New York Congressman Adriano Espaillat and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. have filed a grievance with the court system against Aaron Schlossberg, an attorney widely believed to be the man who threatened to call ICE on a group of people for speaking Spanish at a Fresh Kitchen in midtown Manhattan on Tuesday.
Sent to the state court system's disciplinary committee on Thursday afternoon, the formal legal complaint identifies Schlossberg as the source of the "viral racist rant." Here's an excerpt:
There is simply no place for the scourge of racism and the vulgarity of bigotry in our great nation. Our country, a nation of immigrants hailing from countries around the globe, who have earnestly and diligently worked to make our nation extraordinary and worked to, as President Lincoln emphasized while quoting the Preamble to the Constitution during his first Inaugural Address, form a more perfect Union.
The egregiousness of bald-faced racism, in all of its ugliness, must be rejected and replaced with the kindness, solidarity and sense of togetherness that has made this great American experiment in democracy a shining example for all the world to see and admire for over two centuries. The audacity to profile and verbally assault innocent bystanders and customers in a public commercial location is a violation of our civil society.
We watched Aaron’s video and we were disgusted. We are filing this formal grievance to the State Grievance Committee because to affirm that such misconduct and behavior will not, and must never be tolerated.
During the now infamous tirade, Schlossberg allegedly berated a Fresh Kitchen manager, telling him, "your clients and your staff are speaking Spanish to staff when they should be speaking English...My guess is they're undocumented, so my next call is to ICE to have each one of them taken out of my country. If they have the balls to come here and live off my money—I pay for their welfare. I pay for their ability to be here."
The man who racially accosted two women speaking Spanish in New York City yesterday — Aaron Schlossberg — doesn’t seem to like all the attention he’s receiving.
That’s the thing about bigots. They’re all self-absorbed cowards.
— Simran Jeet Singh (@SikhProf) May 17, 2018
While the letter does not explicitly call for Schlossberg to lose his legal license, the Bronx Borough President told Gothamist that he personally felt disbarment would be appropriate. "Diversity is supposed to be the strength of this city, but here we are fighting against the same vitriol and invective that's coming out of the White House," Diaz Jr. said. "Someone who has the privilege to be a member of the bar should not conduct themselves this way,"
"It was disgusting. It was ugly. And to make matters worse, this isn't even the first time he's done that," Diaz Jr. added, referring to reports of Schlossberg flipping off pro-Palestinian demonstrators, and another incident in which he called a stranger an "ugly fucking foreigner."
— Isaac Saul (@Ike_Saul) May 25, 2017
According to a local attorney who has previously encountered Schlossberg in court, the racist rant was "on par with his normal behavior. He basically looks like he's always on coke. That's just the way he is."
Earlier today, Schlossberg was confronted by paparazzo at his home on West 60th Street, and by a PIX 11 reporter outside a Queens courtroom. He's thus far remained silent about the video. Repeated attempts to reach Schlossberg by phone and email have not been successful.
EXCLUSIVE: Just happened - I confronted Aaron Schlossberg outside court in Queens. He surprisingly had nothing to say about his racist rant. This is the FIRST time we see him after he went viral. @PIX11News pic.twitter.com/e1T6S4kLTU
— Andrew Ramos (@AndrewRamosTV) May 17, 2018
Reached for comment, Seth Hoy, a spokesperson for the NYC Commission on Human Rights, told Gothamist, "New York City is home to one of the strongest anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws in the country, which includes protections against discrimination based on immigration status or national origin." Violators of those laws can be fined up to $250,000 in civil penalties, and compensatory damages may be awarded to victims.
"Anyone who has been the victim of discrimination or harassment should report it to the Commission by calling 718-722-3131," Hoy added. "The Commission will never ask about an individual’s immigration status. Complaints can also be reported anonymously."