Categorized | Bronx Neighborhoods

African-American Group Defends Governor

As the political storm clouds grew more  intense over Gov. David Paterson on Thursday, a small group of African-American law enforcement officers gathered to defend him.

Michael Greys, co-founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, a group of court and police officers, was one of 10 members who stood outside the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office building in Harlem.

“All that has been said until now are pure allegations,” he said. “Nothing has been proven, so asking for his resignation is simply premature and unfair.”

The organization decided to  publicly defend Paterson who has faced mounting allegations after The New York Times reported that he intervened in a domestic abuse case involving a top aide. A few days later a state ethics panel accused the governor of lying about accepting free tickets to a World Series game.

“After more than 25 years of public service without a stain, all this sudden scrutiny, we just think it’s suspicious and outrageous,” Greys said.

Greys did not assign blame to any specific faction or individual for the controversy surrounding Paterson but said: “Some people want the state budget to go the way they want it to go. But we are not here to make allegations ourselves. All we are saying is that we should let the objective investigation follow its course and examine the facts.”

He added, “If by any chance these accusations turn out to be right, then we’d understand his being asked to step down.”

Last Friday, Paterson said he would not run for re-election because the accusations surrounding him were too much of a distraction from his mission to right the finances of New York State. “If he also wants to resign, based on these accusations, it’s his right, it’s his decision to make,” Greys said. “But it should not be forced on him.”

Noel Leader, another member of the organization, said that the members “don’t necessarily support Paterson” but that they support “the idea that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.”

The members of the 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care  say the accusations  against Paterson don’t have to do with race. “If it’s a trap, it has to do with state politics, but all we are saying is that we don’t know anything yet and he shouldn’t be asked to resign!” Greys insisted. “Would you resign on mere allegations? No! Me Neither! Nobody would! And nobody should!”