Days after President Trump used the word “animals” to describe people “coming into the country” in response to a question about gangs, he has refused to apologize and has cited cases in Montgomery County as evidence that some gang members are “animals.”
On Monday, the White House Press Secretary’s Office released a statement detailing violent attacks by members of the international gang Mara Salvatrucha-13, more commonly known as MS-13.
The statement specifically mentioned two cases involving alleged members of MS-13 in Montgomery County, doubling down on the “animal” comment the president made which drew widespread criticism as many people interpreted the comment as an attack against all undocumented immigrants, not only members of MS-13.
“In Maryland, MS-13’s animals are accused of stabbing a man more than 100 times and then decapitating him, dismembering him, and ripping his heart out of his body,” the statement reads.
The case that the White House Press Secretary’s Office referred to took place in the spring of 2017 where members of MS-13 lured a man from Annapolis to a park in Wheaton where he was stabbed more than 100 times, dismembered and decapitated according to court documents.
The White House Press Secretary’s Office also referenced another MS-13-related case in Montgomery County where police arrested three men for beating a 15-year old girl with a baseball bat in Kensington. According to court records, police said the three men who are MS-13 members beat the 15-year-old girl, who is believed to have been working as a prostitute for the gang, for “not doing a good job.”
“The MS-13 animals used a bat and took turns beating her nearly 30 times in total,” the White House said in a statement.
In October, the County Council approved $843,693 in additional funding to expand the gang units at the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office and Montgomery County Police Department. The money will allow the County to hire three additional state’s attorneys to prosecute gang members and additional detectives for police to investigate gang-related crimes.
According to State’s Attorney for Montgomery County John McCarthy, there have been 20 gang-related homicides over the past two years, but the numbers are hard to track.