The Village Voice runs an amusing update on the sad story of newly elected Sen. Hiram Monserrate, the Queens, NY state senator who is involved in an ongoing scandal resulting from a domestic violence incident.
Although many observers were appalled, Monserrate was sworn into the state legislature last month. According to the blog in the Voice, Monserrate has hired a "reputation management" company to help him revive his image. This past weekened, as the head of NOW in New York was denouncing Monserrate, a group described as "Women for Monserrate" shows up and began a pro-Monserrate demonstration.
The Monserrate case highlights many aspects of domestic violence policing and prosecution in New York -- and is actually a reassuring example of how the system sometimes actually does work. The NYPD arrested Monserrate -- a former NYPD officer and New York City Council member -- at a Long Island hospital. Monserrate's girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, asked the cops not to arrest him -- but, as the NYT reported, arrests are mandatory in domestic violence cases of this kind. Later, at Monserrate's arraignment in Queens criminal court, the judge issued an order of protection automatically. And the prosecution of Monserrate -- on charges of second degree assault -- are continuing, even though Giraldo has asked not to press charges and requested, unsuccessfully, for the order of protection to be dropped.
The pro-Monserrate protesters (most observers agreed that this group was organized by Monserrate and hs handlers) vocally denounced the prosecution, turning the rhetoric of women's rights against the prosecution.
As Elizabeth Benjamin noted in her Feb. 2 Daily News blog:
"The organizer of the pro-Monserrate faction, Martha Flores-Vazquez, a Queens Democratic district leader and director of the Community Prevention Alternatives for Families, (which, as Queens Crap has noted, received $37,500 in taxpayer funds directed by Monserrate when he was in the City Council), said:
'A woman's right to choose begins with who she spends her time with. And (Karla) chose the honorable Hiram Monserrate, who did not beat her..I am saying that he is innocent. I am saying that Karla is telling the truth.' "
State Senator-Elect Accused of Slashing Companion’s Face NYT, 12/20
Hiram Monserrate's supporters say 'accident' was confrontation over drugs Elizabeth Benjamin, Daily News blog, 12/22
Lawmaker to Take Senate Seat as Assault Inquiry Goes On NYT, 1/6
Slash pol Hiram Monserrate is lashed in court Daily News, 1/16
Women For Monserrate Elizabeth Benjamin, Daily News blog, 2/2