Supporter Thrown To Ground Outside Latimer, Bowman Debate

The campaigns of both Westchester County Executive George Latimer and incumbent Rep. Jamaal Bowman are blaming each other for an incident involving a supporter being thrown to the ground outside their first primary debate for New York's 16th District seat. 

Westchester County Executive George Latimer (left) and NY-16 Rep. Jamaal Bowman (right) are currently embroiled in an intensifying primary race for the Congressional seat. 

Westchester County Executive George Latimer (left) and NY-16 Rep. Jamaal Bowman (right) are currently embroiled in an intensifying primary race for the Congressional seat. 

Photo Credit: Facebook via George Latimer/X via RepBowman

The incident happened before the candidates' debate on Monday, May 13 in White Plains, when a Bowman supporter approached Latimer, age 70, as he was walking into the building where the event was held.

According to the Bowman campaign, the supporter was "violently thrown to the ground" while trying to ask Latimer a question. 

However, according to a statement by Latimer's campaign, the supporter grabbed hold of the County Executive's hand in what appeared to be a handshake and refused to let go, interfering with Latimer entering the building for the debate. 

When Latimer's staff intervened, the person "dramatically reacted," the Latimer campaign said. Latimer's staff also added that the Bowman supporter had been posing as a Latimer supporter and had been holding a “George Latimer for Congress” sign. 

In a statement, Bowman, age 48, condemned the incident as a violent assault.

"I’m grateful our supporter wasn’t more severely injured, but this occurrence is deeply shameful," Bowman said, continuing, "My campaign has always been rooted in peace and love, and we will keep working to come together and build a world of peace, safety, and democracy for all." 

Bowman also referenced the incident and said Latimer has tried to portray him as an "angry Black man, while attempting to divide Democratic voters by our differences." 

However, in his own statement, Latimer accused Bowman of being involved in the incident. 

"We urge Bowman to be transparent about his involvement in today's stunt. Did he hire professional campaign provocateurs? Did he then instruct them to dramatically misrepresent the events to the media?" Latimer said, adding, "The reality is, the situation could have led to serious injuries. Inciting violence is unacceptable behavior for a sitting member of Congress or any candidate on the ballot."

"We are demanding to know the truth about what occurred today," Latimer continued. 

Both Latimer and Bowman are running for New York's 16th district, which is made up of the southern part of Westchester, including the suburban cities of White Plains, Mount Vernon, Yonkers, New Rochelle, and Rye, and a small portion of the northern Bronx.

The Congressional primary race has gained national attention thanks to each candidate's opposing views on the Israel-Gaza conflict. Since the Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel on Saturday, Oct. 7, and the subsequent military campaign that followed, Bowman has been one of the loudest voices calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, according to reports.

Meanwhile, Latimer has been more sympathetic towards Israel and visited the country weeks after the attack. He has since indicated support for an immediate cease-fire of at least six weeks, though.

The intensifying race has exposed tensions within the Democratic party over the Israel-Gaza conflict, which has become a large issue within the 16th District, where one of the country's densest populations of Jewish residents is located. 

Voters will choose between Latimer and Bowman on Tuesday, June 25.

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