Numerous police unions are backing one candidate’s bid to unseat incumbent Councilmember Mark Weprin.
Joseph Concannon, a retired police captain from Bellerose, announced his run for City Council on August 8 — with the full support of several law enforcement groups, including the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA).
“I can assure you I will never risk the safety and security of one New York City citizen at any time at all,” Concannon said.
The PBA pledged in June to invest its full resources to target councilmembers, including Weprin, who voted in favor of the Community Safety Act. The union distributed anti-Weprin leaflets in Bayside in July.
“No councilmember who puts this city at risk will have a free ride in the next election,” PBA president Patrick Lynch said.
Two oversight bills in the act would create an inspector general to oversee the NYPD and allow individuals to sue the city in state court over the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices.
The PBA and Concannon said the bills would increase crime and handcuff police.
“I didn’t pick this fight. I didn’t ask for this challenge,” Concannon said. “I’m afraid that Mark Weprin and all the members have come to this with a very faint heart. They don’t understand the reach of this bill and what it will do to police officers we send out into the street.”
Concannon is planning to make the Reform Party line. He ran for State Senate as a Republican last year and lost to incumbent Tony Avella.
The Detectives Endowment Association, Lieutenants Benevolent Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association and Captains Endowment Association have also endorsed his candidacy.
Weprin stood by his vote, saying the bills would keep the city safe without leading to an increase in lawsuits since there is no monetary incentive.
“Everyone has the right to run,” he said. “I know Joe a little bit. I respect his service to our country and city. I just think that the law is in the best interest of New York City.”
If Concannon collects the 450 petition signatures he needs to make the ballot by August 20, he will face off with Weprin in the November general election.
“The voters will decide in the election,” Weprin said. “Having no opponent would be better, but this is democracy and democracy will run its course.”