Criminal justice advocates are releasing a new television ad criticizing Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder for what they call “misleading the public” about New York’s new criminal justice policies and the death of a homeless man.
New Yorkers United for Justice said the ad is intended to combat erroneous statements Ryder made that suggested a link between the death of Wilmer Maldonado Rodriguez to the state’s new discovery law, which requires prosecutors to more quickly share with defense attorney evidence that will be used in a trial.
Rodriguez, who was found dead Feb. 2, had been preparing to testify in a case against MS-13 gang members. Ryder had said pretrial information had been released prematurely and called for amending the law. But the commissioner later acknowledged there was no link between the murder and the law.
Ryder’s “disregard for the truth was reckless, irresponsible and exactly why criminal justice reforms are needed — to protect the rights of innocent people,” the ad narrator says. “It’s time to stop the fear and misinformation.”
The advocates said the ad will run for at least two weeks on TV and online on Long Island and in Albany.
"Our diverse coalition supports the men and women in uniform who work hard to keep us safe, but when public officials like Commissioner Ryder mislead New Yorkers to score political points, they will be held accountable,” Khalil Cumberbatch, chief strategist for New Yorkers United for Justice, said in a statement.
A spokesman for Nassau police emailed a statement from Ryder saying: “With regard to the Wilmer Maldonado Rodriquez case, I never stated that there was a direct link between his death and that of justice reform. I did state that I will provide the fact pattern and let everyone make their own conclusion.”