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November 3, 2010 / Brooklyn news / Greenpoint / The Greatest Story Ever

Defending democracy! Poll worker beaten — but he still works a full shift

The Brooklyn Paper

Call him a hero of democracy!

Election worker Stanley Denker, 73, was bloodied in a brutal mugging on his way to open a Greenpoint polling site early Tuesday morning — but refused to go to the hospital, and instead headed straight to the Leonard Street balloting site for a full 14-hour shift helping America vote.

“Board of Elections officials from Manhattan came in and told me to go home — but, no, I stayed here and helped,” said Denker, blood still splattered all over his station and his eye sporting a shiner. “Someone needed to supervise the polling site.”

In a harrowing crime that reflected the worst and the best of America, Denker left his co-op at Montrose Street at 5 am en route to the McGuinness Senior Center polling site. He parked around the corner and as he headed to his shift, a man wearing a red hooded sweatshirt grabbed him in a headlock as another rifled his jacket and pants looking for Denker’s wallet.

When they couldn’t find it immediately, one thug punched him in his head three times, giving Denker a black eye, and knocked him to the ground.

“I said, ‘What are you doing this for!’ and they punched me in the face!” said Denker. “All my business cards went flying.”

One of Denker’s coworkers screamed, and the two men grabbed his wallet and fled towards McGuinness Boulevard.

Ten minutes later, police and an ambulance arrived at the scene to find Denker on the corner, with blood gushing from his nose onto his leather jacket.

“My nose was bleeding, my eye was bleeding,” said Denker. “They got $30, two ATM cards, my driver’s license and my Metrocard.”

After getting patched up by a medic and conferring with police over the description of his attackers, Denker went back to the polling site where he stayed until polls closed at 9 pm.

He even fixed four electronic voting scanners where ballots had been jammed because they had not been set up properly.

When polls closed, Denker’s son drove him to his Montrose Avenue home after a long day of defending democracy — literally.

A spokeswoman for Assemblyman Joe Lentol, who sent Denker a box of Fortunato Brothers’ cookies for his heroic work, said she was relieved to hear that Denker was OK.

“I’ve known Stanley for several years now and I was really impressed and, of course, concerned,” said the spokeswoman, Amy Cleary. “I hope he gets some well-deserved rest and that he comes back next year to keep the poll sites running smoothly.”

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Reader Feedback

Harry from Bed-Stuy says:
Truly, one of the greatest stories ever...doesn't this make you feel proud to be an American? What's even better was that this guy was clearly a working-class guy with only 30 bucks in his wallet...whadda guy! Whadda town!
(Trying to channel my inner Gersh with this comment.)
Nov. 3, 2010, 12:32 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
where's the description of the perps?
Nov. 3, 2010, 10:42 am

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