Did Suffolk County Censor a Hate Crime Report? Call for an Ethics Investigation
A high-ranking official from Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy’s administration inappropriately obtained and edited an unreleased report on county hate crime, according to a complaint drafted for the Suffolk County Ethics Commission and circulated by Legis. DuWayne Gregory on January 4.
The report, a product of over a year of research by the Suffolk County Hate Crimes Task Force, was slated to be released to the public by the end of 2010. Instead, Chief Deputy County Executive Edward Dumas stands accused of cutting out a third of research in the report, including sections critical of the county executive.
“I’m no fool, I fully expected the administration to be critical of what we’ve done, because I know [Levy] has been against it,” Gregory said. “But by no circumstance did I think he would try to get a hand in drafting the report.”
Dumas denied the accusations in a Newsday article, saying, “I reviewed the report to ensure that police department initiatives and programs were accurate and complete, and made no suggested edits, additions, or deletions, except for the table of contents for the police department’s section.”
Sign this petition and call for an ethics investigation into whether or not Suffolk County officials inappropriately revised the report.
The petition will be emailed to Suffok County Legislator William Lindsay, the presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature. To send Presiding Officer Lindsay a fax, use 631-853-4071.
To send a fax to the chairman of the Suffolk County Ethics Commission, use 631-853-5169.
To reach the Ethics Commission via mail, send to:
Chairman, Ethics Commission
H. Lee Dennison Building
100 Veterans Memorial Highway
PO Box 6100
Hauppauge, NY 11788
Gregory alleges that officials from Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy's office cut nearly a third of the group's research out of the report, specifically cutting sections that were critical of the county executive.
I am writing to ask that you push for an ethics investigation into the handling of the report by the county executive's office, and whether anyone in county executive's office acted in an unethical manner in regards to the report.
As presiding officer of the legislature, your leadership can help can help generate support for this investigation.
The Hate Crimes Task Force was assembled to improve the relationship between the community and Suffolk County government, and sow trust from within the immigrant community. If the accusations made by Legis. Gregory are correct, it will prove the opposite: that the county government has little regard for the plight of hate crimes and those most affected by such crimes.
According to the complaint by Legis. Gregory, the report was reviewed by Chief Deputy County Executive Edward Dumas before Task Force members had even seen the final draft. Gregory also stated that he believed the research had been edited "to reflect a more politically amenable report for the county executive."
To support his complaint, Gregory adds that in the past, Levy had expressed his opposition to the creation of the Hate Crimes Task Force. Once the Task Force was formed, Gregory says that Levy asked him limit the number of public hearings held by the task force so that the county executive's enemies would not "circle the wagons" and bring up the issue of hate crimes in Suffolk County, a politically sensitive issue for him.
Legis. Gregory's ethics complaint presents ample evidence to justify a full investigation into the matter by the Suffolk County Ethics Commission. I ask that you give your full support to the investigation, and use your power as an elected official to ensure that the hate crime report was handled ethically.