Category: Archive

Police boxing tournament is KO’d

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

A boxing tournament pitting Irish police against New York’s Finest was decked last week after controversy erupted around the sponsoring organization.

The "Special St. Patrick’s Day Boxing Event" was set for Manhattan on Friday, March 2, and was billed as a fund-raiser for a political action committee called Protect & Serve America.

The group, which describes itself as nonpartisan, contributes money to what it views as "tough-on-crime" members of Congress.

But the group’s website also features a list of congressional members dubbed "Enemies of Public Safety."

All members of the House of Representatives and all Democrats, the "enemies" list includes Rep. Patrick Kennedy, son of Sen. Edward Kennedy, and Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, a co-chair of the congressional Ad Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs.

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The group’s "tough-on-crime" list — mostly Republican but with a handful of Democrats — also features prominent Irish American legislators, including Rep. Peter King and Jim Walsh, chairman of the Friends of Ireland.

Protect & Serve America’s publicity blurb for the eight-match boxing event stated that the group "joins with New York’s ‘Tough-on-Crime’ U.S representatives" in inviting people to attend the event.

Long Island’s King was named as a co-host for the event, as was Westchester County Rep. Sue Kelly. Kelly was described on the website as Protect & Serve’s House of Representatives liaison.

The tournament between the Garda Siochana’s boxing team and the NYPD team was slated for the Broadway Ballroom at the Manhattan Crowne Plaza hotel.

But no punches were thrown Friday night despite the fact that the group’s website was still advertising the event earlier that day.

Rep. King defended Protect & Serve America, telling the Echo that he viewed it as being "basically a good organization."

However, King said that he had not seen the group’s website with its "Enemies of Public Safety" list.

"That’s not the language I would use," he said.

The Long Island representative was also eager to speak well of one House member named on the list.

"Richard Neal is one of my closest friends. I go to his fund-raisers," King said.

Protect & Serve’s founder is former NYPD detective John Fleming. He could not be contacted as the Echo went to press.

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