Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

City Council Nightmare

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

City Council Nightmare

Article excerpt

How in 2003 could labeling someone gay be so damaging to a political candidate that he would kill over it?

That's the question that many New Yorkers are grappling with in the wake of the July 24 murder of city councilman James Davis by a gay constituent who wanted his job. Just hours after calling the FBI and claiming that Davis had bribed and threatened to out him, Othniel Askew gunned Davis down in council chambers. City Hall police then shot and killed Askew.

Earlier, Davis had waved Askew through the building's security and was introducing the ambitious upstart to colleagues as someone who would work with him in his office rather than challenge him on the ballot.

Askew's FBI complaint made no sense to lawmakers who knew firsthand of Davis's support for gay and lesbian causes. "He sponsored every bill I ever had; he signed on to every letter on the gay issue across the board," said out lesbian councilwoman Christie Quinn. "From the transgender civil rights bill to every gay event we did, he was there 100%. …

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