By Thomas Tracy and Celeste Katz
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
While Gov. Cuomo got a warm welcome at a Manhattan awards ceremony Monday night, a Democratic activist who showed up to protest him got arrested.
Police charged Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct after he criticized Cuomo at the third-annual Demmy Awards.
Roskoff — who dressed in prison stripes to assail Cuomo for not granting clemency to convicts — blamed the evening’s host, state Assemblyman Keith Wright, for the bust.
Wright, the leader of the Manhattan Democratic organization, hopes to succeed Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel when the elder statesman completes his final term in Congress.
Roskoff said the Owles Club paid $350 for tickets to the Demmys, and notified Wright in advance of the planned protest.
He accused Wright of ordering his lockup to shield Cuomo .
“It’s obvious that pleasing Andrew Cuomo is more important than achieving clemency for people who are rotting in prison,” Roskoff said.
Police said Roskoff became disruptive at the American Airlines Theater where the event took place, and refused to leave after the venue’s security staff asked him to go.
Wright said he had absolutely nothing to do with Roskoff ending up in the back of a cruiser.
“I did not have him arrested at all — I can guarantee you that,” Wright said. “I don’t have any power over the police.”
Wright confirmed Roskoff had given him a heads-up about planning to protest.
“I said ‘fine.’ I could care less. He wanted to share light on the clemency issue — which I actually agree with him on,” Wright said of Roskoff, who’s expected to face the charges against him on Aug. 26.