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N.Y. state troopers ask to be removed from NYC

The request comes as Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign a sweeping police reform bill into law


State troopers assist at a coronavirus testing site on Staten Island, New York City on March 20, 2020.

Photo/John Nacion/STAR MAX via AP

By Brendan J. Lyons
San Antonio Express-News

ALBANY — The head of the New York State Troopers PBA issued a statement Wednesday “demanding” that state troopers be removed from New York City “and cease any law enforcement activities within that jurisdiction.”

“We have arrived at this unfortunate decision due to the hastily written so-called police reform legislation recently passed by the New York City Council,” said PBA President Thomas H. Mungeer. “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. Furthermore, this legislation will prevent troopers from safely and effectively arresting resistant subjects.”

According to Mungeer, the new regulations would “criminalize methods of restraint, including putting any pressure on a person’s chest or back.”

He said those techniques are used by law enforcement agencies across the nation “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,” Mungeer said.

State troopers have been assigned to New York City more frequently in recent years, at Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s request, assigned to patrol the city’s airports, bridges and tunnels.

Mungeer directed his request to State Police Superintendent Keith Corlett. He also suggested that the state attorney general indemnify state troopers from the New York City law, but it’s unclear if that office holds that authority.

New York City and many other municipalities across the country have been changing or debating police use of force techniques in the wake of protests that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. He died after a police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd was handcuffed and complaining that he could not breathe. Many protesters have also called on their state and local governments to “defund” police agencies.

©2020 the San Antonio Express-News