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Advocates slam DA candidate Murray for snubbing debate

One week from Tuesday, Nassau voters choose between

One week from Tuesday, Nassau voters choose between Madeline Singas (left) and Kate Murray for district attorney,. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Advocates for Nassau County’s minority communities on Monday criticized Republican district attorney candidate Kate Murray for not accepting their invitation to attend a debate centered on issues including racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

Members of attorney Fred Brewington’s The Corridor Counts, a Hempstead-based community advocacy group, and the social justice organization New York Communities for Change stood in front of Murray’s empty campaign office in Garden City to announce that they sought for more than a month to have both district attorney candidates attend an event they planned – but that only Democrat Madeline Singas committed.

While the event, titled “Community Forum on Policing & Justice,” is scheduled for Thursday night at the Hempstead Public Library, Brewington said organizers gave Murray’s campaign her choice of dates to ensure her attendance.

Murray and Singas, the acting district attorney, have already participated in one debate and are scheduled to attend another, hosted by the League of Women’s Voters, later this week.

Brewington, however, said the advocates’ event would be focused on issues of concern to communities of color that may not receive comprehensive coverage at the more-general debates.

“When you said no,” Brewington said, as if addressing Murray, the Hempstead Town supervisor, “you turned your back on” the largely minority communities of Hempstead, Freeport, Uniondale, Roosevelt, Westbury and Lakeview.

Speakers at Monday’s news conference repeatedly chanted “we have questions,” arguing that Murray should explain her stances on issues including how she would work with communities of color to ensure fair treatment. The advocates cited Murray’s touting of a “clean sweep” of law enforcement union endorsements as they wondered how she would handle allegations of police misconduct.

Murray has said she will fairly and thoroughly investigate all complaints.

“If you say that you care, come answer our questions,” said Mimi Pierre Johnson of New York Communities for Change.

Murray campaign spokesman Bill Corbett responded to the advocates by saying Murray’s “demanding campaign schedule has not provided for a mutually convenient date at this time, but she looks forward to meeting with the organization’s members in the near future.”

“Supervisor Kate Murray would be delighted to add New York Communities for Change to her busy calendar of debates and speaking engagements,” Corbett said.

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