Tom Suozzi’s backing of cops lacking, Martins says

Tom Suozzi’s backing of cops lacking, Martins says

Republican congressional candidate Jack Martins last Thursday said Democrats, including Tom Suozzi, have not done enough to protect and support police.

At an Oct. 27 news conference accepting endorsements from local police unions, Martins said Suozzi, his foe in the 3rd Congressional District, has not defended law enforcement officers while his party has supported the Black Lives Matter movement, which he cast as anti-police.

“Tom is pretty fond of saying that he’s willing to stand up to those powerful interests out there and fight for the people of the community,” said Martins, an Old Westbury state senator. “I have yet to hear him stand up for law enforcement, I have yet to hear him stand up for our communities, I have yet to hear him stand up to his own party on something as critically important as this.”

Martins’ said Democrats’ “embrace” of Black Lives Matter, a social movement that protests the disproportionate imprisonment and killing by police of members of racial minorities, shows they have compromised their support for law enforcement officers.

Martins said he supports the death penalty for killers of police and pledged to support stiffer penalties in Congress for criminals who assault police and who sell drugs to teenagers, as he has in the state Senate.

Suozzi has touted his tiff with the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association when working to renegotiate police contracts as county executive as evidence of his commitment to stand up to interest groups.

He was endorsed by the Nassau County Correction Officers Benevolent Association in his 2013 county executive campaign against current County Executive Edward Mangano, who unseated Suozzi in 2009.

In a statement, Mike Florio, Suozzi’s campaign manager, called Martins “delusional” and said the police concessions were part of his effort to turn around Nassau’s finances.

“Tom has always supported law enforcement, and other first responders, for the job that they do and for keeping our communities safe,” Devlin said.

Asked in a recent interview about criminal justice, Suozzi said unequal treatment based on race arises from “a lack of understanding about the root cause of a lot of these problems,” such as drug abuse and mental illness.

“I think that we’re all biased and I think that there’s bias that exists in our system,” he said.

Martins was endorsed Thursday by the MTA Police Benevolent Association, the Police Conference of New York, the NYPD Captains Endowment Association and the NYPD Lieutenants Benevolent Association.

Eleven other law enforcement unions have backed him in the race to succeed Rep. Steve Israel, including four from Nassau County.

Martins’ support in Albany for stricter criminal penalties and other laws that support law enforcement led the groups to back him in return, said Mike Patterson, vice president of the Nassau Police Benevolent Association.

“We knew his solid support on law enforcement was always there and it never, ever wavered,” Patterson said.

By Noah Manskar

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