Police unions snub Letitia James, back GOP’s Michael Henry for NY attorney general
The 50,000 member Police Conference of New York — representing Big Apple detectives, sergeants, captains and lieutenants — is backing underdog Republican Michael Henry over Democratic incumbent Letitia James for attorney general.
Frustrated public safety reps told The Post they don’t see James — New York’s chief legal officer — as a friend of law enforcement during these troubling times.
“She has been no help whatsoever to the women and men who daily put themselves in harm’s way. Keeping New Yorkers safe from criminals is not her priority,” fumed NYC Detectives Endowment president Paul DiGiacomo, a member of the umbrella Police Conference.
“She sued the NYPD on pattern and practices after the George Floyd riots, but said nothing about the rioters total disregard for public safety and for public and private property.”
The New York State Troopers PBA also recently endorsed Henry over James.
The head of the Police Conference said Henry will be the candidate to champion law enforcement and public safety, while expressing disappointment with James.
PCNY president Richard Wells said James was largely mum in the fight to fix New York’s controversial no-cash bail law, which critics blame for spiking crime.
James also proposed legislation — the Police Accountability Act — that Wells claimed would have handcuffed cops. The bill, proposed by James last year but which hasn’t passed the legislature, recommended new criminal charges for cops who use “force that is grossly in excess of what is warranted” as part of a new potential reform of the state’s use-of-force guidelines.
The AG’s bill would change the use-of-force guidelines to make lethal force the last resort after exhausting all other alternatives. It would also eliminate the clause that allows cops to use deadly force if they believe the person has committed or attempted a certain type of felony.
“It’s a terrible, terrible piece of legislation. How are we supposed to do our job?,” Wells said.
He added, “Michael Henry will be a partner in fighting crime and supporting law enforcement across this state. He is a strong voice for righting pro-criminal laws that have created a revolving door of justice which have made the public and our officers less safe. As the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of New York, he will be a true ally who will support us.”
Henry said, ““It is an honor to have the support of the Police Conference of New York. Our law enforcement officers know that public safety is on the ballot on November 8.
“I am committed to working with police across this state to change pro-criminal laws that have endangered the public and officers on our streets. As the son of a retired police officer, I know people who sign up for this job love their communities and put their lives on the line everyday. They deserve to be supported and not demonized and defunded for what they do,” added Henry.
The Police Conference has also endorsed Republican challenger Rep. Lee Zeldin over Democrat Kathy Hochul for governor and GOP rival Joe Pinion over Democratic incumbent Sen. Chuck Schumer for senate — indicating a growing rift between rank-and-file cops and the New York Democratic Party establishment over issues such as bail reform.
The only statewide Democratic candidate the Police Conference is backing for re-election is incumbent Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who is being challenged by Republican Paul Rodriguez. Wells said DiNapoli has been a good steward of police worker and retiree pension funds.
Wells said Henry sought an interview and the union’s backing while James did not.
James’s campaign defended her record when asked about the police union support for her opponent.
She won big headlines for filing a civil fraud lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, his kids and company, alleging they vastly inflated the values of their properties and assets. Trump denied the accusations and slammed James.
James’ office devastating investigative report released last year claiming that then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed or mistreated a slew of women forced the three-term Democrat’s resignation under the threat of impeachment, though he denied wrongdoing.
“Political endorsements have never influenced Attorney General James’ judgement or her work representing all the people of New York,” said James’ campaign manager Yvette Buckner.
The campaign noted that James has worked closely with local law enforcement to bolster public safety.
James’ Organized Crime Task Force busted up more than six gun and drug trafficking rings in 20 counties throughout the state, indicted 221 individuals, and convicted more than 160 individuals for their crimes.
The task force’s work with local police agencies also helped seize 6.4 kilograms of cocaine, 10 grams of heroin, 482 pills of fentanyl, 1,270 pills of oxycodone, and nearly 1.9 kilograms of methamphetamine.
James has worked with New York City Mayor Eric Adams’s administration on lawsuits to crack down on companies that sell untraceable firearms assembled from kits — co-called ghost guns — as well as busting a retail theft crime ring.
Adams has endorsed fellow Democrat James’ re-election bid.
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