Tag Archives: hate crimes

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Ex-NAACP big rips Al & Jesse for handling of Trayvon Martin shooting

The furor over the shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin is being “exploited” by the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to “racially divide the country,” a civil-rights leader charged yesterday. Martin’s “family should be outraged at the fact that they’re using this child as the bait to inflame racial passions,” the Rev. C.L. Bryant, a former NAACP leader, said of the 17-year-old hoodie-wearing black youth who was shot dead by a mixed white-Latino neighborhood-watch volunteer. Read More: New York Post

Shooter’s claim to police: Trayvon Martin pounced on me

Trayvon Martin was the real aggressor in his deadly encounter with George Zimmerman — punching the neighborhood-watch volunteer, slamming his head on the sidewalk and grabbing for his gun, according to Zimmerman’s account to detectives. The 28-year-old cop wannabe painted himself as the victim in the fatal brawl, telling investigators he was returning to his SUV and trying to call 911 when the unarmed 17-year-old approached him from behind and threw the first punch, according to published reports. Read More: New York Post

Bell cop duo out — but get to keep pensions

Two veteran cops ousted from the NYPD for their roles in the Sean Bell killing turned in their retirement papers yesterday. Detectives Marc Cooper and Michael Oliver walked into One Police Plaza to sign their paperwork. They left without comment — but with their lucrative pensions still in place. The forced retirements came after an internal NYPD trial determined the detectives acted improperly when they and fellow officers gunned down the unarmed Bell in a 50-bullet fusillade the night before his wedding in 2006. Read More: New York Post

 

Intruders shoot man in UWS apartment

An Upper West Side man was shot yesterday during an attempted robbery in his apartment, cops said. The 20-year-old victim said in a 911 call that he let two men into his building on West 100th Street near Riverside Drive believing they were deliverymen, and they attempted to rob him in his fifth-floor, blasting him in the leg, according to an FDNY spokesperson and police sources. Police are investigating his claims. Read More: New York Post

DOE Releases List Of Schools With PCB Leaks, Critics Want Better Clean-Up Efforts

Hundreds of city schools in the five boroughs are contaminated with PCB, a toxic material that can cause serious health problems, and hundreds more school may also have the substance. Department of Education officials say they are working as hard as it can to fix the problem but critics say it’s not hard enough. NY1′s Education reporter Lindsey Christ filed the following exclusive report. Read More: NY1

 

State Health Department To Shut Down Queens’ Peninsula Hospital

Peninsula Hospital Center will close for good, following months of efforts to keep the failing hospital in Queens open. The State Department of Health said Monday that Peninsula Hospital officials will be required to submit a closure plan. According to the Queens borough president, up to 1,000 jobs are on the way out. Its closure will leave the 100,000 residents of the Rockaways with only one hospital. Health officials shut down Peninsula’s laboratory last month after it failed an inspection. The hospital in Edgemere was also barred from admitting new patients until issues were resolved. Without revenue from patients, the hospital is unable to run daily operations. Read More: NY1

 

 

Dawa Lama, mom who dumped newborn in trash, pleads guilty to manslaughter

A Queens mom who dumped her newborn daughter in a hospital trash can out of fear her mother would learn of her pregnancy pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge Monday. Dawa Lama, 23, faces 10 years in prison as part of a plea deal worked out with Queens prosecutors. During a court appearance, Queens Supreme Court Justice Lenora Gerald told Lama that she’ll be deported to her native Nepal once she finishes her sentence. Read More: Daily News

 

Howard Beach has come ‘a long way’ since racial incident


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Twenty-five years after escalating racial tensions in Howard Beach thrust the neighborhood into infamy, residents and local leaders alike say the “tight community” has changed for the better.

On December 20, 1986, Howard Beach emerged into the spotlight when a gang of white teens — waving bats and bellowing racial slurs — brutally beat three black men who chanced upon the neighborhood after their car broke down. According to reports, one of the three — 23-year-old Michael Griffith — was chased onto oncoming traffic on Shore Parkway, where he was hit by a car and killed after attempting to escape the mob.

Four of the assailants were charged with murder, manslaughter and assault, and the incident was deemed one of the most explosive racial crimes in the city in recent years by multiple reports — eventually making Howard Beach synonymous with hate, residents said.

“For people who are not from the area, it’ll trigger something when they hear the words ‘Howard Beach,’” said Margaret, a resident who did not want to give her last name. “That was one incident. It was a very unfortunate incident, but it shouldn’t define an entire neighborhood.”

Elected officials and community leaders shared the same sentiment, saying the infamous incident has stained the neighborhood’s name.

“There are people in every community of which race relations are what it shouldn’t be,” said Betty Braton, chairperson of Community Board 10. “We’re tarnished for something the community did not do or condone.”

Even still, Senator Joseph Addabbo said he’s “very happy” with where the community stands 25 years later.

“It’s always an effort to get Howard Beach out of that limelight,” he said. “We have come so far since then. It took a while to get to this point and I’m very happy where we are now. Howard Beach is a great community, made up of great, hardworking people. I think they do well promoting the good will of Howard Beach, where there are so many more positive things going on.”

According to the 2010 census, the vast majority of Howard Beach residents — close to 77 percent — are white, only about 2 percent are black and close to 17 percent are Hispanic.

“We’re a lot more diverse than in the past,” said Christina Gold, president of the Lindenwood Alliance. “We’ve become bonded. We’re one family. What happened 25 years ago… I don’t think we have that issue now, and we’re going to continue to be that way.”

Still, some residents said 25 years isn’t enough time for people to outgrow such “deep-rooted” feelings of hate.

“To say that it’s vanished — it’d be wonderful to say that, but I don’t think so,” said Meybol Geramita. “Unfortunately, people don’t change that quickly.”

This March, a noose — long a symbol of hatred and intolerance — was discovered hanging on a tree near Lindenwood’s P.S. 232, much to the disgust and dismay of the neighborhood. However, elected officials deemed it an “isolated incident,” pointing to the diversity of the neighborhood as proof.

“Unfortunately, no area of our great city is immune to hate crimes. We’re seeing it in Queens and also in Brooklyn, but nowhere should it be tolerated,” Addabbo said. “I think there are still remnants of [racism], but we have come a long way, and as the years go on, it’ll keep diminishing.”

Recent hate crimes spur return to old ideals


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The document itself may be over 300 years old, but the message it conveys is timeless.

Public officials united to breathe life back into the Flushing Remonstrance — a historic petition dated back to 1657 when Peter Stuyvesant and a group of citizens protested prohibitions against religious freedom — in light of recent anti-Semitic vandalisms that have rocked the borough.

On November 3, six swastikas were spray painted in four locations across East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, including the Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst branches of the Queens Library, the doors of the Congregation Tifereth Israel and St. Joan of Arc Church in Jackson Heights.

“Hate crimes — whether they be motivated by sexual orientation, gender, religion or ethnicity — will not be tolerated,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “When they do regrettably occur, they will be condemned in the strongest possible terms and those responsible will be brought to justice to answer for their actions.”

Franco Rodriguez, a 40-year-old Hispanic male, was arrested on November 11 and charged with four counts of criminal mischief as a hate crime in connection with the vandalisms, according to police.

“Acts like these cannot go unremarked and must be condemned,” said Councilmember Peter Koo. “Nobody should think they can get away with hateful actions like these. These venomous people succeed only when our communities stay silent.”

Dozens of elected officials and religious leaders gathered at Flushing Town Hall on November 23 to speak out and remind the borough’s diverse residents of the Remonstrance’s ideals of tolerance and acceptance.

Mirroring their early colonial predecessors, they each signed the renewed, modernized document, titled “A Pledge for Tolerance and Understanding,” vowed to stand together against those who threaten the ideals of acceptance, and hoped the multiethnic community would soon follow.

Queens Courier publisher Victoria Schneps-Yunis said that The Courier was instrumental in bringing the original Remonstrance home to Queens in the late 90s.

“I have so much confidence in the human spirit,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “Yes, there are some bad eggs out there, but everybody’s not bad. We have a great borough. We have space in our hearts and minds to care for our brothers and sisters, no matter who they are.”

Among those in attendance were Assemblymembers Grace Meng, Ed Braunstein, Michael DenDekker, Michael Simanowitz and Rory Lancman, Senator Jose Peralta, Councilmembers Leroy Comrie and Peter Koo and Reverend Floyd Flake.