In a recent episode of a YouTube show called Police Off the Cuff, the hosts interviewed Kevin McConville, the Republican candidate for Putnam County sheriff, and Robert Hyer, a candidate for the Kent Town Council.
Hyer reminisced about the days when “all cops, no bosses, pop open the back of the trunk, they take out Louisville sluggers, went in there, and I’m not kidding around, they jacked up I don’t know — 30 people? Lying out in the lobby of the theater next thing you know there’s mounted cops running in the theater playing polo with these guys’ heads…. You could walk down the block and we owned the block.”
Hyer also reminisced that “the difference between now and then was, if you had the foot post on Fifth Avenue, you would have taken your nightstick, jammed it in the door, called an 85 [arrival delay] and just beat everybody.”
McConville sat by, passively, when confronted with the cruel and illegal police behavior Hyer described. Putnam County taxpayers need a sheriff who can recognize and appropriately discipline officers who are out of control and not someone who will stand by silently if his officers want to play polo with citizens’ heads. Based on his performance in the YouTube interview, McConville is evidently not up to the job.
McConville, who found his voice to interject at many other points during the show, remained ominously silent. He never said, “Thank goodness we don’t do things like that anymore.” He never said, “Out-of-control policing and brutality are never warranted.” He saw no need to voice even the mildest objection.
We live in a time when violent extremists are trying to infiltrate local police units, as indicated by comments from a recent FBI report. There is widespread consensus that the kind of policing that killed George Floyd is unacceptable. We need leadership, not wimpy acquiescence to men who brag about beating those they’ve sworn to protect.
Linda Tafapolsky, Garrison