From The New York Shitty Inbox: Another Anti-GBLT Incident?
Filed under: 11211, Criminal Activity, Culture War, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn
Given that much of last night’s Community Council meeting was about both anti-GBLT violence and violence against woman in general you can imagine how disturbed I was to receive the following email this morning from a woman who appears to have experienced just these things as the previously-mentioned proceedings were coming to pass. Anonymous writes:
Hello Miss Heather,
I wanted to share my story with you.
Last night around 8pm, I had just finished having dinner with my girlfriend near N 4th and Kent. Our scooters were parked outside where visible. After dinner, we stepped into the Duane Reade only to come out to find a young man dragging mine about 5 feet from where I had parked it. His car now occupied my previous space, and I was now in an illegal spot.
I confronted him immediately, assuming this was a minor. He proceeded to become worked up – arms flailing, screaming and getting too close for comfort. He threatened to hit me, then proceeded to call his mother who lived nearby to come “beat my ass” then turning my accusations into “racial profiling”.
The scooter’s wheel was thrown out of alignment, which I attempted to show him before his excitement got to be too much and a few passersby got involved, asking him to calm down and show respect.
These next events all happened very quickly, so I might not have them in the correct order. After a few minutes and calls to 911 already rolling, he then pushed one of the men who had stepped in to defend me, and the man immediately restrained him. When the man released him, the suspect went to his car and removed an aluminum baseball bat and went after the man who had hold of him. Another bystander, managed to grab the bat from the suspect mid-swing. Within moments, an SUV full of teenagers rolled up. 4 boys jumped out of the car, 2-3 girls remained in the back seat. Had 20-30 bystanders not stayed close to my girlfriend and I, I have no doubt that this group would have turned the situation very ugly.
The suspect panicked as more people were calling 911 and reporting his license plate number. My girlfriend standing in front of the driver side of the car was nearly run over when he sped away from the scene.
He stopped 3 blocks away and stayed there wandering with his group of friends. My girlfriend was near the suspect keeping an eye that he remained there so we could send the police to apprehend them.
After 45 minutes and likely dozens of of calls to 911, the police from the 94th Precinct FINALLY arrived – one cruiser, two officers. Our suspect situated just up the street. When asked what had taken so long, that this was a call to a violent act, they claimed that they were reporting to a “car accident” and that they were the only officers patrolling the ENTIRE Greenpoint/Williamsburg area.
When I asked them to go to N 6th Street (the low-income housing area of the water-front condos) to find the suspect, they were excessively unmotivated.
I had 5 witnesses – people I didn’t even know – stay at the scene for an hour with me. This call wasn’t urgent? The known suspect 3 blocks away did not elicit a quick response to detain him?
Meanwhile, my girlfriend was being circled and verbally assaulted by these teens. Some of the comments were hate comments directed to our being gay.
The police finally made their way up the street (after other passersby continued to stop and say, the boys who did it are over there). The police missed the group and my girlfriend was able to flag them down. Myself and the witnesses ran to N 6th to ID the suspect, who’s mother had joined him outside.
She seemed reasonable and provided me with information to have any repairs taken. At that time, the police said…
“Well, if that’s all, then we are the only guys out tonight and need to get out of here.” No police report, no opportunity to press charges? It still was not clear whether or not he was a minor (a bit of information that would greatly impact my decision whether or not to take things further). I was flustered and they left with us standing in the middle of the courtyard entrance of this low income section.
I called the precinct once we left and will go there this evening to ensure a proper report is filed with the names that were taken at the scene.
I am afraid to pass through this neighborhood, as I am pretty easily recognizable. It goes without saying that my girlfriend is too. She’ll be creating a separate report of her own. We’ll likely be filing a complaint against the officers for their negligence.
After a night of running this situation through my head, there are so many things wrong with this picture.
Where are the police? Why don’t they find property damage, attempted assault and fleeing the scene of a crime reason enough to take action?
Many reports of violence and disruption in this neighborhood describe the same suspects as were standing in front of me. They made gay-hating comments – were they the same kids who beat Barie Shortell? Are they the same kids I have seen smashing windows and property in the blocks surrounding this incident with baseball bats?
Thankfully no one was hurt this time. My deepest appreciation to the many, many good samaritans in this community for getting involved – especially the ones who interrupted their nights to stay and provide a statement.
What do you think Miss Heather? How can we make our streets safer and work to address the class and racial tensions (on both sides) that are escalating here?
This is an excellent question. One, I will add, that was more or less raised at last night’s 94th Precinct Community Council meeting by both Community Board 1 Public Safety member Tom Burrows and Lincoln Restler. I have referred this young woman to these individuals in the hope they can get some answers about what happened and some redress. As these men— along with an officer present at last night’s meeting— stated over and over:
If you see something, say something.