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#2947: Shooting Victim Bore a Celebrated Name (fwd)


March 22, 2000 NY TIMES
Shooting Victim Bore a Celebrated  Name ____By DAVID BARSTOW

Among Haitians, from Port-au-Prince to Flatbush Avenue, most everyone
knows the Dorismond name. During the 1950's and 60's, André Dorismond
was a crooner with one of Haiti's best-known bands, Wébert Sicot, a
20-piece ensemble that played to huge, adoring crowds in dance halls and
clubs across the country. And since the Dorismond family immigrated to
 Brooklyn, the singer's son Charles has risen to prominence in the    
Haitian-American club scene as the hit reggae artist Bigga Haitian.    
The prominence of the Dorismond name is one of the major reasons  the
Haitian-American community in New York has reacted with such fury over
the death of André Dorismond's son Patrick, the off-duty security guard
who was shot dead on Thursday during a scuffle with undercover officers
who mistook him for a drug dealer. "Because of the name, they related to
the guy immediately," said Ricot Dupuy, the manager of Radio Soleil, a
Haitian-American station in Brooklyn that broadcasts news and music
across the metropolitan region. "They feel a sense of connection. It's a
familiar name." And that made Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's portrayal of
Patrick Dorismond all the more galling, leaders of the community said  
yesterday. For in defending the police officers involved in the      
shooting, Mr. Giuliani described Mr. Dorismond not as the son of a     
respected family, but as a criminal with a violent streak, a trait the
mayor strongly suggested contributed to his death. But there is another
factor that has stoked the outrage: the Abner Louima case. In 1997, Mr.
Louima, a Haitian immigrant, was arrested -- in a case of mistaken
identity, as it turned out -- and taken to a Brooklyn precinct station
house, where a police officer sodomized him with a stick. Soon after Mr.
Louima's attack was first reported, thousands of Haitian-Americans
marched on City Hall, and the bathroom assault quickly crystallized
long-simmering tensions over what many of them viewed as a pattern of
abusive, disrespectful policing. Just as Mr. Louima's case received
major news coverage in Haiti, so too has Patrick Dorismond's death
become a major story -- in this case the story of how the son of a
beloved cultural figure ended up dead after saying no to an undercover
police officer asking him for drugs. During the 1960's, Wébert Sicot
toured all corners in Haiti, enticing crowds with a mixture of dance
tunes and romantic ballads. When the band pulled into a small village,
it was big news. Teenagers would race through dusty streets, spreading
the word. Though the group was named after its saxophonist, André
Dorismond -- its lead singer -- projected an easy star quality. His
voice was buttery smooth, his demeanor both humble and dignified.     
Mr. Dupuy's Brooklyn station has been covering all the latest
developments in the shooting. And in Haiti, Radio Haïti Inter in       
Port-au-Prince and other media outlets have devoted substantial time    
to it. Several Haitian-American leaders have angrily criticized the
mayor, saying they detected in Mr. Giuliani's words about Patrick      
Dorismond a form of character assassination that, intended or not,    
unfairly spilled over to all Haitian-Americans."We are the sons and
daughters of seekers of freedom," said Vladimir Rodney, a lawyer and
vice chairman of the Haitian-American Alliance, a Brooklyn-based service
group. "The mayor has done unspeakable harm to the bond of trust between
the police and our communities."