New York City Council member Charles Barron is demanding an investigation following death threats made against him on a website frequented by police officers. The site contains a message board called “NYPD Rant” in which two posts called for Barron to be shot in the head. Barron says he believes the posters are in fact members of the NYPD, and that the website should be shut down.
Coming to Barron’s support is the group 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, who are calling for charges to be filed in the case. “We demand that these individuals are identified, arrested and prosecuted, and if they are found to be members of the law enforcement community they should be immediately terminated,” said Marq Claxton of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement. Members of the group are filing a complaint with the police department’s Internal Affairs. The NYPD says they are looking into the case. (NY1, June 4)
The threats come after a heated Council debate over a proposal to rename a section of Brooklyn’s Gates Ave. after the late Black nationalist community leader Sonny Abubadika Carson. Barron, a former Black Panther, led the campaign for the street renaming. The 51-member Council rejected the proposal by a 25-to-15 vote May 30. (Gothamist, Amsterdam News, May 31)
After the vote, Barron’s chief of staff Viola Plummer assailed Queens Councilman Leroy Comrie, one of the Black members who abstained on the proposal, saying, “If it takes an assassination of his ass, he will not be borough president of the borough in which I live.” Comrie was assigned police protection on the way home. But Barron dismissed the affair as an “absurd” joke, saying: “He knows Viola. She said his political life is over. He didn’t need any police protection. That’s silly.” The New York Post ran an editorial June 2 entitled “‘Assassination’: No Joke.” We shall see if they are will be as concerned about the far less ambiguous death threats now levelled against Barron.
A New York City Council member was assassinated as recently as July 2003.