Bruce Blakeman calls on Delia DeRiggi-Whitton to resign

County executive accuses minority leader of antisemitism


County Executive Bruce Blakeman demanded today that Nassau County Minority Leader Delia DeRiggi-Whitton resign. Blakeman, a Republican of the Jewish faith, accused DeRiggi-Whitton, a Democrat, at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center during a news conference, of making antisemitic remarks against him. The news conference had been organized to discuss the county’s new provisional special deputy program.

DeRiggi-Whitton had told another news outlet that she received an email from a Jewish Massapequa resident saying they were horrified by Blakeman’s decision to recruit armed special deputies to serve in emergencies. There is no need to use untrained individuals, the resident wrote, because it would be at cross-purposes with well organized and trained Nassau County Police and the National Guard. And doing so, the resident continued, would smack of brownshirts, a paramilitary wing of the early Nazi Party.

The email prompted DeRiggi-Whitton to say, “I’ve had some people tell me it’s actually causing them a lot of anxiety. It reminds them not only of the Wild West but of times in Europe with uncertainty. There was something called the brownshirts, which was basically having civilians all of a sudden become part of law enforcement without the training.”

Blakemen was outraged that he and the proposed deputies were equated with brownshirts, which were founded in 1921 and led attacks against Jewish people and other minority groups and businesses. According to Blakeman, the 100 applicants who have applied for the deputy program thus far are veterans and first responders who already have training in weapon use. Even so, Blakeman said they would undergo additional training.

-Additional reporting by Roksana Amid