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News from NYSTPBA President Tom Mungeer, July 8, 2022





News from NYSTPBA President Tom Mungeer The Empire Strikes Back In case you missed it, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), along with their pro bono counsel from Latham & Watkins LLP, filed a lawsuit against the New York State Police for, in their words, “unlawfully denying the NYCLU’s requests for personnel records” following the 2020 repeal of 50-a. According to their supervising attorney, “The New York State Police cannot withhold disciplinary records to which the public is legally entitled after the repeal of 50-a. Police transparency is now codified into law, and police departments can no longer argue that they must be trusted to police themselves, immune from public scrutiny. Amid the nationwide reckoning with police brutality and racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd, Daniel Prude, Monica Goods (editor’s note - look no farther than the actions of her father in contributing factors which directly resulted in her death) and countless others, the New York State Police remains steadfast in denying requests for public records made on behalf of the constituents they have sworn to protect and serve. New Yorkers have waited long enough - they have a right to know the extent of law enforcement misconduct that occurs in their communities.” I think our response speaks for itself. Also, as a reminder, we currently have pending litigation against both the Governor and the Division seeking to prevent the release of unsubstantiated and/or unfounded personnel complaints, which we are basing on a July 2020 legal advisory opinion issued by the Committee on Open Government Director Shoshana Bewley, who concluded that records involving allegations of misconduct that have yet to be substantiated or did not result in disciplinary action “may in our view be withheld where the agency determines that disclosure would result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” It states, “In addition, to the extent that charges are dismissed, or allegations are found to be without merit, we believe that those records also may be withheld based on considerations of privacy…” We plan on intervening in the above-mentioned lawsuit against the Division on behalf of our members. For Immediate Release, July 6, 2022 Statement from New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association (NYSTPBA) President Thomas H. Mungeer: The New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association (NYSTPBA) finds it odd that the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is suing the Division of State Police over its denial of the release of certain disciplinary records, yet the NYCLU itself is able to legally hide its own associated attorneys’ disciplinary records. The NYCLU recently announced the lawsuit against the Division of State Police for, in its own words, “unlawfully denying the NYCLU’s requests for records related to police misconduct authorized to be disclosed following the 2020 repeal of 50-a.” However, in the NYCLU’s announcement, it failed to include the fact that many of the records it is requesting are ones that have been deemed unfounded. As such, the NYSTPBA agrees with the current policy of the Division of State Police of releasing only founded complaints, a policy that is buttressed by an opinion from The Committee on Open Government that municipalities should not disclose unfounded/unsubstantiated complaints as a result of a FOIL request. There appears to be an interesting twist to the NYCLU’s actions, as under New York’s Judiciary Law, “any complaint, inquiry, investigation or proceeding relating to the conduct of an attorney shall be sealed and be deemed private and confidential (Judiciary Law § 90[10]). If the complaint did not result in a formal disciplinary proceeding in court, the records concerning the investigation, the deliberations of the grievance committee, and the outcome are not open to the public.” “It’s odd and ironic that the disciplinary records and any unfounded complaints of the attorneys that make up the NYCLU - as well as those of their pro bono attack dog Latham & Watkins LLP - will remain hidden and confidential and out of the scrutiny of the public eye,” said NYSTPBA President Thomas H. Mungeer. “I guess the NYCLU is not familiar with the phrase, ‘What’s good for the goose is good for the gander?’” While our court system continues to be clogged with the frivolous litigation filed by the NYCLU, the men and women who have proudly earned the title of New York State Trooper will continue to serve the people of the state of New York, even if on an uneven playing field. “OK before we start, let’s go over the ground-rules … No touching of the hair or face … And THAT’S IT. Now FIGHT!” – Ron Burgundy NYSTPBA in the News Releasing Unfound Complaints “Anybody can make an accusation,” Mungeer said. “The responsible media would take that information and just discount it. But with the advent of the internet, as you know, it’s the Wild West out there, and anybody can be a so-called media platform.” “Say there were 10 unfounded complaints out there against me,” Mungeer said, speaking hypothetically. “It doesn’t matter that they are based on absolutely zilch. It still would look to the public that I’m a bad trooper.” https://www.niagara-gazette.com/news/local_news/nyclu-takes-state-police-to-court-over-discipline-records/article_dba994da-fcd4-11ec-a308-3ba11568a26c.html Releasing Unfound Complaints - II Bobby Hodgson, an attorney for the NYCLU, said the union's statements suggest they haven't "read our lawsuit and further that they haven't read the law…It seems like (their) complaint is maybe with the Legislature, and not with this case, because the law was changed." https://www.timesunion.com/state/article/NYCLU-sues-state-police-for-denying-records-17288358.php Hmmmmm. Pro bono versus paid legal work? Well Bobby, I think I’d rather take my chances living in a house built by a reputable contractor during a storm rather than one built by Jimmy Carter. Just saying. Concealed Carry Thomas Mungeer, president of the New York State Troopers PBA, said the counsel's office for the State Police have not yet issued any guidance on the changes to gun laws that are scheduled to take effect on Sept. 1. “My concerns are that they have saddled the State Police with significant extra duties and, while I always appreciate the governor utilizing us as such, I can only hope that the resources, both monetary and in manpower numbers, accompanies these extra duties," Mungeer said. "I do believe that it's very confusing. I will rely on smarter people than me in division counsel's office to untangle the web so my troopers are at least on firm standing — if in fact this law is upheld — about what we're supposed to do and not do." New York's new gun laws expected to face court challenge (timesunion.com) This is a constitutional right, not a state-provided privilege. Last week’s concealed carry legislation led to an immediate backlash among many groups, including a severe rebuke by the Wall Street Journal editorial board, which summed up last week’s NYS legislative overstep by stating, “All of this looks like a willful attempt to defy a Supreme Court ruling. The same progressives appalled when Southern politicians stood in the schoolhouse door to block racial integration are now standing in the licensing office to prevent New Yorkers from exercising their constitutional right to bear arms…” Quotes of the Week “They didn’t just go up to the line. They trampled on the Supreme Court decision…We consider everything they’ve done here to be unconstitutional.” - My friend Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, on the knee-jerk legislative attempt to stymie the SCOTUS concealed carry decision. Red Flag Law Kudos to my friend NYSPIA President Tim Dymond, who I think is doing a great job getting his message out while standing up for his people at the same time. He has been decrying the fact that his investigators, already stretched thin like their uniformed counterpart NYSTPBA members, are being forced to represent the interests of the state during the Emergency Risk Protection Order civil case court proceeding, without legal representation, often against a skilled defense attorney. As Tim points out, “There is no amount of training you can provide to a state police investigator that is going to take the place of three years of law school and the years of experience that an attorney representing New York State would have.” Observation – Isn’t it funny that we can no longer plea bargain traffic tickets, however it’s fine for us to try and take someone’s guns away in court? Highland Park Shooting Our collective thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Highland Park, Illinois who, on our most patriotic day, suffered unspeakable loss. I can only hope that this miscreant will be tried federally and convicted as a terrorist and suffer the consequences associated with such a determination. However, if this same tragedy were to happen in New York, the New York State Legislature would immediately respond by either banning parades altogether or making the licensing process so difficult that nobody would want to hold one anyway. The Tail Wags the Dog An independent report released yesterday regarding the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) and their approval of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $5 million book deal found that JCOPE officials allowed Cuomo and his team to dictate the terms of what information it would disclose and when, during the time they sought approval from the ethics agency. The findings of the law firm Hogan Lovells found, “One of the clear takeaways from our analysis of JCOPE’s approval of the July 10 [2020 book] request is that the Executive Chamber overpowered JCOPE, and JCOPE failed to assert itself as a watchdog agency against the Governor. Rather than JCOPE telling the Executive Chamber what information it needed to provide in order to obtain approval, the Executive Chamber told JCOPE what information the Governor would provide, which was not much.” This revelation is not a surprise to anyone who has or had been involved in state government over the past decade. “I don’t know how to put this but I’m kind of a big deal. People know me. I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” ― Ron Burgundy This Week’s Sign that the Apocalypse is Upon Us The NYPD has altered its physical exam known as the “Job Standard Test” that recruits must pass before graduation. The six-foot wall known as the “Barrier Surmount” will now be replaced with a chain-link fence that’s easier to climb. In addition, to boost the passing rate, the 3-minute, 28-second time limit to complete the exam has been extended by a full minute. As Dean Vernon Wormer once famously said, “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” Tale of Two Cities Philadelphia’s Achieving Driving Equality Law, passed in March, names eight violations in Pennsylvania’s Vehicle Code and makes them insufficient cause for being pulled over. They include: · Driving an unregistered vehicle (with a 60-day grace period) · Relocation of Temporary Registration Permits (must still be visible) · Driving with an unfastened Registration Plate (must still be visible) · Driving with one missing brake light, head light, or running light · Items hanging from the rear-view mirror · Minor Bumper issues · Driving with an expired inspection sticker · Driving with an expired emission sticker On the flip side, New York City Mayor Eric Adams has ordered a crackdown on motorists who use fake paper transport or temporary plates or intentionally obscured license plates, arguing that the practice is typically associated with other illegal activity and aligns with his broader effort to bring down crime rates. “When you see people using these paper plates, many times they are doing something illegal. There’s a correlation between the illegal [operation] of a vehicle and not only possession of a gun, possession of narcotics, possession of a suspended license,” the mayor stated. The Pendulum Swings Back The leadership of the Bronx Democratic Party - who are sitting state senators - have refused to endorse a fellow sitting Democratic state senator based on his anti-police stance and have instead endorsed his rival. Sen. Jamaal Bailey, who is the party chairman, and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who is the secretary, have endorsed Miguelina Camilo in the race to represent the 33rd Senatorial District over incumbent Sen. Gustavo Rivera. “Gustavo has aligned himself with the far left of the party. Defunding the police, that’s not going to sit well in the 33rd District,” said Dinowitz. Doing the Crime(s) and Doing Some of the Time - The Anatomy of a Failed Experiment The fruits of the so-called criminal justice reform laws are becoming more noticeable as time passes. Take the case of the 18-year-old Buffalo man who racked up quite a record in a few short months. Dec. 31, 2021: Operating a stolen vehicle, refused to stop, crashed, apprehended. He was issued an appearance ticket. Jan. 11, 2022: Operating a stolen vehicle, fled scene on foot, apprehended. He was issued an appearance ticket. Jan. 12, 2022: Found in the driver’s seat of a stolen vehicle. He was issued another appearance ticket. Jan. 20, 2022: Operating a stolen vehicle, refused to stop, crashed into another vehicle. He was released on his own recognizance as the charges did not qualify for bail. Feb. 1, 2022: Operating a stolen vehicle, fled scene on foot, apprehended. He was arraigned and released under supervision. Feb. 7, 2022: Found in the driver’s seat of a stolen vehicle. He was issued another appearance ticket. Feb. 17, 2022: Found in the driver’s seat of a stolen vehicle. He was issued another appearance ticket. Feb. 21, 2022: Operating a stolen vehicle, refused to stop, apprehended. He was issued an appearance ticket. Eight separate criminal actions resulted in the following charges: · Two counts of reckless endangerment in the first degree, a Class D felony · One count of grand larceny in the third degree, a Class D felony · Four counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, a Class E felony · One count of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in the second degree, a Class E felony He pleaded guilty to the above crimes on May 13 and although he faced up to 36 years in prison if he was sentenced as an adult, he was charged as a youthful offender and sentenced to 18 months in jail. Memorial Golf Tournament Please mark your calendars for the Trooper Todd Claremont Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament to be held on September 16, 2022. RIP Sonny Corleone A tip of the hat to the life of native New Yorker and iconic actor James Caan, who passed away this week at the age of 82. "You touch my sister again and I'll kill ya." This email is an automated notification, which is unable to receive replies. To send a comment to the NYSTPBA, please contact us at nystpba@nystpba.org.

The Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers 120 State St. Albany, New York 12207 (518) 462-7448 http://www.nystpba.org

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