Orwell's '1984' and Blacks in New York

Alton H.Maddox | 4/12/2011, 4:37 p.m.

Attorney Mason became a candidate for the office of Manhattan district attorney in 1985.This was part of the plan. He captured one-third of the vote against Robert Morgenthau on a shoestring budget. It was a people's campaign. We were plotting the future of Blacks in New York City against the backdrop that the NYPD had the worst record in the nation for hiring Blacks.

Bronx District Attorney Mario Merola unsuccessfully prosecuted Police Officer Stephen Sullivan of the NYPD for pumping two shotgun blasts into Ms. Bumpurs' body. The knife in her hand was the police version of the shooting. A posse had unlawfully entered her home. The NYPD perceived it as a slave quarter.

The New York Legislature has a prescription for these police-inspired home invasions--a bench trial. The U.S. Constitution guarantees a jury trial. It refuses to guarantee a bench trial. It is still a workable formula for the police. Ask the assassins of Sean Bell. No effort has been made to change the law.

When Merola stepped down as Bronx district attorney, Black activists were on Gov. Mario Cuomo like white on rice. Nonetheless, he appointed another Caucasian. The Creator had the final say, however. The new district attorney's skeletons would catch up with him.

Gov. Cuomo had to raise the white flag. Robert Johnson would become the first district attorney of African ancestry in New York history after serving a tenure as an obscure criminal court judge in New York City. The seed was planted at the World Trade Center. Last Friday, as I was leaving WBAI-FM after being a guest on "Caldwell Chronicle," Howard Jordan introduced me to Cyrus Vance Jr., who is a candidate for Manhattan district attorney. His father was a secretary of state in the Carter administration. His father's finest hour was as a member of a blue-ribbon committee that found that New York's judicial system was "infested with racism."

I am disappointed that Morgenthau's successor will probably be a white person. This will extend white minority rule in New York City. After the municipal elections in 2009, whites will still control the three branches of government.

Vance, on WBAI-FM, did not sound like his father. The son refused to say yes about compensation for the "Central Park Six." In his opinion, this is apparently a "hot potato." The right position on this question will be the tiebreaker in the Manhattan district attorney's race if the issue is not moot by September.

Vance also pooh-poohed answering questions on police misconduct, residency for police personnel and the appointment of a special prosecutor in police misconduct cases. He is undoubtedly the frontrunner, but things could change with a progressive rival. Blacks already know that the police are incapable of policing themselves and the district attorney's office is incapable of prosecuting its agents. This is a conflict of interest. There must be a permanent special prosecutor in police misconduct cases. The NYPD is a foreign occupier.

I have a sneaky feeling that Blacks and Latinos will decide the September 8, 2009, Democratic primary for Manhattan district attorney. In its 20th year of a miscarriage of justice, the "Central Park Six" will be on the minds of many Black and Latino voters in Manhattan. Mr. Vance and his rivals better sharpen their position papers on compensation for the "Central Park Six."