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#3072: Rudy's Surprise Backfires He shows up, Haitian clergy walk (fwd)
Rudy's Surprise Backfires He shows up, Haitian clergy walk
By JOHN MARZULLI and ALICE McQUILLAN Daily News Staff Writers
Original Publication Date: 03/31/2000
A group of Haitian clergy yesterday snubbed Mayor Giuliani when he made
a surprise visit to a Police Headquarters peace summit between the
clerics and Commissioner Howard Safir. Already angered by Safir's
refusal to apologize for the Patrick Dorismond shooting, the clergy
hastened their early exit when Giuliani showed up unexpectedly with a
photographer in tow. "The mayor came to the meeting," said the Rev.
Miguel Auguste of Holy Innocents Church in Brooklyn. "We didn't
give him time for that. We weren't prepared to meet with him."
What was supposed to be a meeting to ease tension between the Police
Department and the Haitian community dissolved into rancor and
confusion, with the clergy holding an impromptu news conference outside
1 Police Plaza as Safir and Giuliani spoke to reporters inside.
The 15 ministers and priests, including Dorismond's pastor, arrived
about 5 p.m. and sat down with Safir in a 13th-floor conference room.
They had been invited to the meeting last week as part of Safir's
outreach to the Haitian community, a spokeswoman said. It's a
relationship that has been strained since Dorismond, 26, an unarmed
security guard of Haitian descent, was shot March 16 by an undercover
cop in midtown. The meeting got off to a rough start when the pastors
demanded an apology for the shooting and the release of Dorismond's
juvenile record by Safir and Giuliani, both sides said.They didn't get
it. The Rev. Ronald Winley of Church of the Evangel in Brooklyn said
Safir "made us believe the release of the records was okay, that the
records were only sealed to protect people looking for employment."
Safir told reporters he had said he had "great sympathy" for
Dorismond's mother but could not issue an apology. "I was perfectly
willing to publicly express that sympathy, and the empathy I have with
her, since I'm a parent and know how terrible it would be to lose a
child," he said. "But that I was not prepared to apologize for the
Dorismond incident, because all the facts have not come in." The clergy
decided to leave and were exiting when Giuliani arrived. They decided
the mayor's presence was not reason enough to stay, several said.
Giuliani said that the clergy didn't know he would attend and that the
meeting was breaking up when he arrived. "The police commissioner told
me he was having this meeting, and I thought it would be a good thing if
I came over to talk to them," Giuliani said. In a written statement,
the clergy said they wanted Safir to apologize for "the
misrepresentation of [Dorismond's] character subsequent to his death,
and the further grief,aggravation and public embarrassment caused to his
family. "We demand further that a public apology be made to the
Haitian-American community and to people of color in general for the
experience of racial profiling," they said.