Tracy Mitrano J.D. ’95 said she has always supported law enforcement, and she issued a cease and desist letter to prove it.
Mitrano, vying for New York’s 23rd Congressional District, sent the letter to her opponent, Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), in response to a political ad on local TV stations across the district, according to a Thursday press release in which the Mitrano campaign called the ad “patently false.”
The ad, which the Reed campaign posted on YouTube Sept. 11, calls Mitrano a “radical politician” who “wants to defund our police.” Over video footage of fires, looting and violence, a voice-over states that politicians like Mitrano back plans that “put our communities at risk.” In a press conference Thursday, Mitrano called the ad “a lie.”
“I am for funding law enforcement to be sure they can accomplish their mission of serving and protecting the public,” she said.
Attempting to demonstrate evidence of her support for law enforcement, she cited her family members’ roles in the military and police, including two stepsons who are sheriff’s deputies in the district and a cousin who works for the New York City Police Department.
Matt Coker, senior adviser for the Reed campaign, wrote in an email to The Sun that “voters can’t trust Tracy to keep them safe” and cited a June 11 Facebook post by Mitrano that showed her “radical efforts to cut police funding.”
“Tracy is trying to deflect from her dangerous record on law and order,” Coker continued.
On June 11, the Mitrano campaign posted on Facebook, less than three weeks after the death of George Floyd, in support of the Justice in Policing Act, legislation that could, among other reforms, ban chokeholds and racial profiling by law enforcement.
In a press release sent on the same day, Mitrano said, “I am not for the defunding movement.”
In Thursday’s press release, she said some matters “should be handled by social workers with specialized training,” rather than law enforcement.
Her stance differs from that of the Black Lives Matter movement, which Mitrano has claimed to support. The official BLM organization started the hashtag #DefundThePolice on May 30, calling instead for re-investments in housing, healthcare and education.
The Mitrano campaign did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.
In an interview with The Sun in August, Mitrano affirmed her support for Black Lives Matter, referring to her attendance at dozens of protests across the congressional district throughout the summer.
Reed did not vote for the Justice in Policing Act. In a September interview with The Sun, the congressman said he supported some components of the bill, but two provisions — the removal of qualified immunity and a proposed amendment to Title 18, Section 242 of the federal code that would lower the threshold required to convict law enforcement officers of misconduct — were the reason for his “nay” vote.
He joined the “Defund Cities that Defund Police Act,” which was introduced in July. This bill was never voted on by either chamber.
Mitrano and Reed are scheduled to debate one week before Election Day on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. on NBC affiliate station WETM.