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ALBANY -- Republican candidate for state attorney general John Cahill on Monday received the endorsement of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association in part because he promised not to unseal documents from the deadly Attica prison uprising in 1971.
Cahill said he wouldn’t unseal documents from the investigation into claims of cover-up and wrongdoing by officials at the prison revolt.
The announcement creates a sharp difference from Democratic Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. He is seeking to disclose two volumes of testimony sought by relatives of prisoners injured and killed in the rebellion that chilled the nation.
Thirty-two inmates were killed, all but four of whom were shot by state police and correction officers in the storming of the prison to take it back from prisoners. Eleven staff members were also killed.
“It is one part of our decision,” said Thomas Mungeer, president of the bargaining unit that negotiated contracts with the state. He said Cahill’s “vision of the office” is preferred over Schneiderman’s. Cahill said he wants to combat a rise in crime, after being part of a drop in crime during the Pataki administration. Cahill was Pataki’s top staffer at one time.
“I will say the Attica decision was one of those things where we did not see eye to eye,” Mungeer said. “That was one part of it, but not the whole part.”
“I do not support the release of any of those documents,” Cahill said. “There is a reason grand jury testimony should be sealed.”
"It is important, both for families directly affected and for future generations, that these historical documents be made available so the public can have a better understanding of what happened and how we can prevent future tragedies," Schneiderman said in October.
Schneiderman campaign spokesman Peter Ajemian said the Democrat has a strong relationship with law enforcement.
“From closing the gun show loophole to sponsoring gun buyback programs to equipping police officers with a lifesaving heroin antidote and bullet proof vests, Attorney General Schneiderman is using every tool at his disposal to support the dedicated men and women who put themselves in harm’s way every day to protect us,” Ajemian said.