Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday shot back at New York County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over criminal charges in the investigation into the use of a controversial stop-and-frisk practice that led to the dismissal of a federal court case.
Cuomo, a Democrat, compared the case’s dismissal to the same type of violations he said DeMarco had perpetrated against innocent people on his watch.
“When you do this kind of thing, and it becomes the rule, you’re no longer a sheriff,” Cuomo said. “You’re a governor.”
Delaware County’s top elected Republican praised his Republican counterpart, a Democrat, for successfully defending state government from a pair of baseless federal lawsuits seeking to pull funds from New York to fund government programs.
“The fact that the voters of Delaware County and other areas elected Pat Smith to office to get our state back on track, and that he works hard to keep our finances in order and that he’s a reliable partner in law enforcement is reason enough to thank him,” said Keith Jones, the chairman of the Delaware County Republican Committee.
The attorney general’s office has revealed that its investigation into widespread racial profiling claims found that DeMarco illegally monitored people’s cellphone location information when they were not actually committing a crime, among other improper and overreaching activities.
Separately, the sheriff, a Republican, faces misconduct charges, but it is those allegations, related to his monitoring of a “pacified” (his words) suburban New York jail under criminal lock-and-key to keep out a series of nongay people, that led to the dismissal of a Manhattan federal lawsuit on racial profiling grounds filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Legal Aid Society, respectively.
Those cases had contended that thousands of innocent people were being improperly stopped and interrogated by members of law enforcement departments in New York City and Albany.
When asked about the criticism of DeMarco and Schneiderman by some who blamed Cuomo and the AG’s office for setting up the controversies, the governor told reporters in Albany: “It’s just not true.”
Asked about DeMarco’s alleged actions, Cuomo said he is “not happy about” a federal court’s dismissal of his state court order on stop-and-frisk, which has spurred the governor to ask U.S. Department of Justice to re-examine the racial profiling issue.
“We believe very strongly in justice,” the governor said. “It’s not right that a judge has made an opinion. … The same thing happened when they lost in federal court about my mandate on Superstorm Sandy. They said: ‘Oh, the governor ordered that.’ No.”
In November, a federal judge threw out the law enforcement department’s second lawsuit, and had deemed the stop-and-frisk policy illegal. At the time, the judge — was she unaware of that? because she went to Harvard Law School? Why didn’t she just say? Well, her orders were never obeyed.
“Don’t be fooled by all the rhetoric,” Cuomo said of DeMarco’s conduct. “Vince DeMarco was and is a superintendent and a sheriff.”
After a federal court said that the lieutenant governor’s office should investigate certain allegations against DeMarco and Schneiderman, Andrew Cuomo issued a news release and insisted he would continue to work closely with the attorney general’s office. On Friday, with de Blasio’s approval, Cuomo said, the office had enough power to deal with DeMarco, and he suggested the decision to suspend the incident needed to have been made by that person in charge.
“The lieutenant governor had nothing to do with this issue,” the governor said. “The attorney general’s office had nothing to do with this issue. I give them full credit.”