Long Island hasn’t been able to escape the national spotlight in the past week, and it’s increasingly feeling like the harsh glare of an interrogator’s fiercely directed lamp.
First, there was “The Mooch,” then there was President Donald Trump’s speech, and now there is the aftermath.
Monday night, “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah did a 5-minute-plus bit centered on Suffolk County. It started with Trump’s visit to Brentwood Friday to talk about gang violence and law enforcement and moved to Suffolk County police officers applauding when he encouraged them to be physically harsh with suspects when putting them in “paddy wagons.” But it ended with Noah highlighting Suffolk’s favorite poster child for institutionalized police brutality, former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke, who is serving four years in federal prison for beating up a man who broke into his SUV in 2012.
Burke assaulted and threatened to kill Christopher Loeb after the opioid addict was accused of stealing a duffel bag full of sex toys and police equipment. A cover-up among other Suffolk officers ensued, suggesting an institutional problem. And the case went federal at least partially because the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, where Burke was for years the top investigator, never prosecuted.
After Trump’s speech and the audience response, the Suffolk County Police Department issued a statement that said, “We do not and will not tolerate roughing up prisoners.”
That won’t be as memorable as Noah’s sex toy-laced comedy . . . or the response of the Suffolk officers to Trump’s routine.