Sadly, New Yorkers are used to bad behavior from politicians. From the raft of corruption-related convictions in recent years to the many incidents of sexual misconduct, we may even expect politicians to behave badly. The silver lining to this cloud is that once these misdeeds become known, the bad actors are typically imprisoned or voted out of office.
There are exceptions, though. And one of those exceptions is New York State Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn).
Sen. Parker’s most recent headline-grabber has to do with his use of Twitter. On December 14, Candice Giove, a staffer to Senate Republicans, tweeted that a car bearing Sen. Parker’s Senate placard was illegally parked in a bicycle lane in New York City. Sen. Parker tweeted a two-word response: “Kill yourself!” Sen. Parker later deleted the tweet and posted an apology; however, he also criticized Giove and defended himself:
This is a tempest in a teapot… The fact is, the person we’re talking about here is a ‘Twitter troll’ who represents a conference that on every issue has been on the wrong side of history – a women’s right to choose, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, voting rights… I’m sure people in my district don’t care. Come on, people don’t care about that. What Republican legislation has there been for suicide prevention?
Sen. Parker later re-apologized.
Unfortunately, an offensive and abusive comment on Twitter is less disturbing than some of the Senator’s past behavior. Since he entered the Senate in 2003, Sen. Parker’s track record includes the following:
- A January 2005 arrest for punching a traffic agent in the face, followed by a misdemeanor assault charge that was dropped after he agreed to take anger management classes;
- A 2008 complaint from a staffer who claimed that the Senator pushed her during an argument and broke her glasses;
- A May 2009 attack on a New York Post photographer that resulted in a felony charge, the loss of a committee chairship, a conviction for misdemeanor criminal mischief, a sentence of three years’ probation, and a $1,000 fine;
- A profane February 2010 tirade in which Sen. Parker was restrained by his colleagues from attacking Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island); and
- An April 2010 outburst during a Senate committee meeting, followed by a radio interview in which the Senator referred to his Republican Senate colleagues as “white supremacists.”
Sen. Parker was first elected to the State Senate in 2002 and has been re-elected seven times since then. The question is: Why?