White House says Trump was joking about police

President Donald Trump. AP Photo, Alex Brandon.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump...

The White House is defending President Donald Trump's recent remarks that police shouldn't be too nice when transporting suspects, saying Monday that the president was "making a joke."

On a visit to Long Island last week, Trump implored police officers "Please don't be too nice," noting that some officers are too courteous to suspected criminals when arresting them. That prompted critics to accuse the president of encouraging police brutality.

"Like when you guys put somebody in the car, and you're protecting their head, you know, the way you put your hand over" their head, he said, putting his hand above his head for emphasis. "I said, 'You can take the hand away, OK?" Trump declared.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Monday, "I believe he was making a joke at the time."

The Gayly - 7/31/2017 CST 4:12 p.m.