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WSHU's Charles Lane follows the different paths taken by Suffolk and Nassau counties on Long Island to undergo mandated police reform.

After Police Draft Their Own Reforms, Members Of Nassau County Task Force Resign

Nassau County Police
Elvert Barnes

Nearly a dozen members of Nassau County’s police reform task force have resigned in protest over what they call a “fraud” plan to reform policing. The task force was established by an executive order from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo after nationwide protests against the killing of George Floyd. 

Nassau County Police held a series of meetings with community members, but ended up drafting its own reform plan behind closed doors with limited input from the task force.

The 310-page plan contains a number reforms that were already announced, including the use of body cameras and a ban on chokeholds. However, much of the plan is congratulatory of the department.

The draft was presented to Nassau lawmakers. And then, a number of members met and agreed to resign. 

Fred Brewington, a civil rights lawyer on the task force, said he didn’t want his presence on the task force to condone what he calls “a fraud”.

“This is the conversation that needs to take place in the public forum. It should not be done under the cover of darkness that has been done here," Brewington said. "The cover of darkness is exactly what people did to my family in the South, and I’m tired of it.”

Those resigning said they will be drafting their own plan of reforms by the end of the month and will ask the legislature to consider them. Cuomo’s executive order requires the county legislature to approve a plan by April.
Neither Cuomo’s office or officials from the county immediately responded. County Executive Laura Curran had said that the plan presented was just a first draft and that all of the people of Nassau County will have input.

“Effective reform on such an important topic is not possible without meaningful public participation so that all feel invested in the success of the outcome," Republican Legislator Steve Rhoads said. "As has become a common theme in this administration, we are seeing the unfortunate result of a County Executive failing to make transparency and input a priority in her administration.”

Democratic Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams said, “These resignations are a signal that the county must redouble and refine its outreach efforts to ensure that the communities that will be most impacted by police reform are truly being heard."

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.