Union president cites vote on NYPD bills
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In an unprecedented move, the Detectives Endowment Association (DEA), the union representing New York City’s police detectives, has suddenly revoked its endorsement of Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez in anger over her votes in favor of the controversial bills on Police Department oversight.
Michael Palladino, president of the 17,000 member union, said he and his members were shocked by Gonzalez’s vote to create an inspector general to monitor the New York Police Department and by her vote to make it easier for citizens to file lawsuits against the NYPD if they believe they have been racially profiled by cops. “We were shocked and disappointed by her vote in favor of both bills, but particularly the bias profiling bill, which we believe is bad for public safety and bad for the people we represent, who day after day, risk their lives to keep this city safe. This bill creates a presumption that the police are in the wrong,” Palladino told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on Monday.
“That’s why we took the unprecedented step of revoking our endorsement,” Palladino said.
Gonzalez (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook) is running for her third and final term in the council. The DEA had endorsed her earlier this year.
Palladino, whose union represents both active and retired police detectives, said he and his members cannot support a lawmaker who actively works against them. “Not only have we revoked our endorsement of her, we will also be actively contacting our members in her council district to inform them as to why we are no longer supporting her and to urge them not to vote for her,” he said.
The fallout from the council’s votes is likely to continue. The DEA has also withdrawn its endorsements of council members Mathieu Eugene (D-Kensington), Mark Weprin (D-Queens Village), Dan Garodnick (D-Upper East Side), and Inez Dickens (D-Central Harlem) for the same reason, Palladino said.
The profiling bill, which was approved by the council on June 26 by a 34-17 vote, is designed to curb the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy in the wake of mounting complaints from civil rights advocates that minorities are disproportionately targeted and searched by cops. Thirty-four is the exact number of votes needed to override the veto that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has threatened against the legislation. Palladino said the union will be working to convince council members to switch their votes on the bill so that an override effort fails.
The bill to create the position of an inspector general to monitor the NYPD was also approved by the council on June 26, but by a wider margin, 40-11.
On Monday, Gonzalez issued a statement on the non-endorsement. “I proudly cast my vote in favor of two landmark pieces of legislation that will make New York City safer, and protect the civil liberties of the men and women I represent as an elected official. These bills passed that night with a veto-proof majority, and I believe we can and will be able to override a Mayoral veto,” she said.
Gonzalez stated that while she was disappointed that the DEA has withdrawn its endorsement, she felt strongly about the bills.
“I have tremendous respect and admiration for Mr. Palladino, the DEA, and all of the members of the NYPD who protect our communities. These professionals provide a vital service to our communities. With that being said, the best interest of my constituents is my only concern. This legislation will make the communities I have lived in all my life, raised my family in, and served for decades as a public health advocate, community board chair, and councilwoman, safer and fairer. I am proud to have voted for them, and will proudly cast my vote to override Mayor Bloomberg’s veto,” Gonzalez said.