Thursday, July 24, 2003

Man Convicted Of Biting Court Officer's Ear

A Queens man has been convicted of biting off part of a court officer's ear during a courtroom struggle.

A jury deliberated for less than three hours Wednesday before finding Gaeton Remy, 31, guilty in the October 2002 incident in Queens Criminal Court, according Queens District Attorney Richard Brown's office.

Officials said Remy, who had been on probation for beating his girlfriend, grew angry when Judge Stephen Knopf told him he had violated his parole and would be taken into custody.

During a struggle with officers trying to handcuff him, Remy bit down on Officer Patrick Glynn's ear with a ''sharp-edged gold metal denture,'' severing part of the lobe, prosecutors said.

Officials said it took 18 stitches to close Glynn's wound, and doctors did not reattach the outer piece. Two other court officers were injured in the melee.

After a three-day trial, Remy was convicted of first- and second-degree assault, aggravated assault upon a police officer or peace officer, criminal contempt in the second degree and several other charges.

He faces up to 25 years in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Aug. 15.

Now, I don't make this shit up!
Michael J. Moving on!


A city councilman known as a crusader against urban violence was shot to death inside City Hall on Wednesday by a political rival who bypassed security with a gun by walking into the building along with his victim.

A plainclothes police officer shot and killed the assailant, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. The gunman's ties to the councilman allowed him to bypass security, he added.

"Obviously, there was a breakdown someplace," said Bloomberg, who was yards away in his office at the time of the attack but unharmed. Bloomberg said that all officials, including himself, will now be required to go through the building's metal detectors.

Brooklyn Councilman James Davis, a former police officer and outspoken presence on the council, died from two gunshots to the chest as 14 bullets rattled across the landmark lower Manhattan building, authorities said.

The gunman, Othniel Askew, 31, died a short time later at a hospital, according to a police source. The two mortally wounded men were found lying side by side on the balcony overlooking the council chambers.

City Hall erupted in chaos after the shots were fired, when it was unclear whether the gunman had escaped. As shots echoed across the second floor of City Hall, people dove for cover beneath their desks and the rotunda filled with screams.

"It was so loud you couldn't hear the direction," said City Council photographer Dan Luhmann. "At first, it was absolute stillness. And then people rushed out and ducked under their desks and it was chaotic."

Police officers, including some in riot gear, swarmed nearby streets and sealed entrances and exits to the building as they searched for the gunman. The Brooklyn Bridge was shut down, and subway service was suspended at the City Hall station and nearby stations for about an hour.

Three hours before the shooting a man identifying himself as Askew called the FBI's New York office to allege that Davis was harassing him over the upcoming primary election, FBI spokesman Joe Valiquette said.

Askew had filed papers to oppose Davis in a three-way council race in this fall's Democratic primary, Bloomberg said. But he was not an official candidate because he had not filed enough petition signatures.

Davis spokeswoman Amyre Loomis said Davis and Askew were political opponents who had recently called a truce, and had met three times in recent weeks.

Both men arrived together Wednesday at City Hall, where Davis planned to introduce legislation on workplace violence, Councilman Charles Barron said.

Barron said Davis introduced him to Askew, saying, "This is the guy who was once against me, but now he's with me." Askew offered a firm handshake and an intense stare, Barron said.

A short time later, Barron stood staring into the balcony as the gunman shot down at Davis' prone body with a .40-caliber pistol.

"He wasn't shooting randomly," Barron said.

Davis, who was 41 and black, joined the police department in 1993, 10 years after he was beaten by two white officers, according to his Web site.

In 1991, Davis founded "Love Yourself Stop the Violence," a not-for-profit organization dedicated to stopping violence in urban America. He was elected in 2001, and was a minister.

The paths of Davis and Askew apparently crossed only recently. When asked about the potential rival in June, Davis was quoted as saying he had never heard of Askew.

A political flier distributed in Davis' district described Askew as an Air Force veteran and Brooklyn native. An Air Force spokeswoman could not immediately confirm that. The flier also listed a traditional agenda: smaller school classes, affordable housing, aid to small businesses, improved sanitation.

The shooter was one of about 100 people on the balcony inside the second-floor council chambers and was sitting near Davis when the gunfire erupted after 2 p.m, according to witnesses. The security officer, who was on the floor of the chamber, shot up at the gunman, striking him five times, said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

The councilman was carrying a licensed gun but never unholstered the weapon, Kelly said.

Security had been stepped up at City Hall since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Besides the installation of metal detectors, a uniformed police officer is posted at the gate.

Employees and police officers were not required to pass through metal detectors.

Sen. Hillary Clinton called the death of Davis, a man who devoted himself to law enforcement and stopping violence, "a tragic, terrible irony."

Davis' brother, Geoffrey, emerged from the hospital around 4:45 p.m.

"The system killed my brother," Davis said. "They knew that he would fight. We're going to keep fighting and do the right thing."

Late Wednesday night, hundreds of family members, friends and colleagues reflected on Davis' life during a memorial at Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Brooklyn.

"He was a man with a heart so big he just had to give more," said council Speaker Gifford Miller. "Even when he was busting my chops, he had a smile on his face, and I usually had a smile on mine."


James Davis biography (Source: Davis web site)

James E. Davis is the founder of "LOVE YOURSELF" Stop the Violence, a not-for-profit, voluntarily run organization dedicated to stopping violence in urban America. His mission in life is to rid violence from urban communities. He is the Councilmember for the 35th Councilmanic District. Mr. Davis won this office in the November 2001, General Elections. He is a Minister of the Gospel and the Democratic State Committeeman (Male District Leader) for the 43rd Assembly District. Mr. Davis won this political position in the September 2000 Democratic Primary.

James E. Davis was born on April 3, 1962. He graduated from Tilden High School in 1980 and from Pace University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

In 1989, Mr. Davis joined the New York City Corrections Department and was assigned to Rikers Island for two years. In 1991, he became a New York City Transit police officer. In 1993, he transferred to the New York City Police Department and upon graduation was assigned to the 73rd Precinct in Brooklyn. In 1993, after several months at the 73rd Precinct, Mr. Davis transferred to the Police Academy where he was a New York State certified Social Science instructor until 1998. He was the Youth Officer at the 69th Precinct in Canarsie, Brooklyn prior to his election to the City Council.

Mr. Davis has always been conscious of the plight in urban communities. In 1988, he was a volunteer for the NAACP's Brooklyn Chapter. In his personal time, Mr. Davis organizes Stop the Violence events where the focus of his message is self-love, self-respect, respect for our communities and partnership between communities and police departments across America. The Stop the Violence events are attended by thousands of community residents and featured notable guests like three-time heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Evander Holyfield, recording superstars Salt-N-Pepa, Michael Goldstein, the Chairman of Toys "R" Us and boxing promoter Don King.

In an effort to better serve the community Mr. Davis has been seeking political office which would put him in a position allocate the resources he feels will be the most beneficial to the community. In 1998 he ran for Assemblyman for the 43rd Assembly District. In the September Democratic Primary he almost beat the incumbent and Kings County chairman. He lost to the incumbent by 5% of the vote.

In the November 1998 General Election, Mr. Davis' name was erroneously placed on the ballot as a candidate for the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party had nominated Mr. Davis but he did not accept the Party's nomination. The day after November's General Election Mr. Davis was terminated from the NYPD who stated that he had violated a little known section of the City Charter which states that police officers must resign from their position within ten days of being designated a party nominee for political office.

The NYPD refused to reinstate Mr. Davis even after the Board of Elections and the Liberal Party indicated that Mr. Davis' name appeared on the ballot in error. Mr. Davis took his case to court and on January 18, 2000, in a historical court decision, the State Supreme Court ordered the NYPD to reinstate Mr. Davis with full back pay plus interest and all the benefits he would have received if he were an active police officer. The judge called Mr. Davis' termination a "manifest injustice".

In October 1994, Mr. Davis approached Toys "R" Us, the largest toy retailer in the world and successfully influenced the Company to stop selling "look alike" toy guns or guns that can be modified to look like a real weapon. This accomplishment was covered by local as well as national television and radio stations, and by various newspapers, including The New York Times who covered the story in their National Report section. This initiative was undertaken because in separate incidents, two children in the New York area were shot (one fatally) by police officers who mistook the toy guns they were playing with for real weapons.

In the latter part of October 1994, James E. Davis challenged MTV's daytime/evening music format. He aggressively campaigned against the cable station for broadcasting music videos with violent images, and/or degrading lyrics between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. This challenge was undertaken because he believes that song lyrics that glorify violence have consciously, and subconsciously, influenced some of the youth of America to commit violent acts. Since this campaign, MTV publicly announced that they have made a positive change regarding the broadcasting of music videos.

The Washington Post, The New York Daily News, the New York Post, other local newspapers and the March '95 edition of Right On magazine have also featured articles on James E. Davis. In addition, Mr. Davis has had television appearances on Denise Richardson's Show on Talk Channel, FOX's Good Day New York and on Street Soldiers, hosted by Lisa Sliwa of radio station Hot 97.

He also appeared on CBS' nationally aired Last Call show opposite rap group Wu Tang Clan, as well as Ed Lover and Dr. De who were the hosts of the morning show on Hot 97 radio station. Mr. Davis has also been featured on Bob Salter's show on FAN radio in New York, the Gill Gross radio show which is aired nationally, WABC, WCBS, KISS FM, WNEW, CD 101.9, WOR and on radio stations outside of the New York area.

James E. Davis has also appeared on various talk shows to provide insight on urban America. He has been a guest speaker on CNN where he discussed issues relating to law enforcement. Since his first appearance, CNN has invited him back time and again to offer his insightful wisdom on law enforcement in America today. James E. Davis has also been a guest on cable network programs on USA Live, NewsTalk, CNBC and MSNBC.

He has appeared on nationally syndicated programs such as Rivera Live, The Montel Williams Show, The Maury Povich Show, Leeza, Rolonda, The Mark Walberg Show, The Charles Perez Show, The Gordon Elliot Show and the New York based McCreary Report. Mr. Davis has been outspoken about police brutality and its affects on the relationships between communities and police departments. He has appeared on cable stations MSNBC and BET (Black Entertainment Television) to address this issue.

In recognition of his hard work and dedication to stopping violence in urban America, CBS television in New York honored James E. Davis in 1995, as one of today's heroes who exemplify the spirit and dedication of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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