Tag Archives: Greater Allen A. M. E. Cathedral

Jamaica funeral set for rapper slain in Briarwood drive-by shooting

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/@chinxmusic

A Jamaica church will host the wake and funeral Tuesday for the rapper Chinx, real name Lionel Pickens, who was murdered in a Briarwood drive-by shooting on May 17.

Family members, friends, relatives and colleagues will gather at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral, located at 110-31 Merrick Blvd., on May 26 at 11 a.m. for a brief wake, followed by funeral services set to begin at noon.

Pickens, a Rockaway native who resided in Ozone Park, was gunned down while sitting with a friend inside his Porsche at the corner of Queens Boulevard and 84th Avenue at 4:04 a.m. on May 17. According to police, an unidentified gunman pulled up in another vehicle and opened fire, then sped away from the scene.

Shot multiple times about his body, Pickens died later that morning at Jamaica Hospital. His friend, a 27-year-old man, remains hospitalized in critical condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to his back.

As Chinx, Pickens was considered to be an up-and-coming star in the hip-hop world. His career began with a partnership with the late rapper Stack Bundles, but was sidetracked after being sentenced to prison for a robbery conviction in 2005.

While Pickens was incarcerated, Bundles was himself shot to death. According to the NY Daily News, police are reportedly investigating whether the two murders are connected.

After being released from prison in 2008, Pickens relaunched his rap career with French Montana. Chinx gained a following among hip-hop fans following the 2012 release of his single, “I’m a Coke Boy.” He was slated to release an album later this year titled “Welcome to JFK.”


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.”


Sandy rebuilding summit sees huge turnout

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE QUEENS COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata


An energized crowd of about 1,000 people gathered for a Faith in New York summit at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Jamaica on Tuesday to learn about the progress and priorities of Hurricane Sandy rebuilding.

“This is a time for us to remember what was promised,” said the Rev.  Floyd Flake, pastor of the Greater Allen A.M.E. and a former Queens congressman. “Our people should not still be suffering the way they are, 21 months after the storm.”

Much of the meeting focused on families in Far Rockaway where suffering from Sandy is still the most prevalent issue, according to residents.  Many people are still suffering from leaking roofs, mold, no heat and no jobs as a result of the storm.

Amy Peterson, director of the Housing Recovery Office under Mayor Bill de Blasio, and other city officials listened to these concerned residents and assured them that things are changing.

“We are committed to working with all of you,” she said. “We are going to eliminate the red tape from Build it Back and everyone who has applied for it will get the support they need.”

Peterson said that since the de Blasio administration came to office, rebuilding is on the rise. But she said the fight is nowhere near over. Her office promised 500 checks to Sandy-affected homeowners by Labor Day. As of this week, 457 checks have gone out. She said that once Labor Day comes and they hit their goal, a new one will be made.

This was welcome news to Sandy survivors like Aracelis and Erik Cabrera who are still displaced from the storm.

“We applied for Build it Back but are still waiting to find out if we will receive the funds we desperately need,” Aracelis said as she wiped  tears from her eyes. “We are glad that Mayor de Blasio is focused on fixing Build it Back so that families like ours can rebuild our lives and our home.”

Peterson said that within the next 60 days she would host a large job fair that will prioritize those people who were affected by the storm. When advocates for rebuilding asked Peterson whether they can have a meeting with de Blasio himself about the recovery effort she chuckled but gave a reassuring answer.

“Well, I don’t know his [de Blasio’s] schedule,” she said. “But yes, we will try to work it out.”

Source: Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget



Constituents, community leaders react to Smith, Halloran arrest

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photos

Those represented by State Senator Malcolm Smith and those by Councilmember Dan Halloran are weighing in on the scandal that alleges the two tried to rig the upcoming mayoral election.

Despite the charges, Smith’s neighbors in St. Albans called the senator a morally sound leader.

“I’ve known the family for years, and they’ve always been good to me,” said a friend, who did not want to be named. “As a neighbor, he’s treated me well and that’s all I know.”

Constituent India Holloway said Smith is held to a higher standard.

“He’s a senator, he knows what’s right,” she said. “He’s supposed to be an upstanding citizen. He represents all of us. What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong, and he should uphold that.”

Residents of northeast Queens, which Halloran represents a bulk of, have mixed reactions to the charges against the councilmember.

Malba Civic Association President Alfredo Centola said he wanted the Queens GOP to push for a Republican candidate to challenge Halloran in a primary for the upcoming District 19 election. Regardless of the charges, Centola, a registered Republican, said he didn’t think the councilmember should drop out of the race.

“I believe in the innocent until proven guilty,” Centola said. “I don’t think [Halloran dropping out] is a fair request at this point. But the GOP needs to save face.”

Smith was elected president of the State Senate in 2010, when the Democrats took the majority of the Chamber for the first time in nearly 45 years. As president, and without a Lieutenant Governor in New York at the time, Smith was in a position to take over the state, had anything happened to then-Governor David Paterson.

The Republican Minority ended up leading a coup to take over the Senate in 2009 when it recruited two freshman Democratic senators, Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada, Jr., to switch allegiances. Smith was able to retain power, however, by forcing the two renegades back to their side of the aisle.

In an ironic twist, Smith announced last year that he would join the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) and effectively helped put a tandem leadership in between the IDC and Republicans.

Now that Smith has been stripped of his IDC roles, a Senate colleague said it would be easier to get legislation on the floor, but, under a tougher Republican leadership, passing issues such as campaign finance reform and reproductive rights would be harder.

Reverend Floyd Flake, senior pastor of the Greater Allen A. M. E. Cathedral of New York and a former congressmember, who helped launch Smith’s political career, said he was surprised when he heard the news.
“[I was] more than shocked I think,” said Flake.

The former lawmaker added he’s placed several calls to Smith’s home since the arrest and is still waiting to hear back from the embattled senator.

Halloran, who was believed to have been a former cop, but was only a cadet, made an unsuccessful bid as a Republican for the newly-drawn Congressional District 6, but ultimately lost to now-Congressmember Grace Meng.

During his tenure, Halloran made waves in his first year by accusing the Department of Sanitation of a work slowdown during the 2010 Blizzard that crippled the city for days. An inquiry by the Department of Investigation, however, turned up no organized slowdown of work.

Halloran, reportedly facing financial difficulties because of his 2010 divorce, his mortgage and a 2005 promissory note to the woman from whom he bought his house, has been endorsed for his re-election by several fire and police unions, including the Police Captains Endowment Association (PCEA). Roy Richter, president of PCEA, said the union hasn’t decided whether or not to revoke its backing.

— With Additional Reporting by Maggie Hayes