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Brooklyn Councilwoman Apologizes For ‘Knockout Game’ Comments

Laurie Cumbo Says She's Sorry For Any Pain Caused By Her Words
Council member-elect Laurie Cumbo (Credit: lauriecumbo2013.com)

Council member-elect Laurie Cumbo (Credit: lauriecumbo2013.com)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A newly-elected member of the New York City Council who came under fire for her theory as to what the motive was behind the “knockout game” attacks in Crown Heights has issued an apology.

On Dec. 3, Brooklyn Councilwoman-elect Laurie Cumbo said on Facebook that she believes the attacks against Jews in that area are related to a fear of the growing Jewish population by some African-American residents.

In an open letter on her Facebook page, Cumbo said that at a recent community meeting regarding the attacks she shared something she had come to understand while campaigning. “I shared that many African American/Caribbean residents expressed a genuine concern that as the Jewish community continues to grow, they would be pushed out by their Jewish landlords or by Jewish families looking to purchase homes.”

“I relayed these sentiments at the forum not as an insult to the Jewish community, but rather to offer possible insight as to how young African American/Caribbean teens could conceivably commit a ‘hate crime’ against a community that they know very little about,” Cumbo continued in the letter.

The executive director of the Jewish Future Alliance, Yaccov Behrman, responded to the letter and said that while the organization approves of Cumbo’s suggestion that more should be done to bring the youth of Crown Heights together, her connection regarding the “knockout game” is inappropriate.

“To address this subject in a discussion of the current violence in our community is not only inappropriate, it also can be misunderstood as excusing the violence,” Behrman said.

Cumbo issued the following apology today:

“I sincerely apologize to my Jewish constituents for any pain that I have caused by what I wrote. It was the opposite of my intention. I have taken the last week to reflect, evaluate and meet with Jewish, African American and Caribbean leaders all across New York City, and I understand now that my words did not convey what was in my heart, which is a profound desire to bring our diverse communities closer together.”

“As I am about to embark on my career in government, my goal is to generate collaborative ventures that will bond people of all backgrounds. I hope and pray that I can achieve these goals, in the spirit of the 133rd Psalm, ‘How good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.'”

Behrmam responded to Cumbo’s apology Tuesday, and said the following:

“The Jewish Future Alliance commends Laura Cumbo for doing the right thing and apologizing. We look forward to working together in the future as “one community.

Cumbo ran and won with significant support from the Jewish community.

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