(The weapons on display, Newsday has a better image)
UPDATE: Additional photo below
Newsday has an unbelievable story from election day. Not the Democratic Party’s sweep of the City Council, but allegations of voter intimidation by a detective in the Long Beach Police Department. Read the whole story here
As Newsday says:
Ruth Bernstein, a local Democratic lawyer who was monitoring the polling site for the party in the early evening last Tuesday, said she considered the appearance of Det. Sgt. Howard Domitz, holding a long gun in each hand, an “intimidation” effort aimed at driving away minority voters.
As you can see in the above picture, the event absolutely happened, but the details are far more complicated. It seems the guns were actually “a pellet rifle and a disabled shotgun” recovered from the West End raid. Further, the City argues the guns were on public display for “less than two minutes.”
City Manager Charles Theofan said when asked by Newsday that “It was probably not a good idea to do that on a busy day with people around.”
Lt. James Canner, the LB chief of detectives, wrote that “No one was reprimanded because this is the course of normal business around a Police station.”
The Nassau County District Attorney’s office is actively investigating the complaint, but declined to say more.
So what do we have here? A situation where the property room was just so over-following with weapons, that a detective decided to bring them out to his boss, who was outside in front of City Hall, which is also police HQ, and a polling place, on election day to ask “what do I do with them?”
A detective managing the property room’s inventory? I’m not even sure what kind of question “what do I do with them” is. They were evidence of the loan-sharking and drugs raid from the previous week. Shouldn’t they just stay sitting in the property? Why wouldn’t you call your boss to the property room to answer a question like that? Of course, all speculation.
Sounds more like a case of “oh check out these cool toys we got.” That qualifies this as an instance of the worst possible judgment to have on election day, or as I call it, “bozo the clown” syndrome.
There’s of course the subject of this complaint which alleges voter intimidation. Ms. Bernstein argues they were brandishing the weapons outside City Hall to basically scare off minority voters. Now if something like that was actually the intent, we’re dealing with some very nasty Jim Crow style voter intimidation.
So what do you think: was Bozo the Clown or Jim Crow out front of City Hall on election day?
Another reader sent in this photo (I love camera phones):