Tag Archives: Bill Bratton

Queens man ‘ready to die’ for ISIS arrested on terrorism charges: FBI

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

File Photo

A 22-year-old man who claimed to be “ready to die” for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) was arrested at his Queens home by federal agents Thursday morning for allegedly making efforts to support the Mideast terrorist group.

Ali Saleh, whose exact address was not disclosed, allegedly made multiple unsuccessful attempts to travel to the area under ISIS control. His first failed attempt reportedly came when he booked a reservation for a flight from John F. Kennedy Airport to Istanbul, which he did not make.

“I’m ready to die for the Caliphate, prison is nothing,” he allegedly tweeted days before the scheduled flight.

In July of this year, prosecutors said, Saleh made additional attempts to travel to the Middle East and support ISIS, initially booking a flight from JFK to Cairo, Egypt. He allegedly used his Twitter account to reach out to an ISIS supporter known to instruct followers on how to travel to Libya, where ISIS is also present.

But Saleh did not board the flight to Cairo after speaking with airline personnel, federal agents said. In the days that followed, he made additional attempts to board flights bound for the Middle East out of Newark Liberty and Philadelphia International airports, only to be refused boarding.

Undeterred, authorities noted, Saleh then traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, and attempted to board a train bound for Toronto, Canada, with the alleged intention of picking up a flight there to the Middle East. When Canadian authorities denied him permission to board the train to enter Canada, according to the criminal complaint, Saleh took a train back to New York City.

“Saleh was relentless in his attempts to travel to the Middle East to join a terrorist organization,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Kelly Currie.

“By his own words, Ali Saleh was willing to pledge allegiance to, and die for ISIL, an organization that has called for terrorist attacks against the United States,” added Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. “Saleh’s attempts to travel to Syria and ISIL’s battlefields were halted by good intelligence and smart law enforcement.”

Saleh is the latest Queens resident to be busted for allegedly attempting to support terrorist organizations. In April, two Jamaica women were indicted on accusations of plotting an attack within the U.S. using, as one example, explosive devices similar to those used in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Then in June, a 20-year-old Flushing man named Munther Omar Saleh (no reported relation) was arrested on charges of attempting to support ISIS.


Over 1,200 new police recruits sworn in at Queens College

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD


New York City will have a fresh crop of police officers come December.

More than 1,200 new police recruits were sworn in on Wednesday during a ceremony at Queens College led by Police Commissioner William Bratton.

“I so wish I were sitting where you are today,” Bratton said. “I am coming to the end of my career, and you are just at the beginning — a beginning that coincides with a time of great change for this profession. The public safety we help provide is the foundation of our democracy, and this country’s promise. You have answered a noble calling.”

The class, which is about 80 percent male and 20 percent female, comes from a wide range of cultural and professional backgrounds.

A significant portion of the new hires — about 40 percent — have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher. That percentage includes 23 master’s degrees and one juris doctor, which is a professional doctorate in law.

Over 100 members of the class have served in the U.S. military; another 100 have had experience in civilian roles such as traffic enforcement or school safety agents, for which 42 cadets were recognized and promoted.

Additionally, the class reflects the city’s diversity, with 46 percent of the class being white, 18 percent black, 26 percent Hispanic and 10 percent Asian. Sixty percent of the recruits live in New York City; more than 200 are foreign born and represent 50 different countries, from Albania to Yemen. Additionally, 392 candidates speak 43 different languages.

The new recruits will begin six months of rigorous training on July 10 at the new police academy in College Point. In December, they will be the largest graduating class since July 2013.


Reputed Rockaway street gang members cuffed for murder, assault plots

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Thirteen alleged members of a Far Rockaway-based street gang found themselves in handcuffs Wednesday for an indictment charging them with various violent crimes including conspiring to murder and assault rival groups, prosecutors announced.

Authorities said the suspects, reputed members of the “70Gs/G-Boyz” gang, operated in an 11 block area of Arverne between Beach 62nd and Beach 73rd streets. According to police, the gang members — some of whom were as young as 16 — obtained weapons and ordered beatings and shootings of rival gang members in an effort to expand their territory and control.

The arrests and indictments were the culmination of a lengthy investigation by the NYPD’s Queens South Violence Reduction Task Force and the Queens District Attorney’s Narcotics Investigations Bureau. Detectives monitored phone conversations and social media accounts of the suspects — in which the reputed gang members openly planned and bragged about their criminal activities — to build their case.

In one instance, alleged gang member Joshua Simon, 21, took to social media to apologize to an individual whom he accidentally hit with gunfire while shooting at rival gang members on April 13, 2014.

Detectives also learned from Simon, through phone conversations he made from Rikers Island, that he was involved in other shootings with fellow gang members Michael Motta, 23, and Matthew Robinson, 19. Motta was charged in a separate indictment for firing shots at rival gang members outside P.S. 42, then pointing a gun at an officer before eventually dropping it, on March 13 of this year.

“These indictments are another example of police and prosecutors working together to eliminate gang violence that too often plagues our neighborhoods and strikes at the heart of a unified and criminally active group of young people who threaten the lives and safety of innocent bystanders,” District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.

“The defendants are variously accused of turning the streets of Rockaway into the Wild West by acting in concert with one or more of their co-defendants to shoot and wound five individuals and firing weapons at no less than four others,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton added. “Their alleged criminal and violent acts have no place in a civilized society.”

According to the 86-count indictment, the gang members allegedly obtained firearms and carried out violent acts against rival gang members at neighboring housing developments. In many instances, prosecutors said, the adult gang members recruited juveniles as young as 14 years of age to carry out deeds ranging from weapons smuggling to shootings and beatings.

Police also determined that the gang members used coded language in communicating with one another to avoid detection from investigators.

The other suspects named in the 86-count indictment were identified as Taedwon Lyons, 17; Dwayne Lyons, 16; Kane Motta, 16; Ashanti Brown, 18; Isaiah Boyd, 21; Brandon Fuentes, 22; Diequan Underwood, 20; Jordane Maurice Gayle, 16; and Tamar Horton, 16.

Each of the 13 reputed gang members could face up to 25 years behind bars if convicted.


Police Commissioner Bill Bratton talks community relations in southeast Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called for stronger ties between police and the community during a speech in Jamaica on Tuesday, when he outlined plans for greater collaboration and   alternatives to making arrests for first-time minor crimes while also recognizing law enforcement’s role in “many of the worst parts of black history.”

At a Black History Month event at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Jamaica, he said that the NYPD has made tremendous strides with regards to crime prevention but that there is always room for improvement. He said that new programs started by himself and Mayor de Blasio will help to do so and will have a “dynamic effect on the level and quality of policing.”

“Despite our accomplishments we’ve made in the past years, police actions can still be a flashpoint,” said Bratton. “The NYPD needs to face the hard truth [that] in our most vulnerable neighborhoods we have a problem with citizen satisfaction.”

Bratton mentioned some of these “hard truths” that the police have to realize and deal with. He said that “many of the worst parts of black history would not have been possible without police,” citing law enforcement’s role dating back to the days of slavery.

Bratton said that not recognizing this as an issue would not only be naive but reckless and irresponsible.

But he also mentioned that “far more often than not, many of the best parts of America’s history wouldn’t have been possible without police,” saying they are the protectors of such freedoms like those of speech and religion.

When asked about going back to community policing, a method that was scrutinized in the early ’90s for not being effective against historically high crime rates, Bratton simply replied that he doesn’t think the NYPD has ever gotten away from the strategy. He described the policing method using three “P’s” that he said the NYPD still practice today: partnership, problem solving and prevention.

The commissioner finished by saying that ultimately, policing is a shared responsibility: having the police and community work together will ultimately lead to a better and safer New York City.

“We cannot change the past but working together we can change our future,” Bratton said. “We all need to work together. All of us.”


NYPD lieutenant’s new book shows history of tension between cops and mayors

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

New York City today is playing out a familiar scenario that pits the mayor against the NYPD rank and file in tense relations, with the roar of public demand for reform as the backdrop, said a veteran cop who has authored a history of the department.

But with the recent killings of two police officers, Whalen believes that the entrenched groups will have to come to a solution. Whalen of College Point is currently a lieutenant with the NYPD, giving him an unusual perspective from within the department.

“Cops have been getting shot in New York City since the beginning,” Whalen said, an idea illustrated in his book “The NYPD’s First Fifty Years,” due to be released next month. “But certain ones like this are more memorable than others because it impacts policy and how we do business.”

The book begins with the unification of New York City in 1897 and the creation of the modern police force, covering the first 50 years of department history.

De Blasio’s relationship with the police has always been uneasy, since his campaign promise to reform policies like stop and frisk and his response to a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer for the death of Eric Garner. The recent killings of Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in Brooklyn further exposed this divide.

The NYPD’s Union President Patrick Lynch blamed de Blasio for the shooting because of his tolerance of protests across the city protesting the police.

“It’s common for mayors to have troubles and be disliked by police,” Whalen said.

But Whalen said history shows that recent events could provide an opportunity for reform. More than 80 years ago, one of the city’s most popular mayors, Fiorello LaGuardia, faced strained relations with police because of his promises of reform and a perceived lax attitude on popular unrest.

LaGuardia became mayor in 1934 and soon after being elected his notions of reform were tested when cabbies began to riot. He urged restraint when using police force against disgruntled cabbies. Before LaGuardia, police would use their batons, but the mayor now instructed the conservative Police Commissioner John O’Ryan to leave the cabbies alone, despite the commissioner’s advice that force should be used.

In the end, more than 100 cabs were destroyed and rioters injured dozens of people. The press criticized the mayor and the commissioner in the aftermath and, Whalen writes, so began an “escalating ideological battle between the mayor and the police commissioner.”

“LaGuardia is much like de Blasio,” Whalen said. “The police didn’t like LaGuardia either but in the end the mayor was able to consolidate a progressive agenda with effective policing.”

Much like LaGuardia, de Blasio is trying to be a progressive politician while keeping crime down, which is why, Whalen said, Bratton was hired.

“There’s always been this emphasis to keep the lid on it,” Whalen said. “Meaning that crime always has to stay down, no matter what. So de Blasio can talk about progressive agendas all he wants, but he still has to have firm authority through people like Bratton.”

Whalen’s book, which was co-written with his father Jon, is filled with tales of early 1900s anarchists and communists attempting to bomb various sites across the city, including Police Headquarters, which puts today’s peaceful protests in context. Whalen’s book also points out how dangerous it used to be to work for the NYPD.

Whalen believes that the Brooklyn shooting will cause many protesters to stop marching in the streets, as de Blasio has called for. It will also put the police on high alert. He cautioned against the police becoming overly sensitive when on patrol and becoming afraid.

“Police have to watch their backs, but if they’re afraid, they might make the wrong decision and then the city will really plunge into unrest,” he said.

Whalen’s book is set to be released in January 2015.


103rd Precinct gets first police body cameras in Queens

| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo via NYC Mayor's Flickr

There will be a new set of eyes added to the streets of Jamaica.

The 103rd Precinct will be part of the new NYPD pilot program to test the use of body cameras on police officers. Six precincts throughout the five boroughs are part of this system. Their selection was determined by which precincts had the highest number of stop and frisks.

Nine officers in the 103rd Precinct will be part of the program. There will be one camera per officer per squad to start out. There are three squads per shift in the precinct and, depending on the time, there will always be at least one cop with a body camera on patrol and as many as three depending on patrol schedules.

“I think cameras are a good thing,” said one officer from the precinct. “It’s a great idea and gives a different perspective of what is actually happening out there.”

The cameras are hands free, one on the torso and one over the ear. The officer will have to pull down the shutter covering the lens to turn the camera on whenever he or she is making a stop or arrest.

The pilot program was introduced by Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Dec. 3, just before the grand jury decided to not indict the officer in the Eric Garner case.

“Body cameras are going to be an important additional step in the reforms that we’re undertaking,” de Blasio said. “And I think that step is going to greatly increase the confidence of the people in their relationship with the NYPD.”

Phil Craig, a reverend at the Greater Springfield Community Church in Jamaica, said he believes that the body cameras will only be a good thing if they are used for the protection of the people.

“I hope they will be used for the protection of the people and not for the persecution of them,” said Craig. “We need to take a real good look on how [the police] are handling community relations.”

Officers at the 103rd Precinct are still unsure of when they will receive the body cameras. If the three-month pilot program works well, the department will expand the number of body cameras on the streets, possibly until all 35,000 police officers have one.

“I have always been in favor of cameras,” said the police officer at the 103rd Precinct. “I think things are going to change.”


Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Friday: Partly cloudy. High 68. Winds WSW at 15 to 25 mph. Friday night: A few passing clouds, otherwise generally clear. Low 49. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Art Gallery Opening and Reception at the Douglaston/Little Neck Library 

Meet artist-in-residence Dawn Steinberg, view her six gorgeous photographs that will be on display from May 1 to July 31 at the library’s art gallery, and enjoy stories, refreshments and conversation. Starts at 4 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Two teens arrested in attempted abductions of girls in Queens

Two suspects wanted in connection to the attempted abductions of several young girls off the streets of Queens have been arrested, police said. Read more: The Queens Courier

Evidence points to different shooter in 1992 Queens murder

An Eyewitness News exclusive investigation has uncovered evidence that a man who has served more than 21 years for a murder in Queens may not have committed the crime. Read more: ABC New York

Bratton vows to crack down on drunken cops

A red-faced Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Thursday he is furious with drunken cops who are humiliating the NYPD — and laid out a plan to keep his officers sober and “fire” the worst offenders, The Post has learned. Read more: New York Post

NYC teachers union, City Hall announce $4B labor agreement

City Hall and the teachers union have reached an agreement on a new contract that provides retroactive raises plus a 10 percent raise over seven years, with health care cost reductions promised by the union. Read more: NBC New York

Attorney: Teen was coerced into confession in fatal Coney Island fire

There was a change of tune Thursday for the Coney Island, Brooklyn teen accused of setting a fire that killed an NYPD officer. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Op-ed: New Inspector General has a tough job ahead

| oped@queenscourier.com


Philip Eure, New York City’s first New York Police Department Inspector General, has a tough job ahead of him — to make sure that the New York City Police Department is using best practices to keep us safe from a myriad of threats without compromising our civil liberties. I intend to work closely with my fellow members of the City Council to monitor his work and ensure that he is helping the police department accomplish both of these objectives.

As the new IG, Mr. Eure will provide oversight of some of the City’s most controversial policing practices, in order to build mutual respect between citizens and the police. The City Council voted to establish the Inspector General’s role last year, shortly after it became clear that the breadth of the City’s stop-and-frisk and Muslim surveillance programs were both divisive and, in the case of stop-and-frisk, unlawful. Appointed by the Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters, Eure’s role is to act as an independent monitor to the NYPD, reviewing the department’s policies, procedures and practices in broad strokes.

Mr. Eure, who headed the District of Columbia’s Office of Police Complaints, has a balanced record of oversight. During his tenure there, he addressed warrantless searches, convinced the District’s police department to adopt a one-week training program to teach officers best practices for interacting with the mentally ill (a relevant problem to New York’s own growing population of mentally ill offenders), and tightened up on “contempt of cop” cases (frivolous claims brought against police just trying to do their job).

However, New York is a city of unique challenges. New York employs a substantially larger police force than the District of Columbia (35,000 to 4,000, respectively), and serves what is the most diverse and concentrated urban population nationwide. The City has already taken positive steps to mend fences in communities affected by racially charged policing. Use of stop-and-frisk has dramatically receded from past years. Last week, Commissioner Bratton dissolved the police force’s Demographics Unit, which spied on Muslim citizens for no basis other than their religious affiliation. Sufficient oversight will be needed to ensure that information collected from the Unit is appropriately handled with respect to privacy and that the blanket surveillance of Muslims won’t be diffused into other units.

As IG, Mr. Eure’s ability to apply oversight is not confined to any one issue. Other review institutions, such as the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates individual complaints, or the federal monitor, whose primary purpose is to offer oversight in ending stop-and-frisk practices, have a much more narrow scope. Although public debate on the IG role gave most of its consideration to curtailing the use of stop-and-frisk and Muslim surveillance, the law establishing the IG office authorizes it to examine any and all policies the NYPD employs. For example, state law currently requires police to investigate every crash where a serious accident happens, a standard that Mayor de Blasio has promised to meet as a part of his “Vision Zero” initiative. However, advocates for pedestrian and cyclist accident victims argue that the investigations don’t always happen. The IG has the authority to examine NYPD training and protocol to make sure collision units are properly handling such accidents.

It’s up to Mr. Eure to apply his influence creatively and collaboratively, working with Commissioner Bratton and the Police Department to strive for good relationships and the safety of New Yorkers. We on the City Council will be watching closely to ensure the highest quality oversight is administered.



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Thursday: Sunny. High 61. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph. Thursday night: Clear skies. Low 41. NW winds at 15 to 25 mph, decreasing to 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Tone and Color Concert

The Quintet of the Americas, a woodwind group widely known for its expertise in South American music, performs Latin jazz, tango and other genres at Community Mediation Services 89-64 163rd St., Jamaica, 1 p.m. Free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Red Flag Warning issued in New York City due to brush fire danger

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for Thursday in New York City, meaning that a combination of dry fuels and weather conditions support extreme fire danger. Read more: ABC New York

1,000 additional police officers included in City Council budget proposal

The New York City Council unveiled its recommendations for upcoming budget negotiations with Mayor Bill de Blasio. Read more: CBS New York/AP

DOT chief wants Congress to look at federal gas tax

The city’s transportation chief on Wednesday said the federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents a gallon does not cover what the DOT spends on the nations highways — and its a troublesome situation. Read more: New York Post

Bratton on NYPD Twitter backlash: We won’t quit social media

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton admits he was caught off guard after a Twitter request by the NYPD backfired in a very public way, but said Wednesday he has no plans to abandon social media. Read more: CBS New York/AP

FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration. Read more: AP


Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Thursday: Mostly sunny. High 51. Winds ENE at 10 to 20 mph. Thursday night: Mainly clear. Low 36. Winds ENE at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Happy Hour with QNSMADE & SingleCut Beersmiths

Come hang out at SingleCut Beersmiths in Astoria and try some locally made Queens craft beer. QNSMADE’s mission is to give a voice to the people that make up this borough and provide a space to bring together all the amazing things that are happening in the many pockets of Queens. With seven days left to go on its Kickstarter,  let’s come together and make this happen. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Police arrest man accused of making anti-Muslim statements toward teen on Queens bus

A man wanted for making anti-Muslim statements toward a 15-year-old girl aboard a Queens bus while spiting at the teen and threatening to punch her has been arrested, cops said. Read more: The Queens Courier

Bratton issues new guidelines for jaywalking stops 

Less than four months after officers started cracking down on jaywalkers in New York City, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is telling officers to use more discretion when stopping people who cross the street illegally, according to law enforcement sources. Read more: NBC New York

EXCLUSIVE: City Controller Scott Stringer launching audit of Build it Back Hurricane Sandy home re-building program

The City’s troubled Build it Back program, which has only served a handful of Hurricane Sandy victims since the 2012 natural disaster struck, is going under the microscope. Read more: New York Daily News

Plane evacuated at JFK Airport after bomb threat: officials

A plane was evacuated at John F. Kennedy International Airport Wednesday evening after a bomb threat was made, officials say. Read more: NBC New York

Contract talks heat up between transit workers, MTA

Transit workers came closer to making a deal with the MTA Tuesday more than two years after their labor contract expired, union sources told The Post. Read more: New York Post

Drag racers busted in Maspeth

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Cops slammed the brakes on illegal drag racing after an early-morning bust Sunday in Maspeth led to six men facing possible jail time, authorities said.

Dozens of spectators crowded the streets at about 1:15 a.m. to watch the men drag race down Laurel Hill Boulevard between 48th and 58th streets, eventually leading to police blocking off the area.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is hoping that these arrests will discourage other drag-racing enthusiasts from taking to the streets.

“These arrests send a clear message that disregarding the safety and welfare of Queens residents will not be tolerated,” Bratton said in a statement.

The defendants — Michael Rivera, 21, of Manhattan; Shawn Marr, 19, of Uniondale; Michael James, 25, of Brooklyn; Antonio Nolesco, 23, of Manhattan; Edgar Lozano, 26, of Jamaica; and Edward Henry, 21, of St. Albans — were currently awaiting arraignment in Queens County Court, as of late Monday, on charges of second-degree reckless endangerment, vehicle and traffic violations and reckless driving.

“Drag racing poses a serious threat to public safety,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “Such illegal speed contests have no place on the streets of our city.”

Brown said defendants Rivera, Marr, James and Nolesco were allegedly drivers in the drag races while Lozano and Henry were allegedly starters for several of the races. The drivers’ cars and smartphones were seized as part of the ongoing investigation.



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Monday: Rain and snow showers this morning. Then becoming partly cloudy this afternoon. High near 55. Winds N at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Monday night: Clear skies. Low 34. Winds N at 15 to 25 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: The Kaleidoscope

“The Kaleidoscope” starts at 8:00 p.m. at The Creek and the Cave at 10-93 Jackson Ave. in Long Island City. The Kaleidoscope is an experiment where friends and strangers get together and perform. Four improvisers create teams with whom they have never performed and will never exist again. Like a kaleidoscope:, every time you look you will see something different. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

New York City Council to hold hearing on Superstorm Sandy recovery

Members of the de Blasio administration and people affected by Superstorm Sandy are expected to speak Monday morning at a City Council oversight hearing. Read more: CBS New York

Report: Unpaid tolls rose on no-cash NYC bridge

The amount of uncollected tolls on a New York bridge skyrocketed after electronic E-ZPass systems replaced all cash toll lanes, according to a published report. Read more: NBC New York

With pre-k fight behind him, de Blasio to shift focus to affordable housing

Now that state lawmakers have closed a budget deal to fund prekindergarten in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is ready to turn to the next items on his sweeping liberal agenda. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Bratton raps Kelly and Bloomberg on stop and frisk

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton turned on the city’s former leaders Sunday, saying the department had a terrible morale problem when he took over because of the way his predecessor, Ray Kelly, and former Mayor Bloomberg used stop-and-frisk. Read more: New York Post

Obamacare website down as deadline arrives

People trying to apply and enroll for private health insurance through Obamacare before Monday’s midnight deadline are discovering the website is “currently unavailable.” Read more: NBC News

Corona man arraigned in child porn bust

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A Corona man has been arraigned on charges involving promoting and possessing child pornography after he allegedly lured young girls through the Internet by convincing them they were playing a game, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced Monday.

“This defendant is alleged to have coached seven young girls who he met online to perform various types of sexual acts which he then videotaped—convincing the girls that they were playing a game,” Brown said. “Once again, we urge parents to monitor their children’s Internet activities because there are sexual predators waiting to take advantage of their children’s innocence and trusting nature.”

Jorel Fowler, 23, was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Friday on charges of use of a child in a sexual performance, promoting a sexual performance by a child and possessing a sexual performance by a child, according to the district attorney. If convicted, Fowler faces up to 15 years in prison.

After receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children regarding a child luring and child pornography complaint involving a 12-year-old Oklahoma girl, with whom Fowler had allegedly been in communication earlier this year, NYPD detectives went to Fowler’s home on Feb. 20 and, with his permission, removed a laptop computer and iPhone, Brown said.

Seven videos, titled “Sarah,” “Tiffany &  Britney,”  “Katelyn,” “Julia,” “Gabrielle,” “Ashley” and “Alex” were allegedly recovered from that laptop. They supposedly included text and video conversations between Fowler and various girls, who were under 16 years old, and showed them taking part in what Fowler allegedly called “The Game.”

According to the allegations, Brown said, there are different levels to “The Game,” which awards points for performing different activities including sexual acts.

The recovered videos allegedly showed the girls going to each level of “The Game,” where they took off their clothing and displayed their body parts.

Fowler allegedly told police that he had been in touch with more than 10 minor girls, according to the district attorney.

Anyone who believes they may have been victimized by Fowler or has any information about the case should call 718-286-6590.



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Wednesday: A mix of clouds and sun. High 38. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph. Wednesday night: A few clouds. Low 18. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY:  Dinner, a Movie and a Side of Reconciliation

Join savvy film and food lovers at Armondo’s Italian Restaurant for dinner and then head two blocks to P.S. 69 (77-02 37th Ave.) to watch Sardines, a short film about a child who goes to unusual measures to get her family’s attention, and the French feature film Tu Seras Un Homme (You’ll Be a Man), about a family coming together with the help of an outsider. $50, call (718) 429-8552. 7 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

New York City education takes center stage in Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged his support to a massive pro-charter school rally Tuesday at the state Capitol as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged one more push in the state Legislature for his beleaguered pre-kindergarten funding plan -underscoring the political differences between the two powerful Democrats. Read more: AP

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton to ride night subways to survey problems

New York City’s top cop says he’ll ride late-night subways to get a first-hand look at the quality-of-life problems straphangers face. Read more: NBC New York

De Blasio backers sue to block more charters

Mayor de Blasio is now getting friendly fire from his lefty supporters regarding the charter school space controversy. Read more: New York Post

House OKs bill rolling back huge flood insurance premium hikes

The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases. Read more: CBS New York/AP

NYPD officers to be equipped with tablets in new pilot program

New York City police officers will soon be armed with a new crime-fighting tool: tablet computers. Read more: CBS New York

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Tuesday: Cloudy with rain and snow this morning becoming foggy with light rain for the afternoon. High near 40. Winds S at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Snow accumulations less than one inch. Tuesday night: A few passing clouds. Low 29. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: NYC Compost Project hosted by Queens Botanical Garden: I Heart Worms for Families

Did you know that worms have five pairs of hearts? This unique hands-on workshop introduces kids (ages 5 and up, accompanied by an adult) to the life of indoor composting (red wiggler) worms! Make heart-shaped compost cookies for your plants; be prepared to get your hands dirty! Registration required—compost@queensbotanical.org. Starts at 3 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

New York vows to remove registered sex offenders from housing near schools

The State of New York has vowed to fix a troubling issue. Convicted pedophiles have been housed near city schools in violation of a state law. Read more: CBS New York

Trash, ice line New York City streets as snow falls

New York City has suspended alternate-side parking through the weekend due to solid ice and uncollected trash that line the streets, all while nuisance snow falls across the region Tuesday. Read more: ABC New York

New York City teachers union president proclaims back pay is ‘a big issue’

The head of New York City’s teachers union made it clear Monday for the first time that he was pushing the city for back pay for his nearly 100,000 members. Read more: New York Daily News 

Passengers trapped on tarmac after fuel truck hits police cruiser at LaGuardia

Hundreds of passengers were reportedly trapped on the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport on Monday night. Read more: CBS New York

Bratton was kept in dark the night de Blasio’s buddy was sprung

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton was kept in the dark when Mayor de Blasio made a late-night call to an NYPD honcho on behalf of a political ally who’d been busted, sources told The Post. Read more: New York Post