The New York City Bar Association will not dismiss a committee chairman from its organization who called the New York State Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor a racial slur. Attorney, Andrew J. Barovick, a partner at the White Plains and Manhattan law firm of Alegria & Barovick, 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.”
Barovick initially refused to retract his remarks for an entire day, despite public outcry for him to do so, saying that he “meant” what he said. Barovick, who is chairman of the Medical Malpractice Committee at the New York City Bar Association, only “apologized” for the attack after members of the news media began calling his law firm for comment.
After calls for Barovick’s removal as a committee chairman ensued, The New York City Bar Association released the below statement on its blog late Thursday:
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.
According to a press release from Westchester Citizens Against Racism, New Rochelle NAACP Chairman Ronald H. Williams weighed in on the incident saying, “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.”
Spokesman for Westchester Citizens Against Racism William F.B. O’Reilly said, “The New York City Bar Association is forgoing whatever moral authority it now enjoys by keeping Mr. Barovick in a leadership role. One wonders how the Senate Judiciary Committee would view its recommendations 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, in a statement. “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.”
John Burnett, a New York financial professional and the 2013 Republican candidate for New York City Comptroller stated, “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.”
“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,” Burnett added.
“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.”