Previous | Next
203204205206207208209210211212213214215216217218219220221222223224225226227228229230231232233234235236 of 617
I'd like to reask one question on your involvement in
civil rights. Going back to the time when you were district
leader but also since that time, did any substantial
part of your Italian constituency show hostility toward you
when you became involved in the black civil rights movement?
I'll tell you: they're better than the liberals, because
they forgave me for it whereas the liberals would not ever forgive
and accept a different point of view. I'll give you the best
little story on that.
In 1966, when I was running for the City Council, the
Civilian Police Complaint Board was a referendum on the ballot,
and I supported the Civilian Police Complaint Board, because I
thought that the then existing board, which was made up of police
officers, never did anything to deal with police brutality, and
there was -- and still is I'm sure, to a lesser extent -- cases
involving police brutality. And I had in fact represented some
people in a pro bono way who had been assaulted by cops unfairly.
And so it became the major issue, notwithstanding the fact that
I had hoped I would be the major issue in that campaign. But
it wasn't -- it was the Civilian Police Complaint Board.
Now, the liberals were for it; the moderates and conservatives
across this town were opposed to it. It lost. That is
to say, the revocation of the Civilian Police Complaint Board
won. I think you voted (I)aye if you wanted to do away with the
board. And the people on MacDougal Street whom I had helped,
and I had formed the MacDougal Area Neighborhood Association
an 1963 made up all Italians -- they were so appreciative of
© 2006 Columbia University
Libraries | Oral History
Research Office | Rights and
Permissions | Help