NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The New York City Bar Association is effectively condoning racism in refusing to remove as a committee chairman an attorney who made blatantly racist tweets against an African-American candidate for Lt. Governor earlier this week, and then stood by them, the group Westchester Citizens Against Racism today charged.
The attorney, Andrew J. Barovick, a partner at the White Plains and Manhattan law firm of Alegria & Barovick, crudely stated via Twitter Monday that Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss, who also serves as the President of the New York State Sheriff's Association, should become the "spokesmodel for Cream of Wheat or Uncle Ben's Rice." Mr. Barovick refused to retract his remarks for a full day, despite public requests for him to do so, saying that he "meant" what he said. He only "apologized" for his racist attack after members of the news media began calling his law firm for comment. He is chairman of the Medical Malpractice Committee at the New York City Bar Association.
After numerous calls for Mr. Barovick's dismissal as a committee chairman, The New York City Bar Association released the below statement on its blog late Thursday:
Statement from the New York City Bar Association
The New York City Bar Association's Executive Committee has conveyed to Andy Barovick its dismay at his careless use of offensive and inflammatory language in a recent tweet regarding Sheriff Christopher Moss. While noting the tweet was written in his private capacity, we stressed that such language in no way reflects our core values and runs counter to the City Bar's continuing efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and in society as a whole. We trust that Mr. Barovick will be mindful of these concerns going forward.
"I am more than surprised, frankly, that the New York City Bar Association would refuse take real action in light of Mr. Barovick's clear racist attack," said New York civil rights attorney, Richard St. Paul. "The Bar Association is effectively condoning what Mr. Barovick did and said by allowing him to retain a leadership position at the Bar. That decision cannot stand."
"Mr. Barovick resorted to 1950's Jim Crow tactics to try to belittle a man far more accomplished than he, and he cannot be allowed to get away with it," said John Burnett, a prominent New York financial professional and the 2013 Republican candidate for New York City Comptroller. "Chris Moss is a man with extraordinary talent and integrity, and Mr. Barovick has deeply embarrassed himself and all those with whom he is affiliated. The New York City Bar Association must remove him from its leadership immediately."
"We cannot allow racist attacks like this to go unaddressed," said Westchester African-American activist and President of the Gathering of Men of New Rochelle Mark McLean. "We have come too far in this country to allow someone like Andy Barovick to move us backwards. The New York City Bar Association has a public responsibility to act quickly on this matter. Allowing Mr. Barovich to remain in his leadership post would be to condone what he said."
"Fifty years after the civil rights act and we still can not judge a man by the content of his character. If we are still judging people by the color of their skin then all the achievements that people of color have made mean nothing and our faith in humanity is deeply troubled," said New Rochelle NAACP Chairman Ronald H. Williams.