Created: June 01, 2020 02:17 PM
Dear Governor Cuomo,
As president of the union that represents the uniformed men and women of the New York State Police and as a member of the boards of the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Troopers Coalition, the Police Conference of New York and the Northeast Regional Troopers Coalition - which collectively represents more than 250,000 law enforcement officers and State Troopers nationwide - I find it appalling that you have not condemned the violence directed at your New York State Troopers during the riots across the state. In fact, during your daily briefing today you repeatedly used the word “ugly” to describe recent events but did not acknowledge that the Troopers under your command have been responding to riots with unwavering loyalty to public safety.
The right to a peaceful protest is etched in the U.S. Constitution and as law enforcement officers we are sworn to uphold that concept. We are all outraged by the events that became a catalyst for where we are today, and the fact that members of the public want to peacefully protest for change is their American right.
However, what Troopers are being called upon to respond to across the state are not peaceful protests or voices of reason urging societal changes, these are violent riots taking place around the state including New York City, Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester and Albany, just blocks from the Executive Mansion. Peaceful protestors do not arrive with hammers and Molotov cocktails, burn police cars, smash the windows of businesses or spray graffiti on St. Patrick's Cathedral – criminal opportunists and vandals do. Peaceful protestors do not start fires in the streets or to businesses - arsonists do. Peaceful protestors do not gather en masse to openly disregard laws, create havoc and impede on the rights of the general public - rioters do.
During this time, your New York State Troopers were detailed to New York City and the aforementioned upstate cities, helping protecting life and property of the millions of citizens who chose not to engage in the criminality of a few. Unfortunately, our top elected officials, members of the state legislature and including you, Governor, have offered zero support for us. Why haven’t you pointed out that the assaultive actions of violent protestors cause a more assertive response from law enforcers?
We are the same men and women who were placed in harm's way and tasked to transport specimens across the state for COVID-19 testing in Albany in March when no other entity was willing to do so. We are the same dedicated state employees who were - and always are – on call and available to assist other law enforcement agencies anywhere in the state whether it be in response to terrorist attacks, a prison escape in Dannemora or rioting. We are also the same human beings who are willing to give our lives in the line of duty to our fellow New Yorkers, as evidenced by the 20 Troopers who have done so since you've taken office.
For fulfilling our duties to the people of the state of New York, the proud members of the New York State Troopers PBA have in return been vilified and lumped into a group who you believe doesn’t have the wherewithal to discipline themselves. Your “green light law” can result in a felony charge to a Trooper simply for providing information to a fellow law enforcement agency if requested. In addition, you have also most recently vowed to diminish the civil rights of your New York State Troopers through changes to NYS Civil Rights Law section 50a.
You continue to deploy our manpower during these riots and other periods of unrest to assist local officials and we answer the call every time. Despite a lack of respect and support, uniformed New York New York State Troopers have not protested, gone on strike or refused to go to work. We get up each and every day, proudly put on that grey uniform and serve and protect the people of the state of New York.
Governor Cuomo, now is not the time to be politically ashamed of supporting your New York State Troopers. We deserve better.
Thomas H. Mungeer
New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association
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