A coalition of 23 police unions announced endorsements of a slate of Republican candidates for state Senate in swing suburban districts after accusing Democratic incumbents of turning their backs on law enforcement.
The union leaders have criticized Democrats for passing a series of laws during their two-year tenure in charge of the Senate that are criminal-friendly and anti-cop, such as eliminating cash bail for most non-violent crimes and overhauling discovery rules in criminal cases
They also objected to approval of a law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Democratic-led Legislature allowing for the release of disciplinary records of police officers
The Democrats wrested control of the state Senate from Republicans in 2018 during the blue wave mid-term elections and now control 40 seats to 23 for Republicans. The GOP had controlled the Senate for nearly 50 years, except for a two-year period from 2008 to 2010.
On Long Island, the unions endorsed Republican Alexis Weik over first-term incumbent Democratic Sen. Monica Martinez in Suffolk County.
The coalition also endorsed GOP rival Edmond Smyth over first-term Democratic incumbent James Gaughran in Nassau’s 5th District and Republican Dennis Dunne Sr. over incumbent Kevin Thomas in Nassau’s 6th District.
In Westchester’s 40th District, they’re backing former Republican County Executive Rob Astorino over Democratic incumbent Peter Harckham.
Meanwhile, in the Hudson Valley/Catskill 42nd District, the cop unions endorsed GOP candidate Mike Martuccio over Democratic incumbent Jen Metzger.
New York City Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, who also endorsed President Trump’s re-election, said, “The Democrats in the New York State Senate need to learn that their votes have consequences. It doesn’t matter if they claim to support police officers. It doesn’t matter if they put a blue line bumper sticker on their car. None of that keeps our communities safe.
“When it mattered, they betrayed their constituents and voted with the radical cop-haters and pro-criminal activists. The dangerous policies that the Senate Democrats supported are turning voters into crime victims. We will make sure that those voters know who is responsible.”
Detectives Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo cited passage of bail reform by Democrats for the united front to defeat them.
“The escalating crime rate, with wanton shootings and killings, especially of children, has proven that the so-called ‘bail reform’ and ‘criminal justice reforms’ hastily passed by the New York State legislature during this past year have had disastrous consequences for the citizens of New York City and State,” DiGiacomo said.
“We need to elect politicians who rank the safety and security of the City and State first on their agendas. We need to elect those who believe that preventing crime, and seeking justice for crime victims, far outweighs coddling criminals.”
Suffolk County PBA President Noel DiGerolamo said “radical New York City Democrats have taken control of Albany and made police — not criminals — public enemy number one.”
More endorsements of Republican challengers over Democratic Senate incumbents are in the offing, a spokesman for the law enforcement coalition said.
State Sen. Martinez responded, “I am proud of my record working with law enforcement agencies throughout Suffolk County … I am particularly proud of the millions of dollars I’ve secured throughout my public service career to keep our children off the streets and engaged in after school and summer programs, keeping our neighborhoods safe by achieving the lowest crime rates in Suffolk’s history.
“I will continue to work alongside the Suffolk County Police Department and all other law enforcement agencies and their officers to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
Woman, friend allegedly poison husband with deadly mushrooms
An Indiana woman and her friend have been accused of poisoning her husband with deadly mushrooms then dumping his body in a ditch, authorities said
Katrina Fouts, 54, and Terry Hopkins, 65, were charged with the murder of Fouts’ husband, 50-year-old David Fouts, whose body was discovered off a rural road April 24 in Noblesville, news station KOKI reported.
Police said David had not been heard from for at least five days before a woman walking her dog came across his decomposing body in a ditch.
There were cuts on his hands and residue from duct tape on his wrists and ankles, but no other obvious signs of foul play, the outlet reported.
An autopsy revealed that David’s body had been moved after he died, but didn’t provide any answers about his cause of death.
“It’s a real head-scratcher,” Hamilton County Coroner John Chaflin told the Indianapolis Star at the time of his death.
But officials later learned that there were 14 “fairly intact” chunks of mushroom in his stomach, the outlet reported.
Chaflin sent samples of the mushroom to Purdue University botany expert Dr. M. Catherine Aime, who was able to identify the substance as a white domecap mushroom known as Lyophyllum connatum.
Ingesting the mushroom is known to cause life-threatening symptoms that include heart failure and respiratory distress, Aime said.
She explained that the mushroom wouldn’t show up in an autopsy report because the fungus typically deteriorates within hours.
“She noted that muscarine has a half-life of about eight hours and is usually undetectable by 72 hours, meaning any muscarine present would likely have deteriorated by the time the body of David Fouts was found and urine samples were obtained,” the investigator wrote, KOKI reported.
Phone records revealed that Katrina Fouts had searched for another poisonous mushroom, which is similar to the one found in his system and described as “among the deadliest plants known to mankind,” the outlet reported.
She also failed to text or call her husband after he vanished despite claiming that she didn’t know where he was until his body was found, police said.
Hopkins, a longtime family friend, was linked to the death after DNA evidence was found on David Fouts’ shirt when his body was found, the outlet reported. He also allegedly purchased several suspicious items including duct tape.
After months of investigation, Katrina Fouts and Hopkins were taken into custody Sept. 18 in her husband’s death.
In addition to murder, they both face charges of conspiracy to commit murder and failure to report a corpse, the outlet reported.
Fouts faces an additional charge of false informing for allegedly lying to police.
No motive has been revealed in the gruesome murder.
Fouts and Hopkins both remain jailed and are due to appear back in court next week, according to court records.
Woman shot in the head as she collected recyclables on NYC street
A woman was shot as she collected recyclables on a Queens street, cops said Friday.
The 69-year-old victim was behind a row of stores at 147th Street and Northern Boulevard in Flushing around 7 a.m. Thursday when she heard a pop, according to police sources.
She turned around and spotted a man sitting in a sedan — but still continued picking up bottles and cans, the sources said.
Suddenly, the back of her head started to hurt, and she touched it to find that she was bleeding, the sources said.
She walked toward the front of the stores, where a person spotted her and called the cops.
She was rushed to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where doctors removed what appeared to be a deformed bullet from her skull, according to the sources. She suffered only a minor wound.
No video is available indicating that the man in the sedan fired a gun, the sources said.
Off-duty Pennsylvania cop charged in boozy tire-slashing spree
A Pennsylvania cop has been charged in an off-duty, tire-slashing spree that allegedly took place after a bartender in the city where he works refused to serve him any more drinks.
Pittston Police Officer Dion Fernandes, 44, was identified through cellphone video that captured the Aug. 29 incident, according to reports.
A seven-second clip obtained by FOX56 allegedly shows Fernandes, wearing a neon yellow T-shirt and khaki shorts, repeatedly jabbing at the tire of an SUV parked on Main Street until it pops.
Fernandes, who’s charged with felony criminal mischief, is accused of causing more than $5,500 worth of damage to five vehicles, PAhomepage.come reported Thursday.
The vandalism rampage allegedly unfolded after Fernandes was cut off at downtown restaurant, according to to PennLive.com.
A criminal complaint says says he’d been drinking in two establishment before he called a fellow cop and asked for a knife, according to WNEP.
The other cop, who was on duty, met Fernandes in a downtown parking lot and gave him the knife — but was dispatched back to the area about 10 minutes later in response to a 911 about a man slashing tires there, reports said.
Fernandes was suspended after the incident, which Mayor Michael Lombardo said was investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police after the Pittston police chief bowed out due to a conflict of interest.
“I’m sure that they did what they had to do, but it’s not surprising to me, given the fact that there were multiple vehicles involved. But you know, it’s very serious charge,” he told WNEP.
An arrest warrant was pending Thursday, reports said.
State police spokespersons didn’t immediately return requests for comment on Friday, and it was unclear if Fernandes had been taken into custody.
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