New York

Prominent Attorney Dies After Setting Himself on Fire in NYC Park Protesting Fossil Fuels: Report

He reportedly took his life to protest pollution and the use of fossil fuels

A well-known attorney died Saturday morning after setting himself on fire in Brooklyn's Prospect Park in a reported protest against pollution.

Police said David Buckel, 60, died after setting himself on fire at the northeast corner of the park. 

Authorities were called to the park after a passerby told nearby officers there was a fire on the grass around 6:15 a.m. Saturday, police sources said.

The NYPD said a suicide note was found nearby, but it would not confirm its contents. Buckel reportedly took his life to protest the use of fossil fuels. 

He was known for being the lead attorney in the case of a transgender man, whose murder inspired the Hillary Swank film "Boys Don't Cry."

He was also recognized for bringing the case Lewis v. Harris as part of the Lambda Legal Marriage Project, which resulted in a New Jersey Supreme Court victory that advanced the rights of same-sex couples.

“The news of David’s death is heartbreaking. This is a tremendous loss for our Lambda Legal family, but also for the entire movement for social justice," Lambda spokesperson Camilla Taylor said.

Buckel was also a committed community composter. The New York Department of Sanitation issued a statement saying it was mourning Buckel.

"David operated an organics processing site, wrote articles and was steadfast in his commitment to local processing. His loss will be felt deeply by all he touched," it said.

Buckel lived nearby the park, cops said. Police sources said his family received a text message from him before he died.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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