“I didn’t see anything, anything at all wrong with that,” Buffalo Police Benevolent Association President John Evans said.
“You can’t be on duty first and foremost,” Evans said. “As well, it’s my understanding you can’t be in uniform and again I watched the commercial. None of them were in uniform, but they were in second front garb or gear that you would wear if you worked in a security second front job or post like that.”
“The only way to do that is to cut bodies, to lay off manpower,” he said.
The Brown campaign called the complaint a distraction and said they have no validity. Democratic primary winner India Walton’s campaign took no official stance on the complaint but said the central premise of the advertisement — that she would fire 100 officers — is untrue, pointing to a Partnership for the Public Good study that shows millions can be shifted from the police budget to evidence-based public safety programs without a single layoff.
The complaint alleges the ad may be violating federal and New York State law, the city Code of Ethics and Buffalo Police rules and regulations by featuring 19 or more people identified as real Buffalo police officers. The complainants argue among other things potential wrongdoing by the mayor, the police commissioner and officers by using the officers’ official positions to benefit Byron Brown in a political capacity.
Evans said while the union supports Brown, the officers in the commercial chose to do so without the input of PBA. He said they’re within their right to do so though as long as they follow several rules.
Walton’s campaign is asking the city ethics board to issue a written opinion and recommend disciplinary action if it finds any violations.