Archive for Sunday, July 27, 2003

Hundreds mourn fallen N.Y.C. councilman

July 27, 2003

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— More than 200 people promised on Saturday to continue the anti-urban violence campaign championed by city Councilman James Davis, praising the slain politician for his life and work.

"James Davis fought against guns, toy guns, he fought against romanticizing and glorifying violence," said political activist Al Sharpton, who is scheduled to deliver the eulogy at Davis' funeral Tuesday. "This is the community outpouring to show that we loved him and that we are committed to the Stop the Violence campaign."

Davis, 41, was killed Wednesday when a political opponent shot him in the council chambers at City Hall. A police officer killed the gunman.

Davis, who founded the not-for-profit, anti-violence group Love Yourself Stop the Violence, had become known for stopping a store from selling realistic-looking toy guns, denouncing violent music lyrics and television images, and protesting incidents of police brutality.

At a rally in front of the home Davis shared with his mother, the slain councilman's two brothers, two sisters and mother appeared with Sharpton and a host of city council members, city officials and community activists. Mayor Michael Bloomberg did not attend, sending Yolanda Jimenez, who heads the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence, in his place.

Davis' brother, Geoffrey, told the crowd he wanted to take his brother's seat on the council to continue his work.

"You hear his voice through me, that's why I'm angry!" Geoffrey Davis told the crowd. "Yes, I'm taking his office, and we're going to keep on building and keep on fighting."

Davis' casket will lie in state at City Hall on Monday. Several speakers noted that he is the first black man in the city given that honor and will be the first person to lie in state there since 1918. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant were both given that honor.

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