Saturday, June 2, 2007

CITY COUNCIL CLASH


Viola Plummer, chief of staff of Brooklyn councilman Charles Barron, called for the assassination of black city councilman Leroy Comrie this week due to his abstention from voting on a controversial amendment to rename a Brooklyn street after Black activist, Sonny Carson. In 1984, Plummer was involved with a group that was well prepared for the work. In October of 1984, nine New Afrikan freedom fighters were surrounded and arrested by over 400 New York City police officers and federal agents. The eight who eventually stood trial became known as "The New York Eight." Police found sawed-off shotguns, sub-machine guns, dynamite bombs, and bank blueprints in the apartment of ringleader Randolph Simms (Coltrane Chimurenga). The New York Eight were charged with conspiring to free black activists Kuwasi Balagoon and Sekou Odinga. Balagoon was imprisoned for participating in a 1981 robbery of a Brinks armored car, which resulted in the death of two police officers and a guard. Odinga was convicted of conspiring to commit the same robbery. The prosecution also alleged that the New York Eight planned to rob banks in order to finance their activities.

The prosecution described the New York Eight as "a highly organized, dedicated cell of armed bandits. ... Their goal: robbery of armored trucks and liberating their confederates from prison." (quoted in the Associated Press, 10/22/84) The jury, however, saw things differently, and acquitted all 8 defendants of conspiring to free Balagoon and Odinga and to commit grand larceny. Coltrane Chimurenga, Roger Wareham, Robert Taylor, Yvette Kelley, Ruth Carter and Clay Omowale were all convicted of possessing illegal weapons, and VIOLA PLUMMER was convicted of falsely identifying herself to the police. All seven were sentenced to community service. The eighth defendent, Jose Rios, was acquitted of all charges.


Plummer's heckling of city council speaker Christine Quinn was uncalled for. But, her call to "assassinate Leroy Comrie's ass" was beyond the boundary of political radicalism. Barron, known for his sixties, black power approach did nothing to soften the rhetoric. In an attempt to fill the grassroots vacuum vacated by the now "respectable" Al Sharpton, Barron has opened a racial chasm. His tacky appeal to a return to the segregationist sixties is as outdated as his Nehru style jacket. In a city that is a microcosm of the world, the obligation of a politician is to find a common denominator amongst his constituents. And although Quinn overstepped her bounds in denying the "will of the people", Barron and company overstepped theirs by stooping to street level conduct.
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