A Manhattan-based federal judge who called the City of Newburgh "the most pathetic place in the State of New York" during the sentencing of a gang member has drawn the ire of the city's mayor, along with an invitation to tour the city.
In a court transcript obtained by News12, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon was quoted as saying: "You all know, everybody knows how I feel about this, that there is one industry in Newburgh, it is selling drugs. There is one law in Newburgh: It is the law of the street. Newburgh is the most pathetic place in the State of New York."
McMahon made the remarks last week, during the sentencing of Bloods gang member Taylor Fields, who pleaded guilty to participating in the April 30, 2009, slaying of Tyrik Legette near 156 Lander St.
Fields got 20 years behind bars.
"I have no idea if Judge McMahon has been to Newburgh or not, but it's a pretty judgmental statement," City of Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy told News12. "We have so many great things going on in this city. So to try to bring such a negative view to a city where almost 30,000 people live is an unfair statement."
Fields' defense painted a picture of an abused child who entered gang life after coming to Newburgh with a crack-addicted mother at age 14. Kennedy told News12 the story gives the entire city a chance to take a look at what happens when a family fails, and how the community can step up.
On Wednesday, Kennedy invited McMahon to Newburgh for a personal tour. A spokesman at Kennedy's office Thursday wasn't sure whether the judge had responded. Messages left for both Kennedy and McMahon brought no response from either.
It's not the first time the City of Newburgh has faced negative publicity over its crime issues. In January, the website NeighborhoodScout.com ranked the city No. 9 among the most dangerous in the nation, based on 2011 data. Kennedy challenged the data at the time, claiming that the website used Town of Newburgh and City of Newburgh totals mixed together.