Crown Heights

Richardson’s arrest won’t ruin re-election chances

Assembly member has no opposition in contest

November 7, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Assemblymember Diana Richardson is running unopposed on Nov. 8. Photo courtesy of Richardson’s office
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State Assemblymember Diana Richardson, who rocked the political establishment when she won her seat in a special election in May of 2015, stands an excellent chance of winning today’s election despite the fact that she was arrested four days before Election Day and charged with assaulting her 13-year-old son.

That’s because Richardson is running unopposed in the 43rd Assembly District.

But her arrest has sent shockwaves through the Brooklyn political establishment.

The freshman assemblymember was arrested on Nov. 5 for allegedly hitting her son with a broom handle during an argument over his grades. The victim is Richardson’s only child. The lawmaker is a single mother.

The New York Times reported that the boy, whose name is being withheld from publication because of his age, walked into a local police precinct in Crown Heights and told cops that Richardson had struck him on his arm with a broomstick.

Richardson, 33, was arrested and charged with second-degree assault, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing. The assault charge is a felony. She was released without bail.

“She has no immediate worries about her political future. No one stepped up to run against her. But I don’t know what this does to her down the line. A felony charge is no laughing matter,” one political observer told the Brooklyn Eagle.

Prior to her arrest, Richardson had been considered a rising star in Brooklyn Democratic politics.

She shocked the establishment when she won the assembly seat left vacant by former Assemblymember Karim Camara, who resigned to take a job in the Cuomo administration.

Richardson won the special election in 2015 without the support of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, running instead on the Working Families Party line.

The 43rd Assembly District, which she represents, includes Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens and East Flatbush.

Richardson, who was born and raised in Crown Heights, told the Eagle in an interview in October of 2015 that she doesn’t like to stand on ceremony and often asks her constituents to call her Diana rather than Assemblymember Richardson.

“I’m no different than you,” she said.

Richardson said that before she entered politics, she decided to become active in her local community because she believed it was the best way to fight for governmental services for local residents. “We have to have a seat at the table,” she said.

Richardson said she ran for the Assembly after Camara’s departure because “I had a fire in my belly.”

Her successful run reinforced her view that she had a lot to offer and had that it was important for her to be herself and not try to fit into a political mold. “I learned you can be yourself. I have the freedom of voice. I feel comfortable with myself,” she told the Eagle.

On her official state Assembly website, Richardson refers to her son as her “greatest accomplishment.”


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