NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- For Kwamain Dixon, it's been a long, strange trip from Rodney King Rioter to a three-time loser crack cocaine dealer to Board of Education Employee, Democratic Party official and confidant to a man who may be the next Mayor of New Rochelle.
Kwamain Dixon, 38, is a District Leader from District 3 for the New Rochelle Democratic Party with close connections to District 3 Councilman Jared Rice (D), touted by many as the next Mayor of New Rochelle if current Mayor Noam Bramson succeeds in his bid to oust Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
Dixon has been involved in Rice's "Youth Works" training program initiative.
When not on the campaign trail or working as a community activist, Dixon works as a custodian for the New Rochelle Board of Education. According to the FindTheData.org web site, Dixon was hired by the school district in 2009.
Dixon is also a drug dealer with numerous arrests and convictions over the years.
Dixon first came to the public's attention at the age of 16 when he was interviewed by The New York Times.
In May 1992, Dixon was an active and enthusiastic participant in a violent and destructive riot which broke out in New Rochelle in the midst of a "peaceful" demonstration authorized by the New Rochelle Board of Education to protest the verdict in the Rodney King case.
Kwamain Dixon, who is 16 years old and lives in the Hartley Houses, one of city's three public housing projects, seems to know exactly what happened. He said he felt exhilarated as he and other youths smashed windows and chased a police car from the project's parking lot on May 1.
"We felt good because we had the cops on the run," he said. "They were running from us. We weren't running from them, for once."
The teen-ager said he felt angry about everything, not just the King verdict, as he threw rocks at motorists and shouted, "No Justice, No Peace!" He said he was the subject himself of a police search for selling drugs when he had none.
"It was worth it," he said of the May 1 disturbance. "We're just tired of being pushed around. It made me feel good to get all of my frustration out."
Despite his protestations to the contrary, Dixon is a known drug dealer with a long criminal history.
Talk of the Sound has learned that some of the cases brought against Dixon have been sealed so his arrest record may not be complete. What is known is extensive nonetheless.
The first record on file with the New Rochelle Police Department is an arrest for Criminal Possession Controlled Substance and Trespass in 1995.
Dixon plead guilty to Criminal Possession Controlled Substance. Criminal prosecution was waived and he was sentenced to 100 hours of Community Service.
He was arrested again in March 1999 for Criminal Sale Controlled Substance and Criminal Possession Controlled Substance. Records indicate the substance was cocaine, likely crack cocaine based on news accounts at the time.
Dixon plead guilty to Criminal Sale Controlled Substance on May 2, 2000 and was sentenced to 3 years probation and his drivers license was suspended.
Dixon was caught in a undercover police sting operation in October 2000 and arrested again on February 7, 2001 for for two counts of Criminal Possession Controlled Substance and one count of Criminal Sale Controlled Substance. Records indicate the substance was cocaine, again, likely crack cocaine.
At about the same time he was caught in the sting in New Rochelle, he was arrested in White Plains, NY for Attempted Criminal Sale Controlled Substance. He plead guilty in March 2000. He was sentenced in May 2001 to one year in the Westchester County Jail. The records in this case were sealed.
In February 2001, Dixon was arrested again, this time on a charge for third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony, which carried a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
The Journal News reported on the drug sweep which netted Dixon on February 8, 2001 in an article entitled "Undercover crack investigation nets 11 arrests".
Arrested and arraigned were New Rochelle residents Marc Newman, 21, of 24 Crosby Place; Rohan Bennett, 29, no address available; Kwamain Dixon, 25, of 33 Lincoln Ave.; James Moore, 36, of 88 Coligni Ave.; Brian Callands, 33, of 550 Fifth Ave.; and Jonathan Moore, of 127 Sickles Ave. All were charged with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony.
"Clearly, the preference of crack-cocaine as the drug of choice has subsided since we initiated these long-term undercover operations in the '80s," Kealy said, "and as operations go, this is smaller compared to past years."
In fact, police weren't even publicizing a code name for this sting. In 1999, 45 people were arrested on drug sale and other charges after a five-month undercover operation dubbed "Operation Street Sweeper," and nearly 50 people were arrested in 1995 in "Operation Snakebite." The record sweep, which netted nearly 100 arrests, was 1991's "Operation Crackdown."
Dixon was arrested again in September 2008 and charged with Fleeing an Officer in Motor Vehicle, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle and Reckless Driving. He was convicted of two misdemeanor charges in that case.
In May 2010, Dixon was in Family Court and ended up in trouble with the judge in his case. He was charged and plead guilty to obstruction of government administration, and 2 counts of disorderly conduct. The case was sealed.
In 2011, he was charged with Criminal Contempt and sentenced to a one year conditional discharge commencing on January 17, 2012 which ended in January 2013.
Later in 2011, Dixon was caught up in another police drug sting operation, Operation City Sweeper, one of the largest series of drug arrests in New Rochelle history. Dixon was arrested on a charge of Disorderly Conduct.
Also in 2011, Dixon was featured in a Journal News article by Ned Rauch expressing his concerns that Hartley House residents (such as himself) would be negatively impacted by replacing the federally-funded Hartley Houses development with Heritage Homes, a new development based on a public-private partnership.
The effort to replace the aging Hartley Houses, the public-housing complex just blocks from City Hall, kicked off in November with a ceremony full of hope, speeches and applause.
But Kwamain Dixon, who has lived in the 240-unit complex for years, said while Heritage Homes, as the project is known, may bring the promise of nice new apartments, its construction has put residents' safety at risk.
"It seems like the advancement of this project is more important than the safety of the residents that are living here," he said. "Change is good, but at whose expense and at what cost?".
Hartley House residents with criminal records are not eligible to apply for units in the new Heritage Homes.
Despite this, sources tell Talk of the Sound Dixon managed to land a coveted apartment in Phase I of the Heritage Homes development.
Dixon was contacted for this story but declined to be interviewed.