Days off for NYS troopers shelved as civil unrest grows

The Associated PressAll New York State Troopers, like thos shown here in this file photo, have been ordered to report duty Wednesday unless they are currently on vacation. The move is being made to assist communities who are dealing with looting, rioting and violence in the aftermath of the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

 

ALBANY -- All New York state troopers, with the exception of those on vacation, have been ordered to report to duty Wednesday as the statewide law enforcement agency prepares to assist communities threatened by looting, rioting and violence, CNHI has learned.

"Our entire force will be working," Trooper Thomas Mungeer, president of the New York State Police Benevolent Association, said in confirming the plan to call "all hands on deck" is now in place.

It is the first time all troopers have been directed to be on duty since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks killed 2,573 people in New York City, Mungeer told CNHI.

Mungeer said many troopers are expected to be dispatched to cities that have been hit by violent outbursts at night, with looting and vandalism sprees following more peaceful daytime protests.

"It's dangerous duty," Mungeer told CNHI, noting a trooper is being treated at a Buffalo hospital for a fractured pelvis after he, a second trooper and a Buffalo Police officer were struck by a Sport Utility Vehicle that plowed into a police blockade amid a protest Monday night.

Mungeer also welcomed Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to put the New York National Guard on alert to assist state and local police in containing demonstrations that evolve into looting and violence.

"You have a governor who calls these protests, but these are riots," Mungeer said. "During the day they are protests. But at night they are riots."

State Police representatives at agency headquarters in Albany were not immediately available to comment on the plan to increase the availability of on-duty troopers in the wake of the civil unrest.

The trooper who was seriously injured in Buffalo was identified as Trooper Ronald L. Ensminger Jr. Mungeer said the injuries, while serious, are not life-threatening.

A second trooper, Randall Shenefiel, is recovering from minor injuries. Both troopers are assigned to Troop A, whose patrol region includes Niagara County.

The massive deployment of police officers as well as the authorization of overtime pay is expected to strain the budgets of State Police and municipal and county police agencies that have assisted in the law enforcement response to the tensions, he added.

Cuomo said the state has 13,000 National Guard members. It was not immediately known how many could be activated this week to assist police.

Albany Police arrested several individuals early Tuesday following reports of looting at businesses within two miles of the state Capitol.

The protests have been sparked by last week's death of George Floyd while he was in police custody in Minneapolis. Video footage taken at the scene shows a police officer, Derek Chauvin, holding Floyd to the pavement while Chauvin's knee was pressed against Floyd's neck.

Cuomo said he believes Floyd was "murdered."

The governor also said New York City Police officers were ineffective in stopping violence in looting in some New York City neighborhoods Monday.

Cuomo contended police officers should have worked harder to counter vandalism to businesses in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn.

"These looters destroyed businesses that were essential to the community and the very people we are trying to help," Cuomo said.

The governor is now facing three separate but interconnected crises -- the pandemic brought on by the coronavirus, widespread civil unrest and a financial emergency hitting the state and local governments reeling from a sharp downturn in revenues.

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