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Deputy mayor’s tale rings true

April 5, 1999

A top black police official and friend of Deputy Mayor Rudy Washington expressed astonishment that Washington, the highest-ranking black in the administration of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, had never told anyone in the Police Department that white officers had harassed him on more than one occasion, presumably because of his race.

"I am shocked," said the official, "that a deputy mayor who worked closely with the Police Department never mentioned this to me or to anyone else in the department."

Last week, Washington told the mayor of the harassment, including an instance near his home in southeast Queens in which his wife was brought to tears, according to a report Saturday in The New York Times.

"Rudy Washington is no shrinking violet," said the police official, who asked for anonymity. "He is a guy with a lot of connections within the department. He worked on a . . . task force, where he came to know every borough commander. He had a rapport with police Commissioner Howard Safir. He could have gone to him at any time but never brought it up with anyone in the department."

Nor did Washington, he continued, "bring this up during the Abner Louima incident with the police-brutality task force when everyone was sharing war stories last year . Instead, he suddenly tells the mayor and his aides about something so personal, so embarrassing and so painful that he'd never told his closest friends, and they leak it to the Times. Something is not quite right here."

Washington has refused to talk publicly about the matter.

But while expressing astonishment, the police official felt a shock of recognition as he'd also been stopped and insulted by a white officer in the same vicinity in Queens.

"I was in uniform, driving an unmarked car with tinted glass, and ran a red light. The stop was justified, but the cop's demeanor stunk. He banged on my window and said, 'Are you deaf as well as stupid? Then he saw my uniform and apolgized."

The official said he had the officer transferred.

The official added that a retired black chief, David Scott, while serving as chief of department was similarly stopped and insulted by a white officer near his home in southeast Queens. Scott "was in civilian clothes, driving his wife's car, and the cop that stopped him condescendingly called him 'homey, " the official said.

Scott could not be reached for comment.

In what became a much-discussed incident among black law-enforcement officials, Scott, in an unrelated incident, had the white precinct commander and desk officer of the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica transferred after Scott entered the precinct in civilian clothes and was treated disrespectfully.

When Scott related the incident at a dinner-dance of black law-enforcement officials, he was given a standing ovation, the police official said.

The official pointed out that both his and Scott's incidents occurred six and seven years ago, when David Dinkins was mayor, indicating that the Police Department's harassing of blacks has been going on well before Giuliani's time.

The Whole Truth.
Giuliani made an impassioned speech last week honoring Police Officer Vincent Guidice, who died in 1996 from a severed artery after he was pushed into a broken mirror while answering a domestic dispute call..

As usual, Giuliani blamed the media for misreporting the case, criticizing an unnamed newspaper for saying Guidice "fell into a mirror."

"Vincent Guidice did not fall into a mirror," the mayor said. "He was thrown into a mirror by a violent, vicious criminal. We have to face up to it. We never grow by lack of courage to face the truth."

Speaking of the truth, the mayor maintained at the time of the incident that the mirror had been thrown at Guidice by Anthony Rivers, the man involved in the domestic dispute. He also attacked Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson for not indicting Rivers for second-degree murder, and he offered to prosecute the case himself. Rivers was charged instead with manslaughter and acquitted.

The A-Team.
Acting Bronx State Supreme Court Justice John Collins "spun the wheel" in open court last week at the Amadou Diallo indictments, selecting at random the name of Patricia Williams to preside over the case when it comes to trial. Before so doing, Collins read the names of the Bronx 12 so-called top judges who made up the list from which Williams was selected. Included was Ira Globerman, who presided at and convicted ex-cop Paolo Colecchia in 1997 of fatally shooting Nathaniel Gaines of Yonkers in the back on a Bronx subway platform. Not included was Gerald Sheindlin, who acquitted ex-cop Frank Livoti in 1996 of fatally choking Anthony Baez over a dispute stemming from a touch football game.

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© 1999 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.