After The New York Post revealed that the spokesman for Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez had spent time in prison for attacking an Army recruitment center in the Bronx, Mr. Rodriguez released the spokesman from his staff on Friday.
Mr. Rodriguez, a Democrat who represents Upper Manhattan, said he learned of the criminal history of the spokesman, David Segal, on Thursday. The two men had worked together for more than a year.
“Yesterday, I got a call from the central office and The Post asking for a reaction,” Mr. Rodriguez said on Friday, referring to the City Council’s office.
In 2005, at the height of the Iraq war, Mr. Segal, then 19, was arrested after antiwar activists tried to set fire to an Army recruitment center in the Parkchester section of the Bronx.
The police arrested a 19-year-old Manhattan College junior who they said threw a burning rag into an Army recruiting station that was closed for the night in the Parkchester section of the Bronx, and jammed the door locks with powerful glue. He was caught carrying a handwritten note declaring that a “wave of violence” would occur throughout the Northeast […] aimed at the “military industrial complex” in response to American military actions, the police said.
He was wearing rubber gloves, according to the complaint filed in the case, and carrying a backpack with glue and maps locating the recruiting station. He was charged with destroying government property and released on Feb. 1 after posting $15,000 in cash bail.
Mr. Segal was convicted and spent six months in federal prison and four months under house arrest, and he had to pay over $4,100 in fines, according to The Post.
Mr. Rodriguez, who has a history of street-level activism and was arrested in November at Zuccotti Park during the Occupy Wall Street protests, said in a statement Friday that he and Mr. Segal had “arrived at a mutual understanding that he would no longer work in this office.”
Mr. Segal told Politicker that although his political views on the Iraq War were the same today, his approach to activism had evolved. “I’ve found other ways that I think I can give back to society and advocate for working and middle class people,” he said.
Mr. Rodriguez said that background checks for City Council employees, like Mr. Segal, were the responsibility of the human resource department at City Hall.
“I as a council member don’t run a background check for anyone who applies for a job,” he said. “It is the central office that has to run a background check.”
The City Council press office did not respond to a request for comment on Mr. Segal’s background check.