Assemblywoman arrested for child abuse

Assemblywoman Diane Richardson with her then-12-year-old son Issac when she was elected to office last year.
Photo by Nelson A. King

A Caribbean American legislator in Brooklyn is facing child abuse charges for allegedly beating her 13-year-old son with a broomstick.

Police said over the weekend that New York State Assemblywoman Diana Richardson, 33, whose mother is from Aruba and father from St. Martin, was arrested and arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

Richardson, who represents the 43rd Assembly District, reportedly beat her son with the broomstick over his grades, according to the New York Daily News.

The son then left home and walked into the nearby 71st Police Precinct stationhouse in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, telling cops that

his mother hit him on his left arm as discipline over his grades, the paper said.

The boy was taken to a local hospital for an abrasion to his arm, according to the criminal complaint.

Richardson, who counts her son as her “greatest accomplishment” on her state assembly member biography page, was charged with second-degree assault, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal possession of a weapon, and menacing.

The assault charge is a felony, while the others are misdemeanors, said Arlene Muniz, a spokeswoman for the NYPD.

Cops said Richardson was released without bail at her arraignment and is due back in court on Jan. 10, 2017.

Richardson, who was elected in May 2015 — ironically on the Working Families ticket — represents the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Wingate and East Flatbush.

The legislator, who was on the ballot for re-election on Tuesday, is said to be a devoted single mother whose only child often accompanies her to political events.

Bill Lipton, New York State director of the small, left-leaning Working Families Party, said Richardson was committed to her son.

“He’s a really good kid,” he told the New York Times. “He’s super-precocious. I’ve seen her and her son together for many years. It’s a very close, loving relationship. He was on the campaign trail with her all the time.”

Having been briefly homeless as a teenager, Richardson put herself through Medgar Evers College, City University of New York and later earned a master’s in public administration from Baruch College, according to the Times.

A close friend, Dr. Una S. T. Clarke, the Jamaican-born former New York City Councileomsn and the first Caribbean-born woman elected to the Council, said: “Education is the key to everything, to any success that one would have” in the Caribbean.

Clarke, who considered Richardson a “second daughter,” added that part of the discipline is cultural.

“Caribbean parents don’t care if it’s the weekend or midweek,” she told The Times. “There are expectations that we have for our children, and education comes first.”

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