photo by Boyd Loving
‘A big act’: Newark mayor’s ‘urban legends’
By Michael Gartland
September 21, 2013 | 8:06pm
Gunshots rang out between the red-brick apartment buildings at Pilgrim Village, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker ran to the noise. When Wazn Miller — the 19-year-old who was shot and bleeding — fell, Booker was there to catch him.
It was April 19, 2004. Just another day in Newark.
“It seemed like a whirlwind was going on around me, so much was flashing through my mind as I sat there just trying to hold this child as his breathing stopped,” Booker told an audience at Yale three years later. “The ambulance finally came, pushed me out of the way, ripped open his shirt where I now saw three gunshot wounds in his front, one in his side — and he was dead.”
Booker’s breathless retelling of Miller’s tragic end was meant to illustrate one of the “lowest points” in his life in the Brick City. It’s the type of story that has made him famous and wealthy, a national figure who pundits say looks increasingly “presidential” and will be, more than likely, New Jersey’s next US senator.
The only problem is, the story isn’t completely true.