Abrogating the Oath of a Police Officer Hezitorial
YONKERS, NY — July 17, 2020 — It was on Wednesday, July 15th that New York State Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President Thomas H. Mungeer issued a statement “demanding” that state troopers be removed from New York City “and cease any law enforcement activities within that jurisdiction.”
In the same vein today, Yonkers PBA Detective President and thereafter Yonkers Police Commissioner John Mueller both issued statements in which they, too concurred with NYS Police President Thomas Mungeer yet without mentioning him by name.
Mungeer stipulated, “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,” “This poorly conceived bill, which will be signed into law by Mayor de Blasio …, 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.”
Yonkers Police Commissioner John J. Mueller today said he is prohibiting officers under his command from taking enforcement actions in the City of New York effective immediately.
Mueller said his action was necessary due to the New York City Council proposing, and Mayor Bill de Blasio signing, a New York City Law that requires the jailing and or fining of any police officer that puts a knee on a person’s back or chest during the course of arresting that person.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said he supported Commissioner Mueller’s order. “I announced my full support of the Police Commissioner’s order to stop law enforcement activity in New York City following the New York City Council proposing, and Mayor Bill de Blasio signing, a New York City Law that requires the jailing and or fining of any police officer that puts a knee on a person’s back or chest during the course of arresting that person.
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.
Said Mayor Spano, “Here in Yonkers our Police Department works closely with the community, and the low number of complaints is the result of that. We don’t use chokeholds, and we don’t use more force than absolutely necessary, even when dealing with individuals who are extremely violent or suffering mental distress.”
The City of Yonkers has long banned the use of chokeholds by its Police Department except in life or death struggles, and has engaged in a variety of practices to minimize the use of force during arrests. As a result, complaints of excessive force by Yonkers Police have dropped dramatically in recent years. Only six such complaints were made last year.
“Despite our best efforts to minimize the use of force, it remains well possible that a police officer’s knee may end up on the chest or back of a violent suspect during a scuffle or arrest, especially during a one-on-one situation,” said Mueller, “We will not subject our officers to the threat of a year in jail every time they have to deal with a violent or mentally ill subject resisting arrest. New York City’s new law goes beyond effective policing. It jeopardizes the safety of both police officers and the public.”
Mueller added that it was important to note that this was in no way a reflection on the NYPD: “The Yonkers Police Department has and will continue to have the utmost respect and admiration for the men and women of the NYPD. The NYPD has been placed in a nearly impossible position by its legislative body to deliver measured, thoughtful, and appropriate policing strategies for residents who need them most. Our brothers and sisters of the NYPD have contributed countless innovative and transformational policing strategies that have greatly benefited citizens and policing alike, throughout the entire world.”
Commissioner Mueller further stated, “The New York City law was obviously not written by anyone who has ever had to put handcuffs on a violent individual resisting arrest. The Yonkers Police does not use chokeholds or engage in other actions that endanger a subject’s life, but nor can we endanger an officer’s own life; and we’re certainly not going to ask them to risk going to jail just for doing their job.” Commissioner Mueller also noted that the Yonkers PBA has expressed strong concerns about the new New York City law.
Mueller said Yonkers Police, even when engaged in an active pursuit, will halt at the New York City line in the future absent extreme circumstances.
While the perspectives of Mungeer, Olson, and Mueller they are each defiant in abiding by the law, that is, to pursue by encroaching into New York City proper. Each officer takes an oath to which they must adhere, including the pursuit of a suspect beyond the city line. That is the oath to which each must abide.
Contrary to the “oath” Olson presents his perpective as if he has jurisdiction over the “oath” or the “law” as it is written. Worse still he speaks for other unaffiliated PBA’s operating in other municipalities in Westchester County. He has no authority to advise others to break the “law” or the “oath” to which they each swore to abide.
Similarly, Yonkers P.C. Mueller’s statement cannot direct YPD Police Officers to break their “oath”.
Were a P.O. of any rank choose to abrogate their “oath” would thy not forfeit their position as duly sworn Police Officers (P.O.s). Would they become liable do to their inaction? Is Olson espousing a “work stoppage”?
Are Mayor Mike Spano, P.C. John Mueller, and PBA Det. Pres. Olson placing the YPD into a legal quagmire?
SOURCE: Yonkers Police Department Communications Det. Lt. Dean Politopoulis | Yonkers Police Commissioner John Mueller