A Democrat state senator from New York who is closely allied with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Bernie Sanders has turned himself in to the police after being accused of strangling his wife during a domestic dispute. This senator has also voted in favor of banning chokeholds by police.
Local reports have confirmed that state Senator Luis Sepúlveda has turned himself in to the NYPD’s 48th Police Precinct in the Bronx district he represents. He has been accused of strangling his wife during an altercation on January 9, and has been charged with criminal obstruction of breathing.
#BREAKING – Bronx State Senator @LuisSepulvedaNY just turned himself into the 48th precinct, according to a police source. He’s accused of strangling his wife & a complaint was filed Saturday we’re told.
— Jessica Cunnington (@JessicaNews12) January 12, 2021
According to the Washington Free Beacon, “Sepúlveda has become a leading voice among New York progressives and received attention from national political figures such as Sanders, who used his popular campaign website to spotlight Sepúlveda alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) as a candidate worthy of support.”
“We need to continue building and strengthening our movement from the ground up by electing more progressives to state and local positions, and Luis Sepúlveda is counting on our support,” the Sanders website says.
Sepúlveda has fundraised with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the mayor was even a featured speaker at Sepúlveda’s 2018 election night party when he was elected to the state senate.
After George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis, the state senator pushed for legislation in New York to ban police chokeholds.
In June, Sepulveda told lawmakers that the tactics used by police have led to the death and “utter humiliation” of many people of color.
“I can speak from personal experience. When I was 18 years old, I was arrested because a police officer didn’t like the way I looked at him,” Sepulveda said as New York’s legislature debated passing laws hindering police officers’ ability to do their jobs.
New York’s Senate Bill S6670B, which has been signed by the Governor, “establishes the crime of aggravated strangulation for police officers or peace officers where such officer commits the crime of criminal obstruction or breathing or blood circulation, or uses a chokehold or similar restraint, and causes serious physical injury or death.”
Sepulveda voted in favor of this bill along with many others that hinder the function of law and order, according to police.
WBFO reported that the New York City Police Benevolent Association referred to S6670B as “an attack on law enforcement.”
Democrats in the state legislature have removed Sepúlveda from his post as chair of the state senate’s Committee on Crime Victims, Crime, and Corrections.
“I am immediately removing Senator Sepúlveda as chair of his committee and from all his committee assignments. I take these allegations extremely seriously and will be monitoring this situation closely,” said majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins in a statement.
Prior to Stewart-Cousins’ announcement, Republican minority leader Rob Ortt had called for Sepúlveda to lose his committee leadership post.
“As chair of the Crime Victims, Crime, and Correction Committee, Senator Sepúlveda has an obligation to protect vulnerable individuals. As an alleged abuser himself, he has no right leading that committee, and these allegations must be promptly investigated. If these allegations are true, he should resign immediately,” Ortt said.
This may not be the first time Sepúlveda has committed domestic violence. Democrat Nathalia Fernandez, a member of the state assembly, claimed in a post on Twitter that this was not the first domestic violence allegation against him. She also demanded that he resign immediately.
“Unfortunately, this is not the first time allegations of domestic violence have been brought against Senator Sepúlveda. We need leadership that empowers women—I’m calling for the senator to submit his resignation,” Fernandez wrote.