State Rep. Carlos Henriquez appears in court during his arraignment in 2012 on assault charges. Credit: Boston Herald/Pool photo
An incarcerated representative who was convicted of assaulting a former girlfriend wants to separate "opinion from fact," and on Wednesday publicly raised questions about the actions of his accuser, jurors, the media and his State House colleagues.
A tweet sent from the official Twitter account of Dorchester Rep. Carlos Henriquez, 37, linked to a five-page statement that urged a boycott of media outlets, denounced domestic violence, and argued his innocence. It also expressed disappointment in how his trial was carried out, and how members of the House have handled the fall out.
Following a seven-hour House Ethics Committee hearing Tuesday, the panel unanimously recommended his expulsion from the Legislature.
On Jan. 15 Henriquez was convicted on two charges of assault and battery stemming from allegations that he kidnapped, backhanded, choked and punched a 23-year-old woman in a rental car in July 2012.
In the statement, Henriquez said he was initially saddened by how quickly some members of his community "devalued, discarded and disposed" of him after the conviction.
"What concerns me most is that if the community will do that to me, what chance do the poorer, less educated, or addicted black, Latino, white and Asian men and women have of returning home, needing a second chance to get back on their feet," wrote Henriquez.
He also called on those who do "not like the portrayal of me, men who look like me or of our community in the media" to "stop supporting that media outlet with their dollars and viewing time."
Henriquez is currently serving a six-month sentence, and has requested a leave of absence from the House as he awaits an appeal. He has not resigned, despite calls from Gov. Deval Patrick, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and others.
Read more of Henriquez's statement at Metro.us/Boston.
The lengthy public statement can be viewed in full online, but some highlights of Henriquez's statement are below:
It is a fact that I willingly appeared before the House Ethics Committee, knowing I would be in shackles and aware of how the media would exploit that image. It is my opinion that while being shackled bothers me, it is minor compared to being falsely accused, convicted and incarcerated.
It is my opinion that if the community does not like the portrayal of me, men who look like me or of our community in the media, then they should stop supporting that media outlet with their dollars and viewing time.
It is a fact that many victims live in fear and silence. It is my opinion that we must do more to protect them and encourage them to speak.
It is a fact that I have been of accused by a woman that I was dating of kidnapping her for two hours, backhanding her across her face, punching her in the chest, holding her down and choking her, taking her cell phone and its SIM card.
It is a fact that on December 2, 2012, the eve before the start of the pre-trial, she called me several times from a blocked number, insisting on seeing me so we could talk in person and “make things right.” She had a friend drop her at my home because her friend felt she was not able to drive herself since she had been drinking and taking Ambien.
It is a fact that Northeastern Police Officer Brandos, the first to hear her story, noted in his report that she described the vehicle and stated “he’s a politician.” He also noted that other than scrapes on her shin, she showed no visible marks. However, the jury were presented photos of more than a dozen bruises on her torso, legs and arms.
It is a fact that the Commonwealth withheld evidence.
It is a fact that the jury was composed of all white men and women. It is my opinion that an all-white jury can raise doubts about fairness. It is also my opinion that a jury of all one race does not mean that it cannot be fair
The judge offered no stay of execution for me to see my family or prepare my personal finances.
It is a fact that the judge did cite that jail was necessary because I showed no remorse. Remorse is related to guilt. Therefore, asking me to show remorse after the verdict is a violation of my 5th Amendment rights.