Democratic New York State Sen. Kevin Parker on Tuesday told a Republican staffer in a tweet to "kill yourself!" — all over a parking placard accusation.
What's the background?
It started with a tweet from last week about an "arrogant scofflaw" from the state Senate blocking a bike lane with a vehicle, Gothamist said.
The whole of the 2nd ave bike lane btw 43rd and 44th is blocked by @placardabuse-rs, like this arrogant scofflaw fr… https://t.co/i79mAlE3H4— Chesney Parks (@Chesney Parks) 1544751373.0
Candice Giove — deputy communications director of the New York Senate Republican Majority — earlier Tuesday responded to the tweet, noting that she determined the placard number was assigned to Parker but that the car's license plate number did not match the number on the placard. Giove added that Parker "either used it in another car or gave it to someone to use, both of which are not permitted."
With that, Parker unleashed his two-word invective — which he soon deleted, Gothamist said:
Oh my word. https://t.co/DB7KgEZj8s— Jon Campbell (@Jon Campbell) 1545150437.0
Giove seemed more than a little shocked, asking on Twitter, "Did a Senator just write this to me?"
Parker then replied with a mea culpa of sorts: "I sincerely apologize. I used a poor choice of words. Suicide is a serious thing and and should not be made light of."
@candicegiove I sincerely apologize. I used a poor choice of words. Suicide is a serious thing and and should not be made light of.— Senator Kevin Parker (@Senator Kevin Parker) 1545153528.0
What else did Parker have to say?
Parker told the Times-Union he stands by his apology to Giove — and criticized her in more detail.
"This is a tempest in a teapot," he told the paper. "The fact is, the person we're talking about here is a 'Twitter troll' who represents a conference that on every issue has been on the wrong side of history — a women's right to choose, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, voting rights."
The Times-Union added that Parker disputed that his comments were insensitive about suicide and that the conduct of Giove — who previously was a communications staffer for the Independent Democratic Conference — was the problem.
"I'm sure people in my district don't care," Parker told the paper. "Come on, people don't care about that. What Republican legislation has there been for suicide prevention? When [Giove] was with the IDC, where was the anti-suicide legislation she was putting forth?"
"Candice is the one coming after me," he added to the Times-Union. "Where's Candice record been on suicide?"
The paper said Parker declined to answer a question about the parking placard controversy but stood by his apology.
"I am standing by it, absolutely. I should not have said it," Parker told the Times-Union. "But as communications director for the IDC, she was on the wrong side of history on every issue, pitting people against each other."
Anything else about Parker?
Gothamist said Parker "is known for having something of a temper:"
More from the Times-Union:
Parker had a tumultuous time when the Senate Democrats last held the majority in 2009-2010. In May 2009, Parker was charged with attacking a New York Post photographer and was eventually stripped of a leadership position. He was convicted on a misdemeanor charge.
Also in 2009, Parker memorably called then-Gov. David Paterson a "coke snorting, staff-banging governor."
Parker's temper has caused him other problems, including a 2005 incident when he punched a traffic agent after being given a ticket (the charges were dropped when he agreed to take an anger management class), and a profane 2010 dispute with Democratic state Sen. Diane Savino during a closed-door conference meeting.
He had not had such public issues in more recent years.
Parker did recently raise eyebrows at a state Business Council session, where he advised that in lobbying the new, more diverse Senate Democratic majority, interest groups shouldn't "show up to a meeting with four white guys."
Gothamist added that Parker also called fellow state senators "racists" and "white supremacists." The outlet said it reached out to Parker and Giove for comment "and will update when we hear back from them."
Parker was re-elected in November to Brooklyn's 21st Senate District, Gothamist said, noting he's apparently raising money for a New York City comptroller run.
He also proposed legislation in November with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams that would allow New York law enforcement officials to review gun buyers' social media and internet search histories prior to purchases.
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and so it's important for us to continue to review our laws as it relates to access to guns and other kinds of weapons," Parker told WPIX-TV.