Challenged by MSNBC’s PoliticsNation host and activist, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Community Voices Heard, five New York City Democratic mayoral candidates, Bill Thompson, Christine Quinn, Anthony Weiner, Bill de Blasio, and John Liu grabbed sleeping bags last Saturday and spent the night with host families in East Harlem’s Lincoln Houses public housing development to experience the squalor and inhumane conditions that residents are forced to live in every day.
Just two days later, Olivia Brown, 23, was shot and killed there early Tuesday morning, reports CBS New York.
Brown, who was allegedly shot in the hand and groin by an unidentified woman during an argument, was initially listed in stable condition but later pronounced dead at Harlem Hospital.
Her killer is still at large.
Upon learning of Brown’s murder at the 65-year old Lincoln Houses, Rev. Sharpton released the following statement:
“When I landed in Miami, Florida and heard about the homicide at Lincoln Houses, I was outraged, but not shocked. This is why National Action Network and I challenged the New York City Mayoral candidates to spend the night with me in those same houses this past. To see the squalor, mold, holes in the wall that hadn’t been repaired in over five years and an absence of security cameras/locks (as the New York Daily News pointed out), was eye-opening to say the least. A lack of repairs, and an environment of crime and murder are what the residents of Lincoln Houses are forced to live with every day. I was not grandstanding. I was attempting to show whoever may be the next Mayor of NYC what some people in this city have to deal with on a daily basis. This homicide is a reminder of that.”
Though no homicides occurred while the candidates were in residence, black mold, leaks and no air-conditioning during the sweltering summer heat were just a few of the hardships that the politicos faced.
“When you’re in it and you live it, even for 24 hours it leaves an impact on you and these are folks no one has been paying attention to for too long,” Weiner said, who is also dealing with the re-emergence of the sext scandal that toppled his political career.
After learning of Brown’s death, candidate Thompson returned to Lincoln Houses with the news that money for security cameras had been allocated for the property.
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) received $1 million dollar to install the cameras over one year ago, but never did, reports the Daily News.
“Could it have prevented a shooting? I’m not going to say that. But it possibly could have led to a person being identified,” Thompson said.
Brown’s homicide is currently under investigation.