Great Neck Estates police chief says protest ‘went off without a hitch’

The Island Now

By Isabel Soisson

A demonstration in the Village of Great Neck Estates to protest the death of a Minneapolis man in police custody was peaceful and “went off without a hitch,” Police Chief Ricardo Moreno said Monday.

He spoke at a Board of Trustees meeting held via Zoom.

The Minneapolis man, George Floyd, died during an arrest on May 25 when a police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. His death has sparked protests across the United States and abroad.

Moreno said about 700 people attended the protest in the village on Sunday and that for the most part it was peaceful. He expressed gratitude toward the citizens who participated for this and said that police from other departments were there to help ensure things stayed safe.

“We had a lot of backup in case things got out of hand,” he said. “We had all 14 officers on duty, everyone was there, and we also had an additional 40 cops from different villages, the county. The state was going to send some other guys but I told them we didn’t really need them – things were pretty much under control.”

“In the end it was a perfect set-up, a perfect scenario, it went off without a hitch. It was good,” Chief Moreno said. “We were prepared for anything – it was a peaceful day.”

Shortly after, Mayor William Warner said that the original plan for the march was to stop at the Board of Trustees’ headquarters, which he called “nerve-racking.” Ultimately though, the protesters marched right by without hesitation.

Discussion then moved on to a proposal to install an outdoor shower at the community pool. The board agreed that pool season will most likely be happening, but with social distancing guidelines in place. In the spirit of this, the board believes installation of an outdoor shower could help reduce the number of people showering in one place after swimming.

Although the proposal and request for funds had already been drawn up, village Attorney A. Thomas Levin expressed concern about the name of the company installing the shower. He said that there was a discrepancy between the name presented on the documents and the company’s legal name. In the end, however, the board voted to approve the installation and allotted $5,389 to purchase the shower.

Mayor Warner’s report consisted of the board approving almost all the of items quickly, except for updating the Harris Computer Systems software maintenance agreement. Levin expressed concern about some of the language in the agreement and wanted to take more time to review the documents. This menu item was moved to the next meeting’s agenda.

One action the board took was to raise sewer collection fees from $10 to $25.

Building inspector Barbara Dziorney also spoke about the Building Department, where projects had slowed significantly due to the spread of the coronavirus.  “Things are definitely picking up,” she said.

In addition, the board authorized a request from the Public Works Department for $2,750 for tree removal and pruning performed by Old Village Tree Service LLC.



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