UPDATE (at bottom): City’s law department tells RAW STORY that a new 9/11 investigation is ‘not a proper subject to be placed before the voters’ …
A lead actor from the popular FX television show “Rescue Me” joined a large group of 9/11 activists and survivors on Sunday in a march from New York City’s Battery Park to city hall.
During an afternoon rally in the park, Daniel Sunjata, who plays the role of Franco Rivera in the firefighter drama featuring actor Dennis Leary, took the stage with an impassioned call for a new investigation.
The march was held to support the NYC CAN coalition, which is currently engaged in a court battle with city hall over the legality of their ballot measure calling for a new 9/11 investigation.
The group has gathered over 80,000 signatures from New Yorkers in support of its ballot initiative, and even won a recent legal skirmish over a challenge to the validity if its petition’s signatures. The city’s challenge to the initiative’s legality continues, however, with a court referee recently advising the judge to find for the city.
An NYC CAN media advisory, which refers to the 9/11 Commission Report as a “disgrace,” notes that the group’s lawyers were to file a motion for reconsideration on Monday, Sept. 28.
“We have received, for our efforts, a slap in the face and a kick in the mouth,” said Sunjata, speaking at the NYC CAN rally on Sunday. “Although 80,000 New Yorkers have voice their desire, in writing, to include on November’s mayoral ballot the referendum for a new and actual investigation into 9/11, New York City has responded by taking the position that it has no jurisdiction in that matter.”
“No jurisdiction?!” he shouted. “No jurisdiction into the murder of 3,000 of its own citizens? No jurisdiction or the intent of seeking such jurisdiction. Bloomberg.”
A ruling on the city’s motion for summary judgment on the initiative’s legality was expected today, although the group’s new motion would appear to delay that for at least a little longer. The group says it expects a decision one way or another later this week.
“A favorable ruling would likely be appealed by the City pushing the issue to the Appellate Court,” an NYC CAN advisory predicted. “If the Petition overcomes all legal challenges, goes to November ballot and the referendum passes, it would lead to the creation of a local, independent commission with subpoena power that would be tasked with comprehensively reinvestigating the attacks.”
“While the specter of 9/11 is raised repeatedly, ghoulishly, dangled before us to justify the dismemberment of our Constitution, the trampling of our civil liberties,” said Sunjata. “Questioning 9/11 itself? Oh, that is strictly prohibited. Do you hear that, New York? Do you hear that, family members? Cops? Firefighters? First responders? Your government has just told you, again, again, that you are good enough to die for them, but that asking questions about the inciting event is un-American, unpatriotic and just quite simply out of bounds.”
Sunjata’s support for a fresh investigation into the attacks is well known to regular “Rescue Me” viewers. Earlier this year, a “Rescue Me” subplot even incorporated his belief that the attacks were an “inside job.”
Other speakers at Sunday’s rally included “9/11 family members Bob McIlvaine and Manny Badillo, New York University’s Professor of Media Studies [and] Mark Crispin Miller,” noted NYC CAN.
Kate O’Brien Ahlers, New York City’s law department communications director, commented to RAW STORY: “As the legal referee recommended — and the City agrees — the focus of this referendum is not a proper subject to be placed before the voters under applicable law.”
In an initial response, Ahlers attributed the city’s position to the court’s supposed ruling, not the legal referee. It was later corrected in an e-mail. The court has not yet ruled on the ballot initiative.
A majority of the NYC CAN presentation, which includes Sunjata’s speech (from 18:38 to 23:57), is available here.
This video is from YouTube, broadcast Sept. 27, 2009.
This story was updated from a previous version to reflect the city’s position on the NYC CAN ballot initiative.