Queen district attorney candidate Tiffany Caban denounced racism and basked in the praise of Rev. Al Sharpton on Saturday, who called her the face of a new progressive era in New York law enforcement.
“I am proud to say that together we made history,” Caban told a gathering of Sharpton’s National Action Network in Harlem. “Our victory belong to folks who have been locked up on Rikers Island… and to all those who have literally put their bodies on the line and suffered irreparable harms at the hands of our criminal justice system.”
Fresh off her self-proclaimed, narrrow upset win in Tuesday’s primary, Caban ticked off a list of New York victims of racist violence and people of color who have been wrongfully targeted by police.
“There is nothing radical about working towards a criminal justice system that is based on fairness and equity, one that acknowledges its racist and classist roots,” Caban, a public defender said.
Underscoring her progressive priorities, Caban, 31, embraced Korey Wise, a member of the Central Park 5 who was wrongly convicted and imprisoned for a brutal attack on a Central Park jogger in 1989.
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Wise, who regularly attends NAN’s weekly rallies, got emotional as he hugged Caban, who was an infant when the notorious attack took place.
“Send that picture to Donald Trump,” Sharpton said, referring to the president’s refusal to apologize for calling for the execution of the Central Park 5.
Sharpton celebrated Caban as a transformative figure, not least because she is a queer Latina, both firsts for a New York City district attorney.
He reminded the audience to use Pride weekend as an opportunity to speak out against homophobia in the black community
But his main message was to cheer Caban’s mission to bring a more even-handed version of justice to Queens and to take on police misconduct with a clear-eyed determination.
“They call us radical to stand up for babies being forced to lie in police stations,” Sharpton said. “That why coalitions are coming together. Black, white, Latino, Asian, gay, straight. Everybody needs to come together.”
Caban declared victory in Tuesday’s democratic primary and holds about a 1,000 vote lead over Queen Borough President Melinda Katz, but more 3,500 absentee ballots and 2,700 affidavit ballots have yet to be counted.
Katz has called for a recount, which will happen on July 3.
There is a possibility that Katz and Democratic candidate and Judge Greg Lasak could run as Republicans if the GOP opens their November ballot to them under the Wilson-Pakula law. But first, the current Republican nominee, Daniel Kogan has to agree.
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