The head of the New York State Troopers union is demanding all state police be removed from the New York City over looming reforms.
New York State Troopers PBA president Thomas Mungeer issued a scathing statement on Wednesday “demanding” that state troopers be removed from the five boroughs “and cease any law enforcement activities within that jurisdiction.”
The call comes as Mayor de Blasio is slated to sign off on a package of police reform bills recently passed by the City Council.
One measure bans the use chokeholds, which are already outlawed at the state level, but adds language holding cops culpable for “sitting, kneeling or standing on the chest or back in a manner that compresses the diaphragm.”
“This poorly conceived bill, which will be signed into law by Mayor de Blasio today, puts an undue burden upon our troopers; it opens them up to criminal and civil liability for restraining a person during a lawful arrest in a manner that is consistent with their training and is legal throughout the rest of the state,” Mungeer said. “Furthermore, this legislation will prevent troopers from safely and effectively arresting resistant subjects.”
Other bills passed by the City Council last month include a measure requiring officer badge numbers to be visible and another calling for oversight of the NYPD’s surveillance technology.
The reforms mirror moves taken by the state Legislature in the wake of civil unrest following the death of George Floyd, an African-American man killed in May when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly eight minutes.
Mungeer focused his ire on the bill barring cops from placing any pressure on a person’s chest or back, saying that such tactics are “commonly used by many law enforcement agencies statewide and nationwide when officers are faced with violently combative subjects.”
“I find it extremely troubling that these acts are now defined as criminal in nature, even if they were unintentional and no injury was sustained by the subject,” he added.
NYPD brass have expressed similar concerns about the bill.
In recent years, Gov. Cuomo has upped the number of troopers stationed in the city, adding additional units to monitor the city’s airports and roadways.
Mungeer directed his demand at New York State Police Superintendent Keith Corlett, but said there are other options if troopers remain stationed in the city.
He suggested asking Attorney General Letitia James to indemnify State Police members from the “ill-conceived law,” but cast doubt on the likelihood that would happen.
“As that is unlikely to happen, it is the position of the Troopers PBA that if we continue to allow our members to remain stationed and conduct police activity within the five boroughs of New York City, we may be opening them up to criminal and civil liabilities simply by doing the job they were trained to do,” he said.
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