The Rodriguez campaign has sought the opinion of the head of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association union about what appears to be an unusual use of members of the Police Department within the Mayor’s first campaign advertisement.
In the political advertisement a chief of police is clearly holding a campaign sign in full city uniform, on city property and in front of police vehicles staring into the camera and touting the Mayor’s “progress”.
In addition to the above, Sergio seeks the PBA president’s opinion on what he thinks of the Mayor’s potential exploitation of his fellow officers. In the video the Mayor is shown walking the neighborhood with rank and file police officers.
Attached is Sergio’s letter to PBA president Kevin Kennedy seeking his opinion, as well as from rank and file officers in regards to administrators carrying political campaign signs in the Mayor’s first campaign commercial.
The Rodriguez campaign later became aware of a possible New York State Election Law violation by the Brown campaign in respect to this video.
It has now been confirmed that New York State Election Law prohibits this type of behavior by a police officer in uniform.
The Rodriguez campaign will forward this information to District Attorney Frank Sedita for consideration of potential election law violation by the Brown campaign.
Sergio issued the following statement about this issue.
“The Brown campaign has unfortunately put one of Buffalo’s finest in a precarious position.
“We ask how the administration could be so irresponsible to involve someone from the police force in this way?
“This type of heavy-handed unethical politics is reflective of what our community has been victim of for far too long. Byron Brown has continuously shown that he doesn’t consider the ethics of his politics.”
Referenced material: (Found on pg. 492-493 of PDF, or pg. 466-467 of the 2012 State of New York Election Law manual located here: http://www.elections.ny.gov/nysboe/download/law/2012nyelectionlaw.pdf)
§ 17–110. Misdemeanors concerning police commissionersor officers or members of any police force Any person who, being a police commissioner or any officeror member of any police force in this state: 1. Uses or threatens or attempts to use his official power orauthority, in any manner, directly or indirectly, in aid of or against any political party, organization, association or societyor to control, affect, influence, reward or punish, the politicaladherence, affiliation, action, expression or opinion of any citizen; or 2. Appoints, promotes, transfers, retires or punishes anofficer or member of a police force, or asks for or aids in thepromotion, transfer, retirement or punishment of an officer ormember of a police force because of the party adherence oraffiliation of such officer or member, or for or on the request,direct or indirect, of any political party, organization, association or society, or of any officer, member of a committee orrepresentative official or otherwise of any political party, organization, association or society; or 3. Solicits, collects or receives any money for, any politicalfund, club, association, society or committee, is guilty of amisdemeanor.(L.1976, c. 233, § 1. Amended L.1983, c. 215, § 1.)