Rafael Martinez-Alequin — longtime citizen journalist, part-time worker for the Efrain Gonzalez Jr. State Senate campaign — has put up a video he took of Gonzalez’ opponent, Pedro Espada Jr., campaigning in Van Cortlandt Park this weekend. The money shot comes near the end, when Espada puts his hand on the camera lens, tells Martinez-Alequin “Just trying to teach you some manners, Papa,” and the camera starts to pitch and wobble.
Martinez-Alequin claims that at this point, some gentlemen who were accompanying Espada became rough with him, breaking his camera and sending him to the hospital.
The 75-year-old Martinez-Alequin told us that doctors at Montefiore Medical Center assess “no internal damage, thank God,” but he has “a lot of pain in my back.”
Martinez-Alequin claims he was just trying to ask Espada a question, and did nothing to provoke the result (though the camera does seem to come awfully close to Espada’s face). He supposes they reacted as they did because they were aware of his muckraking video “chronicles” of Espada’s campaign on Gonzalez’ behalf. He also says he has filed charges with the 50th Precinct, and is considering a lawsuit.
The Espada campaign said no one was available to respond to the Voice on the candidate’s behalf, and seemed surprised to learn that Espada’s comments on the incident, pleading innocence, appear at the New York Daily News.