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Davis founded 'Stop the Violence' group

Councilman James Davis
Councilman James Davis

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York City Councilman James E. Davis, who was shot and killed by a gunman Wednesday at City Hall, is a former police officer who devoted his political life to stopping violence.

The gunman died after being shot by a police bodyguard for the city council speaker, a police source told CNN. (Full story)

Davis, 41, was elected in 2001 to represent New York City Council's 35th District in Brooklyn. He became active in politics after the Crown Heights riots in 1991, and his district includes that Brooklyn neighborhood.

"He was one of the more active, vocal and involved council members," said Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields.

"This is a tremendous loss and certainly my prayers and thoughts go out to his family as we wait for more information."

Before winning office, Davis worked as a corrections officer at Rikers Island, a New York City police officer and an instructor at the police academy, according to his Web site.

In 1990, Davis founded a non-profit organization called "LOVE YOURSELF" Stop the Violence. The group is dedicated to halting gun crime, teen pregnancy and drug use.

He ran unsuccessfully for the State Assembly in 1998 and 2000. His 1998 bid resulted in his dismissal from the NYPD due to a city charter that forbids officers from running for public office. He sued the city and spent years wrangling in the courts before the case was finally set aside last fall.

Davis sat on the City Council's Public Safety, Civil Service and Labor and Consumer Affairs committees and served as chairman of the subcommittee on Juvenile Violence.

He recently made local headlines for his criticism of City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, who is trying to change the council's term-limit rules.

Current law limits members to two four-year terms. But redistricting forces some members to leave after six years, a change that would require Miller to retire at the end of December.


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