Tag Archives: NYPD

Bills introduced to City Council to help individuals with developmental disorders


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

A package of bills was introduced to the City Council Friday with the hope of preventing a tragedy similar to the disappearance of autistic teen Avonte Oquendo.

The 14-year-old was last seen at the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City across the street from the East River in October, when he ran out, past school security. Almost four months later his remains were found washed up in College Point.

The City Council’s Mental Health and Public Safety Committee held a joint hearing Friday where the four proposals, all aimed to avoid dangers to individuals with autism and other developmental disorders, were presented.

“We’ve had several tragedies in the last couple of years in New York City, so it’s always heartwretching when we do legislation that reacts to tragedy, but on one hand it helps us to make sure these tragedies never happen again,” said Councilman Ruben Wills, who spearheaded the group of bills in the City Council together with Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson.

One of the bills calls upon the state’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities to include the use of GPS tracking devices as a covered service.

The package also includes legislation that would create a voluntary registry for people with special needs. The database, including names, addresses, phone numbers, medical conditions and more, would allow parents or guardians to register their children with the NYPD at local police precincts.

The other two bills call for the city’s silver alert program to include missing people with developmental disorders and for the U.S. Department of Justice to fund any projects that would help protect and locate missing people with autism.

“We know that [Avonte’s death] was an unspeakable tragedy and certainly we are here as a collective to prevent anything like that from occurring across our city,” Gibson said.

For Lauren Thierry, Avonte’s disappearance hit close to home because her 16-year-old autistic son, Liam, attends the New York Child Learning Institute in College Point.

The past two years, Thierry has been creating a clothing line, called Independence Day Wearable Tech, which makes clothes that include internal pockets to fit GPS devices. Customers get a free GPS device when they purchase an item.

 

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Two toddlers die in Far Rockaway home fire


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Updated Monday, April 21, 3:35 p.m.

Two 4-year-old siblings died early Easter morning in an accidental fire at a Far Rockaway home, according to the FDNY.

Firefighters responded to a one-alarm fire in the basement of a Bay 30th Street home at about 11:56 p.m. Saturday and the fire was under control by 1:17 a.m., officials said.

The cause of the blaze has been determined to be an accidental fire due to a child playing with fire, according to the FDNY.

Five people were removed from the two-story home, including 4-year-olds Jai’Luni Tinglin and Aniya Tinglin, who were taken to St. John’s Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival, police said.

The two toddlers were half-siblings, according to the NYPD.

Another 4-year old girl, Jai’Luni’s twin sister, was taken to St. John’s Hospital and is in stable condition. A 55-year-old woman was transported to Jamaica Hospital and a 63-year-old man, identified by police as the kid’s grandfather, was taken to Nassau University Medical Center. Both are listed in stable condition, cops said.

An FDNY officer was also transported to a nearby hospital with minor and none life threatening injuries, fire officials said.

According to a report published on the New York Post’s website Monday, the FDNY said that ambulances were delayed in responding to the deadly blaze.

“We are looking at the timeline and why it happened,” Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said, according to the Post.

 

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Former cop charged with murder in shooting of wife in Ozone Park


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo: NYPD Transit Bureau

Updated Monday, April 21, 10:45 a.m.

A former cop has been arrested for murder after allegedly shooting his wife during a domestic dispute in Ozone Park Saturday morning.

Police responded to the 104th Street home at about 11 a.m. and found 40-year-old Jessica Canty shot multiple times in the chest, the NYPD said.

Jessica Canty (Facebook)

The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Kevin Canty, 43, the victim’s husband, was caught shortly after the shooting and a firearm was also recovered, cops said.

Canty is a former NYPD officer, according to published reports.

He has been charged with second-degree murder and criminal use of a firearm, police said.

 

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Briarwood man fatally shot in Ozone Park


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A 20-year-old man was fatally shot in Ozone Park Saturday morning, according to the NYPD.

Cops found Briarwood resident Branden Santiago unconscious at about 5 a.m. in the vicinity of 103rd Avenue and 108th Street, police said.

Santiago was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. After further investigation, Santiago was found to have sustained two gunshot wounds to his head, according to cops.

Police have made no arrests at this time and the investigation is still ongoing.

 

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110th Precinct shaves hair, raises funds for fellow officer


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Lieutenant Patrick Welsh did not have to think twice when deciding to shave his long curls for fellow officer and friend, Sergeant Paul Ferrara.

Welsh, together with five other members of the 110th Precinct, including commanding officer Deputy Inspector Ronald D. Leyson, volunteered Thursday to shave their hair for Ferrara, who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in January.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS,

“It’s all for a great cause , for Paul, for a fellow brother,” said Welsh, who has been growing his hair out since last September. “It wasn’t even a question, [Ferrara] is one of the most liked men in the precinct.”

Ferrara started his career in Brooklyn’s 81st Precinct in 1992 and then was promoted to sergeant in 2006 and assigned to the 110th Precinct. During his 22 years of service, Ferrera has been a 9/11 first responder and former anti-crime sergeant, and now serves as a counter terrorism supervising officer.

Ferrara’s diagnosis is currently being linked to what he, together with other first responders, faced at Ground Zero in 2001.

The 110th Precinct came together last month to start a fundraiser to collect money to help the 44-year-old NYPD officer and his family with medical expenses. Ferrara is married and has a 12-year-old son.

As part of the fundraiser, officers at the precinct, which encompasses Corona and Elmhurst, came up with the idea to “put a price on the commanding officer’s head” and have the officer with the highest donation shave Leyson’s hair.

Through a collaborative effort, the highest donation was $1,500 and Police Officer William Bahrenburg, who also shaved his hair and mustache, had the honor Thursday of shaving the deputy inspector’s hair.

“Like the police department does, we get together to help out one another,” Leyson said. “I’ve been on the job for over 20 years and there’s a lot of things that we complain about, but it is a family, when one of us is in need, that’s one thing this police department always does – step up.”

Police Officers Matthew Zimmerman and Thompson Wen, and Auxiliary Police Officer Chris Lui also volunteered to have their hair shaved in honor of Ferrara.

“It’s just the right thing to do. He’s always been there for me,” Wen said. “Hair grows back.”

So far, the precinct has collected a total of $40,000. The 81st Precinct has also contributed to the fundraiser.

“It’s the proudest I’ve been because none of this has to be done, but it’s getting done anyway,” Ferrara said.

The donations will be presented to Ferrara on Sunday, April 27 during a fundraising event at Lily Flanagan’s Pub in Babylon, Long Island.

Anyone interested in donating can mail or drop off a check at the precinct, located at 94-41 43rd Ave. in Elmhurst. Checks should be made out to the 110th Precinct General Fund, with “Sergeant Ferrara Fund” written on the memo line.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Sunny. High near 50. Winds N at 15 to 25 mph. Wednesday night: Clear skies. Low 36. Winds NE at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Master Builder Lego Animation Workshops

In this 60-minute workshop, children work in production teams to plan and create a stop-motion animated movie using LEGOs. Ages 8+. $5 materials fee. 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily at the Museum of the Moving Image through April 22. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Man makes anti-Muslim statements, spits on teen girl aboard Queens bus: cops

A 15-year-old girl was harassed while riding a Queens bus last week when a man made anti-Muslim remarks toward her, spat at the teen and threatened her, police said. Read more: The Queens Courier

Police seek suspect in Forest Hills slashing of 18-year-old

A teen was attacked last week in Forest Hills when a man slashed him before fleeing, cops said. Read more: The Queens Courier

NYPD to end Muslim surveillance program

The New York Police Department said Tuesday it has disbanded a special unit whose efforts to try to detect terror threats in Muslim communities through secret surveillance sparked outrage. Read more: AP

De Blasio signs law protecting interns from discrimination, sexual harassment

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation Tuesday that ensures the city’s law against discrimination applies to interns, whether they’re paid or not. Read more: CBS New York/AP

NY claws back $3.9B in evaded taxes

New York officials report collecting $3.9 billion in evaded taxes over the past year, an increase of about $200 million or five percent over the prior year. Read more: New York Post 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Rain. High around 60. Winds S at 25 to 35 mph. Rainfall may reach one inch. Tuesday night: Rain early with snow overnight. Low 32F. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: 64 in 64

Organized by the Queens Historical Society, 64 photographs documenting the construction of the iconic New York State Pavilion, which consisted of Theaterama (today’s Queens Theatre), the Tent of Tomorrow and three Observation Towers. Runs through Nov. 2, open on Mondays from 11 am to 2 pm and Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 am to 6 pm. at the Queens Theatre in Flushing Meadows-Cornona Park. Free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Stifling heat, heavy rains to hit NYC this summer

New Yorkers who have been praying for relief from this year’s brutal winter will soon be getting exactly what they wished for — in the form of an oppressive summer of stifling heat and humidity. Read more: New York Post

NYPD steps up security at Jewish facilities after Kansas shootings

The New York City Police Department is stepping up security at synagogues in the city after the fatal shootings of three people at Jewish-affiliated facilities near Kansas City over the weekend. Read more: NY1

Safe Act doesn’t disclose how many registered assault guns

The public may never know how many gun owners are complying with a strict law requiring them to register assault-style firearms. Read more: New York Post

EXCLUSIVE: Free ‘NYC’ condoms are being smuggled into the Dominican Republic and sold illegally for cash

Large numbers of the New York City-branded condoms that are distributed for free across the five boroughs under a city Health Department program are being smuggled into the Dominican Republic and sold for cash. Read more: New York Daily News

New charges for woman who allegedly threw shoe at Hillary Clinton

Federal authorities this past weekend lodged two criminal charges against a Phoenix woman accused of throwing a shoe at Hillary Rodham Clinton while she gave a convention speech at a Las Vegas Strip resort. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Schools, security improvements win Weprin participatory budgeting


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Schools and security improvement community projects in District 23 are winners of more than $1.1 million in city funding after participatory budgeting voting.

Councilman Mark Weprin announced results Wednesday of the initiative, which allows residents to vote for which community projects their elected officials should allocate money toward.

The top voted project—at 1,166 votes—was smart boards for five schools throughout the district at a cost of $450,000. P.S. 33 will get 40 smart boards, I.S. 109 will get 20, P.S./I.S. 266 will get 15, Benjamin Cardozo High School will receive five and Queens High School of Teaching will get 20.

“We’re ecstatic,” said Jae Cho, principal of Queens High School of Teaching. “Our kids are going to benefit tremendously from it.”

Technology upgrades at two schools, P.S. 135 and P.S. 18, for a cost of $85,785 got fourth place with 699 votes.

Besides schools projects, security initiatives were also popular.

NYPD security cameras within the district, for a cost of $105,000, received 718 votes for third place. The locations for the cameras have yet to be determined. Security upgrades for the Fresh Meadows, Hollis, and Windsor Park Queens Library branches, at $265,000, were the final winners with 671 votes.

A fitness walk and exercise loop at Cunningham Park for $200,000 came in second with 875 votes.

Originally, the initiative allowed for just $1 million, but the voted projects sum went over the limit, so Weprin added an additional $105,785.

This year, 1,888 people from the district voted, an increase of about 60 percent from last year.

“I think it’s great,” Weprin said. “When people get involved in their government they have more respect for their government.”

 

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New footage shows Avonte Oquendo tried to escape day before disappearance: reports


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Newly released video surveillance footage shows teen Avonte Oquendo tried to run away from his class just a day before he dashed out of his school never to be seen again, according to published reports.

The 14-year-old autistic teen had tried to escape October 3 when he was being brought down from the fifth floor to the second floor of the Riverview School in Long Island City with group of students. Avonte broke away from the group and ran to the first floor, revealed NYPD documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reports said.

The Riverview School shares space in the building known as the Hunters Point Campus across the street from the East River.

The day of his disappearance, Avonte was heading back from the cafeteria with a group of students and three school employees when he slipped away. He was last seen through surveillance footage running out of the school. Almost four months later his remains were found washed up in College Point.

A report previously released by the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District investigation says Vanessa Fontaine, Avonte’s mother, expressed her concerns to her son’s teacher about him being a “runner.” The teacher never shared the information with school administrators, the report said.

The investigation also found Avonte ran out of the building through a door left opened by an unidentified man.

 

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Family, friends share memories of victims killed in Astoria creek accident


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The four young passengers who died when their car plunged into an Astoria creek after a birthday celebration were always smiling and looking toward the future, their friends and families recalled.

Jada Monique Butts, 19, was a loving person who enjoyed laughing, smiling and having fun, said Tiani Martin, her best friend of more than 10 years. One of five children, the Borough of Manhattan Community College student wanted to one day work behind the scenes in the music industry.

“She was a beautiful spirit and loved to stay positive,” Martin said. “We did everything together and she will live on.”

Butts was one of four East Elmhurst friends who died on April 4 when their Honda Accord rolled over into Steinway Creek in Astoria.

“She was my little right-hand woman,” said Paula Slader, Butts’ mother.

Another passenger was 20-year-old Jaleel Feurtado, who had the dream to play professional basketball after shining bright on the Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School basketball team, remembered his family. Feurtado was an only child and was the eldest of the family’s grandchildren.

“He was a good kid,” said one of his relatives, who wanted to remain unnamed. “He was the apple of our eyes, everyone just loved him.”

Darius Fletcher, 21, and Crystal Gravely, 19, also lost their lives in the accident. Gravely would have celebrated her 20th birthday the following day.

The driver, 20-year-old Andrew Gramm, was traveling at 60 mph when he decided to make a U-turn on the wet road, according to reports. Once the vehicle went into the water, reportedly 8 feet deep, Gramm managed to escape the vehicle and call for help, cops said, but his four friends were still inside the car when authorities arrived.

FDNY divers then extracted Fletcher, Butts, Gravely and Feurtado, who were later pronounced dead, according to police.

Gramm was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, police said. He was given a preliminary breath test where results showed he was sober during the time of the accident, police said.

The NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad is still looking into the accident and one politician has called for a review of safety measures on the various roads leading to the water.

 

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Beware of Green Dot MoneyPak scam: NYPD


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Money Pak

KATRINA MEDOFF

Police are alerting residents about a scam involving Green Dot MoneyPak cards.

In the scam, victims are contacted by a caller who claims to be from a utility company or the IRS and states that money is past due. The caller then informs the victim that they can avoid having their utilities disconnected or being arrested or deported by making an immediate payment.

The caller tells the victim to go to a store and purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak Card and place a certain amount of cash on the card.

The victim is instructed to call back with the card in hand, scratch off the back of the card and read the serial number to the perpetrator. The scammer then drains the funds from the card.

Scammers may also claim that a relative or friend has been in an accident and that an immediate payment is required or that a relative or friend has been arrested and needs bail money.

Green Dot MoneyPak cards themselves are legitimate products; consumers can use them to reload other prepaid cards, add money to a PayPal account without using a bank account or make same-day payments to major companies.

These scammers are instructing victims to use MoneyPak cards because, unlike in scams involving wiring money, scammers do not need to show up at an office to claim the funds.

Utility companies and government agencies will not contact anyone demanding immediate payment by Green Dot MoneyPak, according to police. People should be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason.

The NYPD is asking anyone with information about this scam to call 1-800-577-TIPS.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Cloudy early, then off and on rain showers for the afternoon. High 51. Winds SE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Monday night: Rain likely. Low 47. Winds SE at 15 to 25 mph. Rainfall around a half an inch.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Lecture and Exhibit – The 1964-65 World’s Fair

Rosalie Kenny discusses the fair, which is best remembered as a showcase of mid-20th-century American culture and technology, including the launch of the Ford Mustang. Event also kicks off exhibit of at least 30 rare photographs from 1939 and 1964 fairs which runs through June 30 at the Greater Astoria Historical Society. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NYPD: Crime up 30 percent in housing projects

Some of the mayoral candidates, including the current mayor spent a night in the Lincoln housing projects, vowing to make conditions better for the residents. Read more: Fox New York

Charity brawl: NYPD, FDNY engage in wild fisticuffs at Nassau Coliseum

Moral of the story? Boys will be boys, even if they are playing for a good cause. Read more: CBS New York

Health Department fails to regularly inspect abortion clinics

The state Health Department is failing to inspect many of New York’s abortion clinics — with some facilities escaping scrutiny for more than a decade, bombshell documents obtained by The Post reveal. Read more: New York Post

NY task force to study rise in heroin, opioid use

A legislative task force in New York is taking a look at ways to address the rise in heroin and opioid abuse. Read more: NBC New York. Read more: NBC New York

Legendary actor Mickey Rooney dies at 93

Mickey Rooney’s approach to life was simple: “Let’s put on a show!” Read more: AP

Woman’s body found washed up near Astoria Park


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

The body of a woman was found washed up on the Astoria shoreline Saturday morning, according to the NYPD.

The unidentified woman was found unresponsive about 11 a.m. near Astoria Park South and Shore Boulevard, police said. She was pronounced dead at the scene and her body was badly decomposed.

The medical examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation remains ongoing, cops said.

 

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Vehicle goes into East River blocks from deadly Astoria accident


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Updated 4:15 p.m.

A car crashed into the East River just blocks away from a fatal accident where four people lost their lives Friday night, police said.

The vehicle was traveling on 20th Avenue and Shore Boulevard in Astoria about 4 a.m. Saturday when it went through a fence and entered the water, according to the NYPD.

When cops arrived, the vehicle’s four passengers were out of the river and told police  that the driver fled the scene. They were then taken to Mount Sinai Queens where they were treated and released, officials said.

 

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Four dead after car plunges into Astoria creek


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos via Facebook

Updated 2:30 p.m.

Four people are dead after their car went into an Astoria creek Friday night, according to the NYPD.

A Honda Accord, driven by a 20-year-old man, was traveling on 19th Avenue near 37th Street about 10:40 p.m. when it hit the curb and rolled over into Steinway Creek, police said.

The driver managed to escape the vehicle, cops said, but  four people were still inside the car when authorities arrived. FDNY divers then extracted the passengers,  Darius Fletcher,21, Jada Monique Butts, 19, Crystal Gravely, 19, and Jaleel Furtado, 20, all from East Elmhurst, according to police.

The women and one of the men were taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center where they were pronounced dead, officials said. The second man was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital where he was also pronounced deceased.

The 20-year-old driver was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center where he is currently listed in stable condition, police said. He was given a preliminary breath test where results showed he was sober during the time of the accident, according to police.

The NYPD’s Highway Collision Investigation Squad is looking into the accident.

 

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