House Dem Congressional Campaign Committee hires fmr. violent gangbanger, triggerman for top post

The House Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has hired a former gang member, who has since become an advocate for criminal justice reform, to a top post within the organization.

Led by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), the DCCC has brought aboard Dyjuan Tatro to be the organization’s senior diversity and inclusion adviser, according to the New York Post.

The paper said that the former street gangster appeared in a PBS documentary that aired in 2019 called, “College Behind Bars,” which focused on several inmates who were working on college degrees via a New York program known as the Bard Prison Initiative. 

Tatro managed to earn a bachelor’s degree through the program, The Post reported, as he was serving six years on charges of conspiracy racketeering. 


(Credit: PBS)

When he was convicted on those charges in 2011, he was already serving time for a 2006 conviction for shooting a pair of rival gang bangers.

Tatro, who was known to be a “triggerman” at the time for the Original Gangsta Killas street gang that operated in Albany, confessed to the two shootings as well as a “razor-slashing” of someone else in 2002. He also confessed to dealing drugs, The Post noted.

Tatro told police that at one point he was making $12,000 a month peddling drugs and that he was involved in a conspiracy to distribute 50 grams of crack.

He was released from prison in 2017 and began to advocate to provide prisoners with more access to education via the BPI, which is funded by Bard College, The Post reported.

While he was in the program, Tatro was one of a three-man inmate team from the Eastern New York Correctional Facility that managed to defeat a team of undergrads from Harvard University, which briefly made national headlines.

“When it comes to crime and criminality in America, the thinking is reductionist,” Tatro told The Hill in November 2019 regarding the College Behind Bars documentary. “We tend to reduce people down to the [crimes] that they have committed. One of the things that the film does is bring audiences to acknowledge the humanity of the people in the film.”

He added that inmates must deal with a “huge culture of low expectations, so being able to really turn that on its head and defy those expectations was really, really meaningful.”

Nevertheless, Republicans were critical of the DCCC posting, arguing that it continues to demonstrate that Democrats are not serious about being tougher on crime.

“It’s certainly on-brand for criminal-coddling Democrats, but the rest of America will find it disturbing that a murderous gang member is holding a prominent position with the DCCC,” New York State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy told The Post.

“Second chances are one thing, but I would have to question Congressman Maloney’s judgment to put someone with such a violent past at the top of their organization,” Langworthy added.

Maloney, however, defended his decision to hire Tatro and said the former gang member’s story is one of success.

“Dyjuan is a formerly incarcerated person who has worked hard to change the trajectory of his life through education and service to his community,” a DCCC spokesman told the outlet. “He has served his time for the crimes he committed and is now a national leader in the bipartisan movement to reform our criminal justice system and bring meaningful improvements to the education system in American prisons.”

Tatro, who has worked on some of Maloney’s campaigns, expressed gratitude for the opportunity.

“I want to thank Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney for his commitment to assembling talented & diverse DCCC teams,” he said.

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Jon Dougherty

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