Monday, May 21, 2012

NJ Equality: April: Throw Book at Ravi;
May: We Opposed Book-throwing

(Rev. Sharpton in a yarmulke. Oy.)

The blacks have Al Sharpton to whip up dangerous frenzied public reactions in high-profile crimes that put the wrong kind of pressure on prosecutors, and the gays in New Jersey have Steven Goldstein, pictured, to do the same.

In the tragic death of gay Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, Goldstein, who is executive director of Garden State Equality and former producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show, has been part of a lynch mob against Dahrun Ravi, an Indian-American sentenced to thirty-days in jail, three-years probation and thousands of dollars in fines and fees for web-cam spying.

Back in February, Goldstein wanted a manslaughter charge filed against Ravi, according to NBC news:

“Frankly I think Dahrun Ravi should be charged with more than just invasion of privacy, which is essentially calling him a ‘Peeping Tom,’” said Steven Goldstein with Garden State Equality, a gay rights group. “In my view, Dahrun Ravi should be charged with manslaughter.”

He wasn't alone in desiring that charge. According to a New York Times article in October 2010, another gay executive director thought that charge would be appropritate, not only against Ravi, but also against Molly Wei who was originally charged in the case but eventually cooperated with prosecutors and had the charges dropped:

Malcolm Lazin, a former federal prosecutor who is executive director of Equality Forum, a national gay rights advocacy group, called on prosecutors to charge the two students with reckless manslaughter. “Clearly, what they did was premeditated,” Mr. Lazin said. “This was not a visceral response. This was something that was well thought out, executed and then put on the worldwide Internet.” 

To my ears, I hear him saying throw the proverbial book at him.

Further back in time, Goldstein didn't dance around with what he wanted in a quote originally given to WINS Radio and later picked up by WCBS, in April 2011:

“This was the only conceivable way to go. This indictment, 15 counts, signifies that Dharun Ravi clearly violated New Jersey law in terms of Tyler Clementi’s invasion of privacy,” Steven Goldstein, of Garden State Equality, told 1010 WINS. “The fact that Mr. Ravi invaded Tyler Clementi’s privacy based on his perception that Tyler Clementi was gay, we believe the book should be thrown at Mr. Ravi for a heinous, heinous crime.”

Funny how yesterday, when the judge rendered the sentence, Goldenstein issued a statement, carried un-fact checked by dozens of gay bloggers and news sites, and mainstream media outlets, in which all of a sudden he saying something totally different about that damn proverbial book:

"We have been public in taking a position of balance: We opposed throwing the book at Dharun Ravi. We have spoken out against giving him the maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and against deporting him. That would have been vengeance beyond punishment and beyond sending a message to the rest of society."

Goldstein is practicing Etch-a-Sketch politics here and should be called to account for coveting a manslaughter charge, that clearly would have been been over-charging and very likely rejected by a judge or jury.

Instead of discussing tossing the book at Ravi, I'd like to chat with Goldstein about opening the book on how he came to promote bad judicial proposals and within months, reverse his views an official Gay Leader of the Movement on what he wanted from the judge at sentencing.

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