Photo: Brigitte Stelzer; Getty Images
By Michael Gartland
July 24, 2016
A prominent LGBT political club is demanding City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Democratic Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer step down from their leadership posts for refusing to bring a set of proposed police restrictions to a vote.
“We’re calling on them to give up their leadership positions because they abused them,” said Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club. “The club supported Melissa becoming speaker so we’re extremely disappointed. We feel betrayed.”
The controversial bills — which are widely supported in the City Council and known as the Right to Know Act — would require cops to identify themselves to those they stop and inform them of their right to refuse a pat-down without probable cause.
Roskoff, who shared a jail cell with Van Bramer in 2000 after being arrested for protesting the St. Patrick’s Day parade, said Mark-Viverito’s decision not to bring the bills to a vote “clouds her political future.”
Mark-Viverito informed fellow Council members two weeks ago that instead of voting on the measures, they would be handled internally by the NYPD.
The following week, the Owles club, whose board of governors include bold-faced names like actors Alan Cumming and Kathryn Erbe, voted to demand Mark-Viverito and Van Bramer step down.
Mark-Viverito spokesman Eric Koch derided the move.
“This City Council has been the most progressive in New York City’s history,” he said. “Anyone who suggests otherwise is making petty political arguments which don’t stand up to basic scrutiny.”