Gonzalez To Report $750,000 War Chest For DA’s Race
Interim Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez is poised to report about $750,000 raised when the first state filing reports come out on Tuesday, according to political aide of Gonzalez.
The report will list a lot of major labor unions, political figures and a broad swap of the legal community, showing a lot of people are supporting him and coalescing behind his candidacy, said the aid.
If the aid’s leak holds true, the massive amount of money raised could put pressure on several other candidates for the open District Attorney’s seat to think twice about running. The late Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson appointed Gonzalez as the acting DA last October, just days before he stepped down in the final days of his fatal cancer illness.
If elected, Gonzalez, a lifelong Brooklynite who has spent his entire professional career as a prosecutor, will become the borough’s first Hispanic DA.
Schumer Opposes Confirmation Of Sessions As Attorney General
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer yesterday announced he will oppose the Senate’s upcoming vote to confirm Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala) as Attorney General.
“Senator Jeff Sessions is a colleague and a friend. We have worked closely together on a number of different issues, particularly trade, over our years of service in the Senate together,” said Schumer.
“The Attorney General of the United States has a sacred obligation to enforce our laws and uphold the constitution. The law gives a voice to the voiceless, it protects the oppressed from the powerful, and it defends the rights of all people, regardless of gender, sexuality, or religion. The Attorney General must wake up every single day ensuring the rights of all Americans: immigrants, minorities, young and old, gay and straight, disabled and not are protected. Every right – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the freedom to vote, or any other enshrined in our Constitution or the law – must be protected for every American.
“The Attorney General is also tasked with ensuring that the President and the Administration follow the law, pursuing policies that adhere to American values and ideals, and serving as a check to ensure the President is not above the law. If the President violates the law, it is incumbent on the Attorney General to hold him or her accountable.
“After reviewing his record and giving careful consideration to his answers during the hearing, I am not confident in Senator Sessions’ ability to be a defender of the rights of all Americans, or to serve as an independent check on the incoming administration. I am also deeply concerned by his views on immigration, which I saw firsthand during the push for comprehensive immigration reform. For those reasons, I will oppose his nomination to serve as the next Attorney General.”
Jeffries Leads Call For Federal Prosecution Of Cop Involved In Garner Death
U.S. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (Central Brooklyn) yesterday led a call yesterday for U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to prosecute the culprit in the killing of Eric Garner, an unarmed father of six who was choked to death by an NYPD officer in Staten Island with a checkered past.
The July 2014 death of Garner was captured on a cell phone and made national headlines as police subdued him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes with NYPD Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo by placing him in a chokehold and his dying words being, “I can’t breathe.”
Also signing onto the letter to Lynch asking for the prosecution were Brooklyn colleague Congress Members Nydia Velazquez, Jerrold Nadler and Yvette Clarke and several other City Congress members.
The letter states, in part:
“While the DOJ began its own inquiry following the state grand jury’s abdication of responsibility, over the past two years it has not been completed. When a police officer crosses the line and violates the civil rights of a citizen, particularly one who is unarmed, there must be accountability in the criminal justice system. Often, that does not occur. In this instance, given the strong videotaped evidence, failure to act would be a miscarriage of justice.”
“At minimum, this case should be tried and considered by a jury of Officer Pantaleo’s peers. In approximately two weeks, there will be a new DOJ less committed to civil rights enforcement. Consequently, the investigation into Mr. Garner’s death may itself be suffocated and die. The result is not only unacceptable for Mr. Garner and his family, but for all communities where the use of excessive force and overly aggressive policing tactics threaten life and liberty. Accordingly, we respectfully request that a final prosecutorial decision be made prior to the arrival of the new administration.”
Donovan Announces Passage Of Weather Research Bill
Congressman Dan Donovan (South Brooklyn, Staten Island) NY-11) yesterday announced the House passage of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017 to improve the prediction of high impact weather and storms. T
he bill, which passed with strong bipartisan support, advances the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) storm forecasting capabilities, which will allow for more accurate, real-time storm predictions and warnings.
“Four years ago, Superstorm Sandy devastated our city and claimed dozens of lives. This bill will improve the NOAA’s forecasting capabilities to help ensure that families and communities have the information they need to properly prepare for dangerous storms. Congress cannot control the weather, but we can help ensure that agencies have the resources they need to protect Americans,” said Donovan.
More specifically, this legislation directs the NOAA to prioritize weather research and use of innovative technologies to more accurately predict when and where a storm will hit. Additionally, the bill enhances coordination among various government agencies to improve the exchange of weather data, which will help researchers more effectively communicate warnings about severe storms to the public, said Donovan.
The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration.
Dilan On North Hope Gardens Heroin Bust
Senator Martin Malavé Dilan (Bushwick, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Cypress Hills, City-Line, East New York, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville) yesterday issued the following statement in regards to the recent NYPD Brooklyn North Hope Gardens heroin raid, which netted 21 alleged dealers of the heroin, crack and other drugs.
“The amount of narcotics discovered at Hope Gardens yesterday, and the extent of the criminal enterprise, are troubling. It not only affirms the pervasiveness of heroin in New York but the extent of which it has spread throughout our community.
“It’s clear our best hope to curb this epidemic rests with community. I commend the residents of Hope Gardens for their resolve and thank the NYPD North Brooklyn division for their diligence. Together, they have rid the streets and Hope Gardens of dangerous people, and spared many families the pain and suffering that heroin addiction brings.
“Our focus must now turn to the many victims of this and other heroin enterprises. If you or a loved one have been impacted by heroin abuse, there are many new measures and resources the state provides that can help you combat this epidemic. As a friend, relative or someone who cares, please take the opportunity to learn how you can help, because you can make an impact.
“Visit combatheroin.ny.gov to learn about the many resources my colleagues and I have made available to help improve heroin prevention, treatment, and recovery.”
Espinal Legislation Would Protect Consumers At Non-Bank ATMs
City Council Member Rafael Espinal Jr. (Bushwick, East New York), Chair of the Council’s Committee on Consumer Affairs, yesterday held a hearing to discuss legislation aimed at protecting consumers who use non-bank Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).
While ATMs allow consumers convenient access to their money, only bank-owned ATMs are regulated by state and federal law, which ensures they are safe, well-lit and continuously monitored. On the other hand, non-bank ATMs found in grocery stores, bodegas, gas stations, and other commercial establishments are relatively unregulated by state and federal law and are a common target for identity theft.
Nonbank ATMs are particularly vulnerable to “ATM skimming,” a common form of theft that uses small electronic deceives that can be easily attached to ATMs. These devices capture both the tracking information of the debit card and the Personal Identification Number (PIN) associated with the account, allowing thieves to access this vital information remotely; often without the victim’s’ knowledge. Additionally, non-bank ATMS are highly concentrated in low-income communities where bank institutions are scarce; making these communities more susceptible to such scams and thefts. Current law does not mandate safety measures for non-bank ATMs.
Thus Espinal sponsored a bill that would require merchants and distributors that provide non-bank ATMs to ensure certain security measures at non-bank ATMs, such as:
Surveillance cameras, adequate lighting and periodic inspection for skimming devices;
Surveillance video from camera must be preserved for at least 60 days;
Periodic inspection of skimming device must be performed once per 24 hour period;
If any skimming devices are found on ATMs, merchants must to report it immediately to the local NYPD Precinct
“Consumers in all communities must be safe when accessing their hard-earned dollars at any given ATM,” said Espinal. “With identity theft on the rise and hard financial times affecting many struggling families, NYC must act swiftly to protect consumers, particularly those in low-income communities who often do not have traditional banking institutions nearby. These commonsense measures will bring nonbank ATMs into compliance with the state and federal laws that ensure safety for bank-owned ATMs and will provide much-needed peace of mind for New Yorker’s everywhere.”
Cornegy Names New Communications Director
City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr. (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) this week announced Simone Joye will serve as his new Director of Communications.
Joye will head up Cornegy’s communication team and will oversee press activity and ensuring consistent and timely communications with District 36 constituents.
Native New Yorker, Joye began her journalism career with the Wall St Journal/Dow Jones & Company and the Brooklyn-weekly, the City Sun. She is a previous board member for the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).
“Simone brings a unique combination of extensive media communications and marketing skills, political experience, substantial work experience in the non-profit sector, a high degree of professionalism and a can-do attitude that make her ideally suited to lead my communications efforts,” said Cornegy.
Joye can be reached at (212) 482-6676 or via email at [email protected].