Lawmakers back Stewart-Cousins, denounce threats

Surrounded by colleagues Wednesday, state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins denounced apparent threats made against her at her Yonkers office.

Yonkers Police Commissioner Edmund Hartnett believes the senator was clearly targeted twice. Papers and files were found scattered at her Yonkers office inside the Hudson Valley Bank building on April 3. A ceiling tile was also found displaced.

On April 11, someone used a BB gun to shoot out windows at the office.

"We were shocked again when it occurred," said Stewart-Cousins. "My staff member, who was seated at her desk, was certainly surprised as we all were. ? We looked at the hole with amazement and obviously did what anyone would do. We called the police."

The senator, who initially planned to remain silent as police investigated the incidents, said she changed her mind after speaking to Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith. Smith, who joined Stewart-Cousins Wednesday, said she isn't the only lawmaker to be threatened.

"My personal life was threatened ? my personal property," Smith said. "Another senator's life was threatened. And so that's three times too many. We are here today because this is the straw that broke the camel's back."

Smith wants stricter penalties for people who threaten lawmakers or vandalize their offices.

For Stewart-Cousins' news conference, go to Channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

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