Brooklyn’s battling state senator, Kevin Parker, faces dual headaches this month. One is a primary challenge by perennial candidate Wellington Sharpe who is making his second bid to take Parker’s job away. Headache Number Two considerably complicates Headache Number One: On August 16, Parker will finally go to trial on the 15-month-old assault charges for his alleged attack on a New York Post photographer.
The three-term senator with long-term anger management problems was dubbed the “Flatbush Firecracker” after he popped off on Post shutterbug William Lopez in the May, 2009 incident. Lopez was taking shots of the senator’s parents’ home on Avenue H near Brooklyn College for a story about how the pol had let the two-story house slide into foreclosure.
Lopez claimed that when he snapped Parker’s photo, the lawmaker chased the cameraman down the block, then wrestled with him over the camera. In the tug of war, Lopez said he suffered a sprained finger. Brooklyn D.A. Joe Hynes later indicted Parker on felony assault charges which carry a potential seven-year prison penalty.
Parker has long insisted the Post blew the fracas out of proportion but admits he tried to reach a deal to settle the charges.
“I was looking to have a fair resolution of it,” he said this afternoon. “I maintain my innocence in terms of the felony charges. Was there a confrontation? Well, yes, and I was willing to take some responsibility for that. But certainly all of the things they accuse me of did not happen. So I would rather go to trial and be proven innocent than admit to something I did not do.”
On the electoral front, Sharpe, who heads a home health care center, has finished out of the political money in at least five races in the past decade, including failed bids for the city council, state senate, and assembly.
Sharpe has yet to make any required financial disclosure filings for the race to the State Board of Elections. A campaign aide said he’ll look into that, but noted that Parker is taking the challenger seriously enough to try to get him knocked off the ballot by objecting to his petitions.
“We did challenge him,” said Parker. “We are still in the legal process of looking at some egregious fraud on his part.”
Note to non-politicos: Not that petition fraud doesn’t sometimes get truly egregious, but that’s the term of art used to challenge filings by competitors you’d rather not face at the polls.