Brooklyn

David Buckel’s Suicide Note: A Grisly Protest

Attorney David Buckel

 “Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result — my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.” — David Buckel

 

NEW YORK (AP) — A well-known gay rights lawyer and environmental advocate burned himself to death in New York City on Saturday (April 14, 2018) in a grisly protest against ecological destruction.

The charred remains of 60-year-old David Buckel were found by passers-by in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Police said he was pronounced dead at about 6:30 a.m.

Buckel was the lead attorney in in a lawsuit involving Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was murdered in Nebraska. Hilary Swank won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Teena in the 1999 movie “Boys Don’t Cry.”

Buckel also served as marriage project director at Lambda Legal, a national organization that fights for LGBT rights, where he was the strategist behind same-sex marriage cases in New Jersey and Iowa.

The suicide note left by Buckel in a shopping cart near his body said he hoped his death was honorable and might serve others as he disclosed the difficulty of improving the world even for those who make vigorous efforts.

[As it stands, the complete suicide note has not yet been released. And will be made available here upon release]

Suicide Note details:

“Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather.  Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result – my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.”

“Many who drive their own lives to help others often realize that they do not change what causes the need for their help,” Buckel wrote, adding

Mr. Buckel, noting that he was privileged with “good health to the final moment,” wanted his immolation (self-sacrifice) to lead to increased action; expressly stating that “donating to organizations was not enough.”

 

 “Privilege is derived from the suffering of Others” – David Buckel

 

Susan Sommer, a former Lambda Legal attorney who is now the general counsel for the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice in New York City, told the Times that Buckel “was all about justice, but he was also all about what it means to be human.”

Sommer added, “He was a very smart and methodical lawyer. He knew his craft and his trade and was strategic in how to build the blocks toward a sweeping victory.”

Sources:  Associated Press, New York Times

 

 

 

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2 Cops killed in Retaliation of Chokehold Death of Eric Gardner

 

NEW YORK (AP) — A gunman who announced online that he was planning to shoot two “pigs” in retaliation for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner ambushed two officers in a patrol car and shot them to death in broad daylight Saturday before running to a subway station and killing himself, authorities said.  

The suspect, 28 year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, wrote on an insttagram account.  “I’m putting wings on pigs today.  They take 1 of ours, let’s take 2 of theirs,” officials said.  He used the hashtags Shootthepolice RIPErivGardner (sic) RIPMikeBrown.

Police said he approached the passenger window of a marked police car and opened fire, striking Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in the head. The New York Police Department officers were on special patrol doing crime reduction work in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

“They were, quite simply, assassinated — targeted for their uniform,” said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who looked pale and shaken at a hospital news conference.

Brinsley took off running as officers pursued him down to a nearby subway station, where he shot himself in the head. A silver handgun was recovered at the scene, Bratton said.

“This may be my final post,” Brinsley wrote in the Instagram post that included an image of a silver handgun. The post had more than 200 likes.

Bratton confirmed that the suspect made very serious “anti-police” statements online but did not get into specifics of the posts. He said they were trying to figure out why Brinsley had chosen to kill the officers. Two city officials with direct knowledge of the case confirmed the posts to The Associated Press. The officials, a senior city official and a law enforcement official, were not authorized to speak publicly on the topic and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The shootings come at a tense time; Police in New York and nationwide are being criticized for their tactics, following the July death of Garner, who was stopped on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Amateur video captured an officer wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck and wrestling him to the ground. Garner was heard gasping, “I can’t breathe” before he lost consciousness and later died.

Demonstrators around the country have staged die-ins and other protests since a grand jury decided Dec. 3 not to indict the officer in Garner’s death, a decision that closely followed a Missouri grand jury’s refusal to indict a white officer in the fatal shooting of Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old. Bratton said they were investigating whether the suspect had attended any rallies or demonstrations.

Brinsley was black; the officers were Asian and Hispanic, police said.

together to bring peace to our communities,” the statement says. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the officers’ families during this incredibly difficult time.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the killing of the officers in the nation’s largest department strikes at the heart of the city.

“Our city is in mourning. Our hearts are heavy,” said de Blasio, who spoke softly with moist eyes. “It is an attack on all of us.”

Scores of officers in uniform lined up three rows deep lined the hospital driveway and stretched into the street, their hands raised in a silent salute, as two ambulances bore the slain officers’ bodies away. The mayor ordered flags at half-staff.

In a statement Saturday night, Attorney General Eric Holder condemned the shooting deaths as senseless and “an unspeakable act of barbarism.” President Barack Obama, in a statement issued while he’s vacationing in Hawaii, said he unconditionally condemns the slayings.

“The officers who serve and protect our communities risk their own safety for ours every single day — and they deserve our respect and gratitude every single day,” Obama said. “Tonight, I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal — prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen.”

Early Saturday, Bratton said, Brinsley went to the home of a former girlfriend in the Baltimore area and shot and wounded her. Police there said they noticed Brinsley posting to the woman’s Instagram account about a threat to New York officers. Baltimore-area officials sent a warning to New York City police, who received it around the time of the shooting, Bratton said.

Criminal records show Brinsley has a history of arrests on various charges in Georgia, including robbery, shoplifting, carrying a concealed weapon, disorderly conduct and obstruction of a law enforcement officer. Bratton said his last-known address was Georgia, but he had some ties in Brooklyn.

A block from the shooting site, a line of about eight police officers stood with a German shepherd blocking the taped-off street. Officer Ramos was married with a 13-year-old son, police said. He had been on the job since 2012. Liu had been on the job for seven years and got married two months ago, Bratton said.

“Both officers paid the ultimate sacrifice today while protecting the communities they serve,” he said.

Rosie Orengo, a friend of Ramos, said he was heavily involved in their church and encouraged others in their marriages.

“He was an amazing man. He was the best father and husband and friend,” she said. “Our peace is knowing that he’s OK, and we’ll see him in heaven.”

The president of the police officers union, Patrick Lynch, and de Blasio have been locked in a public battle over treatment of officers following the grand jury’s decision. Just days ago, Lynch suggested police officers sign a petition that demanded the mayor not attend their funerals should they die on the job. On Saturday, some officers turned their backs on de Blasio as he walked into the hospital. At a news conference, Lynch said there is “blood on many hands” tonight, explicitly blaming the mayor and protesters.

The last shooting death of an NYPD officer came in December 2011, when 22-year veteran Peter Figoski was shot in the face while responding to a report of a break-in at a Brooklyn apartment. The triggerman, Lamont Pride, was convicted of murder and sentenced in 2013 to 45 years to life in prison.