Rangel to Obama: Don’t Walk in Harlem Without Your ID


rangelPresident Obama better watch his back if he’s walking around Harlem without identification, Rep. Charles Rangel said. Rangel issued the warning after the Daily News asked what President Obama should do during his visit to New York. “Make certain he doesn’t run around in East Harlem unidentified,” Rangel cracked in a snide aside yesterday. The powerful Democrat was making a reference to the fatal shooting Thursday night of Omar Edwards, an off-duty cop. He was shot on E. 125th St. by Officer Andrew Dunton, who was on duty and in plainclothes.Edwards was black; Dunton is white. Police said Edwards, who had his gun out and was chasing a suspect, failed to identify himself as an officer after he was ordered to drop his weapon.

Rangel, a Democrat and chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, made the off-the-cuff remark as he left a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new Harlem park.

Earlier, asked about the shooting of Edwards, Rangel said there’s “no question that being [a person] of color puts you in jeopardy in communities like Harlem and East Harlem.

“Whether it’s me, whether it’s the [U.S.] attorney general, or indeed, whether it’s the President of the United States, running for a bus can jeopardize you – just because of your color – in a community like ours,” Rangel said.

An outside investigation would help assure the minority community that the incident was “just a mistake,” added the veteran lawmaker.

“This is a tragic incident that requires the federal government to review what has happened to make certain that these type of things don’t happen again,” he said.

The congressman also attended a rally with the Rev. Al Sharpton, who called for a federal investigation.

“The President of the United States knows while he is in this town this weekend [that] if he did not have Secret Service with him, they would not know he was the President of the United States,” Rangel said.

Representatives for Obama declined comment on Rangel’s warning.

Mayor Bloomberg attended the park ceremony, but left before Rangel’s comments. Earlier he told reporters that the city’s diverse police force reflects the population it protects.

“These men and women work together all day long. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find any of them that don’t have respect for each other and understand that we’re all here together,” Bloomberg said.

The mayor added yesterday that he trusts Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau to conduct a fair investigation of the case.

Campaigning in Brooklyn yesterday, Democratic mayoral candidate William Thompson called for an independent – if not necessarily a federal – investigation.

“I won’t say who should run it, but I think it’s important,” he said. “There are a lot of questions that remain.”

{NY Daily News/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}