Posted For: Marion Roberts
A left-wing state lawmaker who has pushed for cutting police funding first moved to the district she is seeking to represent in Congress because “safety issues” near “the projects” in Harlem prompted her to shack up with her tech bro then-fiancé in the Financial District, The Post has learned.
Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou (D-Lower Manhattan) told a local publication in 2016 — when she was campaigning to initially get elected to her current seat — that she headed to the wealthier Manhattan neighborhood because she witnessed a pair of disturbing crimes and fell victim to one.
“I actually was robbed when I was living in Harlem. My boyfriend at the time, my fiancé, didn’t think I was safe up there, so he told me to move in, and so that’s how I moved to the Financial District with him,” she explained in an interview with the Lo-Down NY. “He was already living there.”
Four years later, the since-updated issues section for her most recent Assembly campaign read, “She believes that we are long overdue for police reform in this country and that we need to defund millions from the police in order to put critical funding back into our social services, education, and housing.”
Niou bid to represent the newly configured Lower Manhattan-Brooklyn House seat has earned endorsements from “Sex and the City” star and former gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, left-wing group New York Communities for Change and state Sen. Julia Salazar (D-Bushwick), among others.
In 2016, while vying to replace disgraced ex-Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, she recalled to the local outlet that two separate frightening “incidents” drove her out of her apartment on 106th Street and 1st Avenue in East Harlem.
In one, she claimed she “watched a girl get raped on a pile of garbage, right across the street from the projects,” where she was living. In the other, the candidate said she witnessed a man “slam a girl’s head … into an ATM machine” and rob her before fleeing.
“We have a lot of safety issues,” Niou reportedly said in April 2016. “Some of the things that happen on the Lower East Side are very parallel, so these are all incidents that kind of led to me moving down to the Financial District and moving in with my partner.”
Niou — who since 2017 has represented the 65th District, which includes the Financial District, Battery Park City, Chinatown, and the Lower East Side — was engaged at the time to David Segura, who founded Giant Media.
Segura’s Instagram bio notes that he is an “Angel Investor in 60+ startups.”
During their relationship, several pictures Segura posted of the pair on Instagram show them leading a luxurious lifestyle. They include meals at multiple Michelin star restaurants — the Trump International Hotel and Tower’s Jean-Georges, Gramercy Tavern, and Somtum Der, along with other fine dining spots.
Though it’s unclear when exactly the engagement was broken off, at some point between October 26, 2016 and December 22 of that year, the “About Yuh-Line” section of Niou’s website was tweaked from “Yuh-Line lives on Broad Street with her fiancé and their handsome dog, Mr. Puds” to a version that removed “fiancé.”
Public records show that Segura in 2014 bought a $2.6 million Wall Street apartment where Niou started living before her successful 2016 bid, during which claimed she loaned her campaign $50,000 of her savings while earning $75,000 per year as chief of staff to as state Assemblyman.
Assemblywoman Inez Dickens — who has represented parts of Harlem in the City Council and Albany since 2006 — blasted Niou as “hypocritical” for leaving the area due to fear of crime before advocating for stripping the NYPD of resources.
“You move out of the neighborhood because you say it’s unsafe, then you say ‘defund the police?’ You turn around and desert the community — and then say you don’t need the police?” Dickens, a Democrat, fumed. “That’s hypocritical.”
“I didn’t leave my community, and there are times when I feel unsafe,” she added.
Matt Thomas — a left-wing activist and writer who is not affiliated with a candidate in the packed primary in which Niou is running — was unsurprised that the Democratic lawmaker had expressed sentiments that are antithetical to her more recently professed ideological leanings.
“I think it is commentary on the left’s unwillingness to admit that … people’s concerns about public safety are legitimate, or at the very least they are natural responses to seeing crime on the streets, [and] things like that,” he told The Post, adding, “there seems to be a real lack of willingness to admit that people don’t always have the wokest responses [to crime], and I think that this is a rather amusing illustration of that.”
Thomas explained that the “defund the police” slogan has since the summer 2020 George Floyd protests been rapidly and “uncritically” adopted by progressive figures, so “there’s a lot of people in that space whose basically entire careers, history and public statements beforehand are very different from a lot of the things that they’d been saying since summer 2020.”
“What’s funny is how aggressively Yuh-Line and others in that space attempt to discipline people for transgressions against woke propriety, when at the same time, they have a lot of the same breaches of that propriety in their very recent pasts,” Thomas added.
A rep for Niou declined to comment.
More recently, Niou, 38, has found herself in hot water over statements regarding police.
Earlier this year, the state legislator faced backlash for calling a large group of cops entering a subway station following a funeral for slain NYPD Officer Jason Rivera a “frightening show of intimidation,” and liking a tweet comparing the throng of officers to Nazis.
Months later, The Post reported that the left-wing lawmaker made bold claims of delivering COVID-19 pandemic help and “saving lives,” but had exaggerated the extent of her efforts.
In May, The Post reported that Niou — who was born in Taiwan and moved to the United States at a young age — had repeatedly falsely asserted that the Empire State’s budget funding and language completely omitted Asian Americans until she came to Albany.
Niou will in two months face a crowded field of contenders in New York’s 10th Congressional District, which spans from Lower Manhattan into Park Slope and nearby Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Candidates in the Aug. 23 Democratic primary include ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones of the Hudson Valley, Councilwoman Carlina Rivera of the East Village, along with head lawyer for ex-President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, Daniel Goldman.