New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had harsh words for Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon’s statement that his office will not be enforcing the state’s 10-person mandate on gatherings over Thanksgiving.
This week, the Sheriff’s Office tweeted confirmation that his deputy sheriffs would not be involved in the enforcement of the state’s restrictions on the number of people permitted to gather during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, the Sheriff’s Office deferred enforcement to the Suffolk County Police Department.
“This responsibility will fall to the SCPD and the (five) police departments, because they, not the Sheriff’s Office, will have jurisdiction over these responsibilities,” they posted.
- Earlier story - COVID-19: Suffolk Sheriff's Office Says It Won't Enforce 10-Person Limit For Gatherings
When asked about the Sheriff’s stance during one of several pre-Thanksgiving COVID-19 briefings, Cuomo took Sheriff Errol Toulon to task.
“The Sheriff says, ‘well politically, I disagree with that,’ ” Cuomo said. “Well, are you a politician or a law enforcement officer? You have to pick, and it gets very dangerous when law enforcement officers say ‘I’m only going to enforce the laws that I agree with.’ ”
Cuomo reiterated repeatedly that by drawing a line in the sand, Toulon made himself into political, not a law enforcement officer.
“This is a case of giving their political opinion, and saying I’ll only enforce the laws I politically believe it,” he said. “It’s a frightening precedent.
“What if they don’t agree with anti-discrimination laws, or domestic violence laws? What if they say ‘well what happens between a husband and wife in a home, that’s their business,’” Cuomo added. “What if you say ‘I don’t think the government has the right to go into a person’s home and tell a husband how to treat a wife?’
“I’m not interested in their political opinion. Enforce the law. When you pick and choose, you’re putting politics above the law and I don’t consider them to be law enforcement officers.”
Melissa DeRosa, one of Cuomo’s top aides, also took a shot at Toulon, adding: "I believe the sheriff's jurisdiction in Suffolk is actually the jails, not the constituents. So his opinion on this is even more irrelevant.”
Toulon got in the last word, issuing a statement touting his office and the work they do in Suffolk County.
“The Suffolk County Sheriff's Office has a police division with jurisdiction throughout Suffolk County,” he said. “Our deputies are involved in international narcotics and trafficking investigations, serve lawful warrants for thousands of domestic violence cases, handle evictions and make arrests."
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