State Sen. Kevin Parker — the pugilistic pol responsible for a handful of violent outbursts during his nine years in office — is all but certain to keep his job after a judge sentenced him to probation instead of jail for his 2009 assault on a New York Post photographer.
Judge Neil Firetog put Parker (D–Flatbush) on probation for three years and ordered that he take anger management classes and pay more than $1,500 to pay for New York Post photographer William Lopez’s camera during sentencing on Monday in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
Had Parker, who faced up to one year in jail on the misdemeanor charge, been sent to the pokey, he would have been forced by law to give up his seat.
Now, Parker can only lose his job in Albany if a tribunal of fellow legislatures determines that he must step down — a fate suffered by state Sen. Hiram Monserrate, a Queens lawmaker who was convicted of misdemeanor assault charges for battering his girlfriend in 2009.
But Parker doesn’t see himself not finishing off his latest two-year term, which he won while facing trial in November.
“My case and Monserrate’s are two different situations,” Parker said.
Senate officials say there are no plans to expelled Monserrate, pointing out that Parker was stripped of his minority whip position — and $14,500 yearly stipend that comes with it — when he was arrested.
Sporting a light grey suit and a yellow tie, Parker said nothing during the hearing. As he left the courtroom flanked by more than a dozen supporters that included his mother, two rabbis and two ministers, he told reporters he was glad the entire ordeal was behind him.
“It’s over and I’m ready to move on with the important business of the state of New York,” he said. “I’m ready to get back to Albany.”
Parker was accused of attacking photographer William Lopez during a confrontation outside of the legislator’s East Flatbush home. Lopez was slightly injured in the scuffle over the camera. His car, camera and flash were also damaged.
Assistant District Attorney Kathleen DiGiovanni requested Firetog sentence Parker to 30 days in prison and 30 days supervised release, claiming that Parker had been “involved in numerous violent actions.”
This is the second time Parker has been accused of thuggish behavior. In 2005, he was arrested for punching out a traffic enforcement agent, but the charges were dropped after he agreed to take anger management classes. A year later, Parker allegedly shoved and injured a female aide during an outburst. Last year at a senate hearing, he called Republicans “white supremacists.”
But defense attorney Lonnie Hart said Parker has no criminal record because the 2005 attack was dismissed and sealed.
“It’s unethical and may be illegal for Ms. DiGiovanni to bring it up at sentencing,” he said. “It smacks of desperation.”
The many outbursts Parker’s displayed in his political career just show what a zealous advocate he has been for his constituents, Hart added.
“My client is a politician, getting into arguments is part of the job,” he said. “His passion is often misconstrued by people on the opposite side.”