Huntley Won’t Flinch After Threat At Home
By DOMENICK RAFTER
Gathered with colleagues and supporters outside her home Wednesday morning in Locust Manor, State Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) fought back against recent threats made against her that culminated in a bouquet of flowers being left on her front stoop with a message that read “Rest in Peace”.
Huntley, locked in a competitive primary against former City Council candidate Lynn Nunes, said she has been receiving threatening phone calls since June, and her niece discovered the bouquet of flowers shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday. Initially thinking it to be either a friendly gesture or left there by mistake, she took the bouquet inside and found the threatening message in a ribbon tied around the bouquet. She immediately filed a police report and decided to make the threats public.
“The incident that I had to endure yesterday was not only threatening, but cowardly. I take this, and all threats very seriously,” Huntley said.
She gathered in front of her home Wednesday morning with her colleagues from all around the city, including Senate Democratic Conference Chairman John Sampson (D-Brooklyn), Senate President Pro Tempore Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans), and Sens. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing), Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) and Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), as well as Assembly Members Audrey Pheffer (D-Rockaway Park), William Scarborough (D-Jamaica) and Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village).
Any anonymous threat or attack has no place in a democracy,” Sampson said. “This will no longer be tolerated.”
“If this had happened to me, Shirley would be the first person to be there for me,” Stavisky said.
Smith had a message directly aimed at the perpetrators.
“If this was meant to get attention, you have gotten the attention you seek,” he said. “You might believe that your acts have caused the intimidation of Sen. Huntley, but I’m here to tell you, it’s not going to happen.”
Huntley said she had no idea who sent her the flowers or made the threatening phone calls. Nunes, who has been strongly supported by LGBT rights groups and donors after Huntley’s “no” vote on same-sex marriage in December, joined her and her colleagues in condemning the act.
“I stand with Sen. Shirley Huntley and our community in expressing shock and outrage at recent events, and in agreement that there is no place in politics, government or campaigns for the malicious acts she has described,” Nunes wrote in a prepared statement. “I look forward to continuing our spirited campaign to represent our neighborhoods and neighbors in the State Senate.”
Still, some suggested those angry over the vote could be responsible. Assemblyman Scarborough alluded to them when he spoke in defense of Huntley on Wednesday.
“Those who say their rights have been violated should not go ahead and violate someone else’s rights,” he said.
But Krueger, who was a staunch supporter of the same-sex marriage legislation, spoke in defense of Huntley.
“Shirley and I know we disagree on many issues,” she said, placing her hand on her colleague’s shoulder. “For this great country to survive, we have to be able to keep the debates civil.”
Former City Councilman Archie Spigner said the perpetrators needed to be found and prosecuted.
“I’m calling on the District Attorney to arrest these buzzards and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” he said. “It’s better for them to get caught by the DA than face us in the community.”
For Huntley, she said the act only made her more steadfast in her beliefs and will only move her forward in her campaign.
“They have made me stronger,” she said.
Reach Reporter Domenick Rafter at email@example.com or (7180 357-7400, Ext. 125.