, there have been 1,662 shootings in Chicago since Jan. 1, with 363 people killed and 1,735 people wounded, according to data provided to DNAinfo by the Chicago Police Department.
"We can only hope the president is as interested in attacking crime as he is in attacking his Attorney General, transgender members of the military and the three largest cities in the country," said Adam Collins a spokesman for Emanuel, referring to Trump's repeated criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
On Friday in New York, Trump said, "So Chicago is having this unbelievable violence; people being killed — four, five, six in a weekend. And I’m saying, what is going on?"
Trump asked a similar question on Tuesday in Ohio, turning his ire on Emanuel.
"Better tell that mayor to get tough because it’s not working what they're doing," Trump said.
Emanuel said Wednesday that fighting violence was "not about being tough but being smart and strategic."
During his speech, Trump encouraged officers not to be "too nice" to people suspected of crimes.
"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, as officers cheered and laughed. "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, okay?"
Those remarks were swiftly condemned by Karen Sheley, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Police Practices Project.
"His suggestion that police should purposefully cause pain and injury to suspects or arrestees by banging their heads against squad cars is disgusting and counterproductive," Sheley said in a statement. "Additionally, these words are especially offensive in communities of color — in Chicago and across the nation — where residents have fought to end this kind of abuse and for better police community relations."
A sweeping federal investigation completed in the waning days of the Obama administration found that as gun violence "overwhelmed" Chicago, its police force routinely violated the civil rights of residents by using excessive force caused by poor training and nonexistent supervision.
The federal investigation was prompted by the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald. A dashcam video of his death sparked outrage and widespread protests.
"These comments are truly beneath the office of the president of the United States," Sheley said of Trump's remarks.