The Irish Echo
By: Ray O’Hanlon
Nobody has ever been brought to book for the killing of Queens man Christopher O’Connor.
But the death of O’Connor 19 years ago is boosting current efforts to regulate the hiring of bouncers at bars and nightclubs in New York State.
A bill crafted by Brooklyn Assemblyman Felix Ortiz is intended to enforce vigorous background checks to ensure that bouncers do not have criminal records.
The immediate inspiration for the bill was the recent brutal slaying of John Jay College of Criminal Justice student Imette St. Guillen.
A bouncer at a Manhattan bar, The Falls, is facing a murder charge in the case.
The Ortiz bill was also written up with the O’Connor case in mind. The young Irish American died from injuries he sustained after being beaten at L’Amour East, a Queens nightclub, on April 17, 1987.
Family and friends have alleged that the beating was carried out by bouncers at the club. O’Connor managed to make a 911 call from a public phone before he died.
Michael Salem, who chairs the support group Parents of Murdered Children, was O’Connor’s employer as well as godfather. Salem has waged a campaign for justice in the O’Connor case that is now almost two decades old.
In a press statement Assemblyman Ortiz thanked Salem for his help in putting together his bill.