MAHN Lawmakers On The Move June 18, 2019

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Espaillat Recognizes 4th Anniversary of Mother Emanuel Church Shooting

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

Congressmember Adriano Espaillat (D-Washington Heights, Sugar Hill) yesterday recognized the fourth anniversary of the tragic Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church Shooting.

Monday marked four years since nine members of historic black church were shot to death by a white supremacist in Charleston, S.C., setting off a national debate about gun violence. The police said at the time that the gunman, Dylann Roof, walked into the church around 9 p.m. on June 17th and began shooting.  

“Mother Emanuel is the oldest African Methodist Church in the southern U.S. and is a landmark of the Civil Rights movement. We memorialize and honor South Carolina State Senator and senior pastor Clementa C. Pinckney and each of the individuals murdered during a tragedy that shocked our nation,” said Espaillat.

“Today, we join friends, family and loved ones of the victims and survivors to celebrate their lives. Hate never wins and we stand united today and every day in our efforts to fight racism, bigotry and hate and bring forth comprehensive gun reform once and for all,” added Espaillat.

PA Williams Denounces MAHN DA’s Refusal To Act On Central Park Five Case

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams yesterday denounced Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance‘s refusal to take further action regarding injustice in the Central Park Five case.

Williams joined a rally Monday night to demand Vance investigate past cases overseen by the former New York prosecutor who worked on the Central Park Five case, Linda Fairstein. The group is also calling for the removal of Elizabeth Lederer from her post as a professor at Columbia Law. As of last Thursday, Lederer had resigned from her post following after a student petition insisted on her termination.

The Central Park Five, are a group of black and Latino male teenagers who were wrongly convicted of raping and nearly killing a white women in Central Park in 1989 (Central Park Jogger Case). The police arrested five boys between the ages of fourteen and sixteen for allegedly raping and beating Trisha Meili, a jogger in the park. The boys’ attorneys maintained that they were coerced into giving false statements, but they were found guilty of robbery, assault, rape and riot. The black and latino teens were sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, AM New York reported. In 2002 after Matias Reyes confessed to raping and beating Meili. The city paid $41 million to the Central Park Five in 2014 to settle their civil rights lawsuit, according to the New York Times.

The case has gained national attention again following the release of “When They See Us” on Netflix. The film is a 4-part series on the case produced and created by Ava DuVernay.

“As Dr. Martin Luther King  Jr. said, ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’ Here, District Attorney Vance is even denying justice has been delayed. He acknowledges the systemic injustice and human tragedy of wrongful convictions, but will not take action that could unearth and correct them, particularly in cases where no DNA evidence was present. This is incomprehensible and unacceptable. It shouldn’t take another 30 years for us to find out why the District Attorney refuses to help correct these injustices of the past,” said Williams.

“Calls for action on behalf of clear injustice will not let up. We will not go away,” added Williams.

Gottfried, Advocates To Rally For Passage of Gottfried Human Trafficking Bill

Richard N. Gottfried
Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried

Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (D-Chelsea, Midtown) and State Senator Jessica Ramos (D-Queens) will join advocates today in Albany to rally for passage of S4981a, a bill that will provide record relief for victims of human trafficking.

The Assembly version of S4981a, A6983a, carried by Assembly Member Gottfried, passed the Assembly on June 13th, and now must pass the Senate and be signed by the Governor to provide record relief for survivors.

Legislators will highlight the urgent need to pass S4981a, especially for immigrant survivors, who cannot access documentation or asylum with criminal records from crimes their traffickers compelled them to commit. Testimony will be shared from survivors for whom this bill would be life changing.

The event is slated for 11 a.m., Today, June 18, at the Million Dollar Staircase in Albany.

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