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Mayor scolds Bronx again

May 27, 1996

Perhaps because his offer to personally prosecute the Bronx man whose actions, authorities say, led to the death of a city cop did not make the front page of any newspaper, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani made the offer a second time at a City Hall news conference Friday.

It was not immediately clear whether Giuliani was actually offering to leave Gracie Mansion and establish residency in the Bronx so he could run for district attorney there or merely seeking to be appointed special prosecutor under Bronx D.A. Robert T. Johnson. That way, he could obtain a respite from the mayoral tedium of forever ordering about Police Commissioner Howard Safir.

Safir attended the first of the mayor's two Bronx-related news conferences and, of course, seconded the mayor's call: that Anthony Rivers be indicted for second-degree murder in the death of police officer Vincent Guidice. The officer, answering a domestic violence call, suffered a deep gash to his leg on a mirror shard after struggling with Rivers. After treatment at Jaccobi Medical Center, Guidice died from a loss of blood. Johnson, to Giuliani's public outrage, had indicted Rivers only on the lesser count of manslaughter. Safir was not present at the second news conference when Giuliani referred to critics of his legal acumen as "academic idiots who . . . don't know what they are talking about."

Those who witnessed the mayor's performance say he appeared to be suffering from what New York Times editorial writer Gail Collins first discovered in 1988 during the trial of Larry Davis as "the Bronx curse." What this means, she explained, is that when anything horrendous occurs, it occurs worse in the Bronx.

Davis, for example, was charged with shooting six cops, and was subsequently acquitted when William Kunstler convinced a Bronx jury that Davis had acted in self-defense. So far as is known, Giuliani, then U.S. attorney for the Southern District, which covers the Bronx, had never offered to personally prosecute Davis.

What may have unhinged Giuliani last week was the Bronx curse revisited. While Giuliani has railed against others to beat the band, nothing quite matched last week's bellicosity, which was set off when Bronx D.A. Johnson pointed out that by overcharging Rivers with second-degree murder in the hopes of effecting a plea bargain, as Giuliani suggested, Giuliani would be acting unethically. Giuliani is said to be very sensitive about his "integrity."

Longtime Rudy watchers recalled that Giuliani reacted with nearly equal vehemence back in 1988 when his integrity was questioned by Johnson's predecessor, Paul Gentile. Then, during a tough election campaign, Printable versionGentile charged Giuliani with failing to investigate charges that Gentile's opponent for the Democratic nomination was connected to organized crime. Giuliani reacted by calling for Gentile's resignation.

Gentile was then dumped by the remnants of the Bronx Democratic Party, whose leader, Stanley Friedman, Giuliani had recently sent to prison. Instead, the party nominated Johnson.

Those familiar with the Bronx curse note that Gentile's alliance with Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, a rival of Giuliani for mayor, is only a coincidence.

The new Lou. Anyone wanting to know what charm school dean Dee Soder taught Chief of Department Louis Aneome should have heard him briefing reporters last week at Police Plaza about the disturbances in Staten Island following the arrest of a man for an alleged stabbing.

The rough-and-tough Anemone smiled to the reporters and made a joke at which people actually laughed. And there were no "dems" or "doses" coming from Louie's mouth as there sometimes are from other top police brass. Instead, a person listenting closely would have heard Anemone enunciating his t's, as in twen-ty-two.

Emendations. Impressions notwithstanding, newly appointed department flack Lenny Alcivar says he was offered the job under Deputy Commissioner for Public Informaton Marilyn Mode weeks before Howard Safir made his public relations gaffe in barring Daily News reporter John Marzulli from a news briefing.

And contrary to what this column reported, Richie Sheirer says he stopped wearing his Fire Department cap and tie before being appointed deputy police commissioner.

The big one. Ex-Police Commissioner William Bratton gets his monster bash at the Hilton next week, and those sponsoring the event include some of the biggest names (at least for now) in the department. Mayor Giuliani, who showed Bratton the door out of Police Plaza two months ago, is an expected no-show. Still unknown is whether Commissioner Safir, who appears intent on displaying some independence from the mayor, will attend. An additional One Police Plaza Confidential column will appear tomorrow.

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Email Leonard Levitt at llevitt@nypdconfidential.com

© 1996 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.