Tag Archives: violence

Important steps


| qceditorial@queenscourier.com

There are now 509 fewer guns on the streets.

That means 509 fewer opportunities for violence, bloodshed and death.

We applaud the DA and all the elected officials who organized this past weekend’s gun buyback program – the first since 2009 – that netted, among others, an AK 47, tec-9, 245 revolvers, 168 semi-automatic pistols and a Calico 9mm with a 50 round capacity magazine.

Just the day before, DA Richard A. Brown unveiled his nine-point plan targeting gun violence.

These include: sending the message that possession of and carrying guns and insinuating violence is unacceptable; informing residents that guns can be turned in at any precinct for $100 cash at any time; a campaign to encourage people to report illegal weapons and strengthen “If You See Something, Say Something”; backing legislation to limit criminals and the mentally ill access to assault weapons and handguns; enforcing existing gun laws; bettering dialogue between police and residents; upping police resources in areas where violence has increased; making efforts to shutter illegal businesses and limit night hours of establishments where crime is prominent; and giving more information to residents about existing programs.

We say these efforts come just in the nick of time.

Homicides were up this year nearly 29 percent in Queens South from 2011, according to data provided by the DA’s office; shooting incidents in the area were up more than 22 percent, with 121 this year.

Though we know there is no way to quell all the violence, we feel we are taking “steps” in the right direction, and we urge our leaders to continue the war on guns.

WHAT A SHAME

Did they not know they’re not alone?

The parents who abandoned their newborn baby girl – wrapped in towels and sheets at the Woodside Houses were probably desperate, overwhelmed – and very scared.

It’s a shame that they weren’t aware of the resources out there to help.

The Safe Haven program allows anyone to surrender an infant to a healthy and safe environment – a hospital, police station or firehouse – without fear of prosecution.

Luckily, for this little girl, the story had a happy ending, as she was found, and in good health.

We can only hope that other parents in a similar situation avail themselves of the help they need – for them and the baby.

 

Russell Simmons joins march to reclaim Queens streets for peace


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

Residents and leaders in southeast Queens — joined by a famous native son — marched recently to return peace to their increasingly violence-filled streets.

The Sunday, August 19 rally, organized by The Peacekeepers Global Initiative, drew hundreds of locals bothered by the outbreak of shootings the area has witnessed — as well as parents who have buried children due to the violence.

“We need to make sure that we make our community a safe and decent place to live,” said Dennis Muhammed, founder of The Peacekeepers.

Murders are up 29 percent in Queens South this year, according to CompStat.

Joining the march was Queens native Russell Simmons, who said he was inspired by the neighborhood’s turnout.

“We have to give some sort of hope to the people in the community,” the Def Jam co-founder said. “Young kids in the hood don’t understand that there’s a lot of potential in them and when they see that we care, it matters.”

Parents of children lost to guns marched hand-in-hand with Simmons before speaking to the crowd in the Baisley Park Houses.

“My son was a good kid, he played ball, didn’t bother anybody, he was a momma’s boy. He turned 19 February 2; they murdered him March 2,” Shanta Merritt, mother of Darryl Adams, who was killed in Jamaica, said between tears. “I’m going to do anything and everything that I can to be a voice for my son. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

As the march moved from Sutphin Boulevard and 111th Avenue to the Baisley Houses, residents came out, with some joining the march and the chants to reclaim the streets for peace.

“It’s us that’s going to protect our community, it’s us that’s going to change what’s happening in our communities, it’s only us working together that can make a difference in what going on in our communities,” said Erica Ford, founder of LIFE Camp, a violence prevention advocacy group.

The community has been calling for something to be done that will help end the violence, but leaders agreed the rally needed to be only the beginning of the change.

“We do have a responsibility and that responsibility is to make sure this is not just an event, a one-time affair,” said Congressmember Gregory Meeks. “We need to be back out here when there’s no cameras, when there’s no attention.”

The blame game


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The NYPD says politicians need to do more, the politicians say it’s out of their hands.

Bottom line — gun violence is escalating, leaving in its wake a trail of blood, tears and shattered lives.

Councilmember James Sanders has taken District Attorney Richard A. Brown to task, citing the lack of gun buyback programs in Queens over the course of the last three years.

But we wonder why Sanders, who represents the area where three men were killed and another critically injured in an AK-47 shooting, has not hosted his own gun buyback.

There is no reason he couldn’t organize one in his district, or even encourage residents to turn in their firearms to their local police precinct and receive $100 – no questions asked.

Sanders does have discretionary funding, after all.

What really needs to happen, though, is cooperation.

The NYPD cannot do it alone.

So instead of levying blame, the politicians should be fighting FOR the cops, not AGAINST them.

Bottom line — something needs to be done — NOW — to get guns off the streets and end the bloodshed.

When will the violence end?


| letters@queenscourier.com

The recent tragic, yet unrelated, shootings of a four-year-old boy and several adults and a two-year-old girl in our city are real reminders that violence is increasing, and must be stopped.

Community leaders, along with the mayor, the district attorneys and the police commissioner, need to convene to attempt to come up with a solution that will stop this spike in gun violence and other crimes.

We need to see more of a police presence on foot, so that they are more visible throughout the city. We should also have more mounted patrols, along with an increased squad car presence.

The citizens of this city are entitled to have decent protection and should not have to be in constant fear about being assaulted, robbed or shot. The police department needs to hire more officers and the budget for such an undertaking should be increased, not decreased.

John Amato

Fresh Meadows

 

No respect for life


| letters@queenscourier.com

It seems that in today’s society, the act of committing very serious crimes just continues to worsen.

Perhaps we should eliminate all of these vicious criminals who have committed murder, rape and child molestation by placing all of them in a huge arena, with hippos and Nile crocodiles imported from Africa.

Within 15 minutes, those criminals would be history. The hippos and crocodiles would have a field day, and society would be rid of the people who committed those heinous and dastardly crimes. Something needs to be done. There is no more respect for human life. Society is in very serious trouble. There is no respect for laws or for people anymore.

John Amato

Fresh Meadows

 

Politicians should be proactive


| letters@queenscourier.com

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly spoke out the other day about how local politicians are not doing all they can concerning the violence in their local communities.

Kelly says they are not actively engaging community leaders to be proactive to stem the violence.

I say Kudos to Kelly for saying what had to be said.

The police in my view can’t do it alone. It takes a whole community to say enough is enough. A public outcry is needed to end the violence.

As for me, I have a voice and I intend to use it, quite unlike some of our political leaders who pretend they care and for the sake of political expediency find it easier to bash the NYPD rather than speak out against violence in our communities.

Our police and the community need to form a partnership and to attack the problem or else more men, women and children will surely die for no reason.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.

Glen Oaks Village

 

Pols, police push for less violence; Say gun buybacks are pivotal


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

The shells are gone, but the discussion over whose responsibility it is to keep the streets safe has broken out into a different sort of fire fight.

After a wave of citywide violence that included several deaths in Queens, elected officials and the NYPD have each said the other side has to do more to keep the city safe.

For example, according to Councilmember James Sanders, there were no gun buyback programs in Queens over the course of the last three years.

Sanders, who represents the area where three men were killed and another critically injured in an AK-47 shooting, noted that all the other boroughs have had successful gun buybacks.

Adding to the fervor were comments by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly last week, when he said there had been a relatively silent response by elected officials in regards to the shooting.

State Senator Shirley Huntley said she wasn’t sure what the commissioner wanted from elected officials, adding she had a clear line of communication with the 113th Precinct and officers were keeping her well informed.

Sanders said that District Attorney Richard A. Brown needs to sponsor more gun buyback programs, as the most recent was in 2009, which Sanders helped organize.

In the six hours the drive lasted, Sanders said, more than 900 guns were taken off the streets.

“That [the shooting] took place on a residential street, directly in front of a public school, only serves to drive home the dangers that have crept into our community,” he said. “We will not tolerate it here, and we will move heaven and earth to ensure our safety and the safety of our children.”

Brown, in a statement, said getting weapons off the street was a key priority for the DA’s office — gun buybacks were just some of the ways to achieve this.

“We have used gun buy backs in the past and we will use them again when we deem them appropriate,” Brown said. “We are in constant dialogue with the NYPD about where and when to have one. I would remind individuals that they can currently turn in guns at their local police precinct and receive $100 – no questions asked.”

The NYPD does host buyback programs, which, according to police, have brought in more than 7,700 weapons since the venture’s inception. In a recent event at St. Benedict’s Church in Jamaica, police said more than 50 guns were taken off the street, including 19 semi-automatic handguns.

But officials say their next target needs to be reducing the use of automatic weapons. One suggestion, Sanders said, was that the federal government re-enact the Brady Bill, which banned the sale of automatic weapons nationwide.

Councilmember Leroy Comrie said that, to curb the violence, a more holistic approach to decreasing crime, including community engagement and getting more people jobs, must be taken.

“[We] need to get more jobs so there are fewer people walking around frustrated,” he said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the issue of violence on Sunday, July 15 at The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Jamaica, where he defended stop-and-frisk and called for a community effort to decrease crime citywide.

“And that’s why – in addition to everything else we are doing – police officers stop and question those who are suspected of criminal activity – and frisk those who are suspected of carrying a weapon,” he said. “Those stops have recovered thousands of guns over the past decade, and tens of thousands of knives.”

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cops roust Occupy crowd from Union Square

Cops shut down Union Square and kicked out a large crowd of Occupy Wall Street protesters last night, arresting one demonstrator just days after larger clashes at the group’s former encampment downtown. Police surrounded the historic park with metal barricades just after midnight, citing a longstanding — but apparently often unenforced — rule that the park be closed in the overnight hours, as a crowd of more than 100 taunted officers. Read More: New York Post

 

Feds say Queens super wanted to sell guns to terror group Hezbollah

A Queens super attempted to sell guns to the terror group Hezbollah because he “long dreamed of making big money” as an arms dealer, a Manhattan federal prosecutors charged Monday. Patrick Nayyar was thwarted only because the man he arranged the deal with was an FBI informant, prosecutor Stephen Ritchin told jurors. Read More: Daily News
 

Two die in bloody day of violence in Brooklyn

Two people were killed and three others wounded during a wave of violence in Brooklyn yesterday. A gunman shot a 21-year-old man several times at the Ingersoll Houses in Fort Greene at about 8:20 p.m. — possibly for retribution for a shooting in the housing development two years ago. About an hour earlier, an 18-year-old woman was shot in East New York, authorities said. She was in stable condition. Read More: New York Post

 

Bullets fly in chase

A suspected car thief led cops on a wild, Hollywood-style chase through the streets of Brooklyn yesterday, dodging roadblocks and gunfire before he was finally cornered. Officials said patrol officers from the 75th Precinct stopped a black Mercedes-Benz on Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York shortly before 9:30 a.m. because they suspected the car was stolen. Read More: New York Post

 

Police Arrest Suspect In Fatal Staten Island Stabbing

A suspect wanted in the deadly stabbing of a Staten Island groom-to-be over the weekend was in police custody on Tuesday. Redinel Dervishaj, a 35-year-old waiter, was picked up by U.S. Marshals at his aunt’s house in a suburb of Chicago, according to sources. Antonio Lacertosa, 27, was stabbed in the torso early Saturday morning outside the Espana Restaurant in Annadale. Investigators say Lacertosa was celebrating his engagement to his high school sweetheart at the restaurant. Read More: NY1

 

Liu backs $$ gal

Embattled city Comptroller John Liu sprang to the defense of his indicted campaign treasurer and defiantly insisted his staff did everything it could to make sure donations were legal, despite federal charges against the treasurer and a key fund-raiser. “I don’t believe it’s our campaign’s responsibility or any campaign’s responsibility to verify the home address, to verify the work address, to essentially run a credit check on any donor,” Liu said in response to allegations that his campaign made use of straw donors who funneled illegal contributions from wealthy individuals into the campaign. “Do we operate differently than other campaigns? Absolutely not.” Read More: New York Post

 

Cop rips punk in hero brother’s gun death

The police-officer brother of a Queens man fatally shot defending his father from a crew of housebreakers stared down the thug who set up the robbery yesterday, calling him a “drug addict, coward, savage.” Geraldo Antoniello was shot in the head Sept. 9, 2009, by one of four punks savagely beating his dad, the owner of a popular pizzeria in Howard Beach. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Brooklyn Gym Teacher Charged With Groping Student

A Brooklyn physical education teacher was arrested and awaiting arraignment Tuesday on charges he inappropriately touched one of his teenage students. Police say Esran Boothe, 49, is charged with forcible touching and sexual abuse in the third degree. The city Department of Education says Boothe was re-assigned from his position at the Brooklyn Academy of Science and the Environment on Classon Avenue in Crown Heights and is now on administrative leave. Read More: NY1

 

Far Rockaway Playground Under Construction Receives Major Damage

Looking at the broken plastic, mangled metal and bent iron at the Beach 29th street playground in Far Rockaway, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said the facility’s June opening might be delayed and the damage will cost the city tens of thousands of dollars. “We know that we lost a number of the slides, the platforms, some of the fencing, the climbing apparatuses have been damaged,” said Lewandowski. Parks Department officials said an excavator did the damage. The contractor says someone cut through a nearby chain link fence to get onto the property. Read More: NY1

Elmont substitute teacher accused of having sex with 15-year-old girl


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Elmont substitute teacher accused of having sex with 15-year-old girl

A substitute school teacher is facing charges she had an illegal sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female student at a Long Island high school. Kaitlin Grant of Elmont was arrested Friday. The 23-year-old woman is charged with criminal sexual act and endangering the welfare of a child. She is scheduled to be arraigned later Friday. The name of her attorney was not known. Read More: New York Post

‘Madam’s’ bodyguard once worked as an NYPD detective

A former NYPD cop who spent a decade working with the Manhattan DA’s office also acted as a bodyguard for the alleged high-end Upper East Side brothel boss now being prosecuted by that same district attorney’s office, sources told The Post today. Ex-cop Selwyn “Sly” Francis appeared in a photograph published today in The Post grinning broadly as accused madam Anna Gristina sat cozily on his lap with her arm slung over his broad shoulder. Read More: New York Post

Notorious B.I.G. remembered: Rapper’s music still lives on 15 years after his death

Can it really be 15 years since the brutal murder of Brooklyn’s own Christopher Wallace (aka The Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls)? March 9 marks the sad day when one of the most narratively attuned rappers of all time lost his life at age 24. It only makes it worse that his slaying remains unsolved. Of course, his voluminous stories live on. Read More: Daily News

 

NYPD Reportedly Monitored Muslim New Yorkers Based On Their Religion

New reported information shows that the New York City Police Department has been monitoring people based specifically on their religion. According to documents obtained by the Associated Press, the NYPD kept secret files on businesses owned by second- and third-generation Americans, specifically because they were Muslims. The AP says the department’s secretive Demographics Unit was assigned to investigate the area’s Syrian population in 2007 – but excluded Syrian Jews and Christians from monitoring. Read More: NY1

 

Bloomberg defends Jets QB Sanchez, rejects plea for Peyton

Mayor Bloomberg is playing defense for Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. The mayor today rejected a plea from a caller to his radio show to help the Jets recruit free agent quarterback Peyton Manning to Gang Green. “We have a Manning playing for the Giants,” the mayor said, referring to Peyton’s brother, Eli. Read More: New York Post

Mom charged with daughter’s death blasts plans to allow son, 6, to testify

A monster mom charged with murdering her 4-year-old daughter railed Friday against prosecutors’ plans to have her young son serve as a star witness when the trial opens next month. Carlotta Brett-Pierce blew up in court as a Brooklyn judge considered whether the 6-year-old boy, Tymel, will have to testify via closed-circuit – or face his mother in person for the first time since the Sept. 2010 death of his sister, Marchella Brett-Pierce. Read More: New York Post