From The New York Shitty Inbox: Another Anti-GBLT Incident?

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.

Miss Heather

Live From The 94th Precinct Community Council Meeting

(Special D.I. Hurson-less Edition)

As the above table indicates, Deputy Inspector Hurson was not present at last night’s convocation. An explanation for his absence is later given by the lady who oversaw the proceedings in the following footage.* Scott Adamo, our precinct’s Community Liaison, happened to be on vacation as well so another officer, Henry the Crime Prevention Officer for our precinct, was on hand to take notes so he can bring the issues which arose at this meeting to both Mr. Adamo and Deputy Inspector at a later time. Let’s just say that certain people present— particularly a stalwart Community Council attendee (and personal favorite), Phyllis— kept this chap on his toes! Without further ado here is the footage. Enjoy!

PART I: Preliminary announcements, including the revised schedule and location for forthcoming 94th Precinct Community Council meetings. (You can view the calendar for the remainder of the year by clicking here.)

  • Two 94th Precinct officers are commended for a recent arrest at the Cooper Houses (during which they were injured).
  • A representative from the New York City Fire Department speaks about employment opportunities.

PART II: The Q & A Session Begins

  • The issue of an increased homeless presence/encampment at Jerzy Popieluszko Square is raised by a concerned citizen. Apparently the former caretaker has stepped down and now the gates are being left open (thus facilitating the previous). I myself have seen this. It’s pretty bad.
  • Community Board 1 Public Safety Committee member Tom Burrows speaks and a victim of the anti-gay incident I wrote about in this post gives a personal account of what happened.

PART III: Phyllis Speaks

  • It has been verified by a second party that there is in fact a man at large on Bedford Avenue fitting Phyllis’s description. He sports women’s underwear (manties?) and flowers in his hair and likes to abuse women verbally (no mention of a stick was made). He was described to me as a small (think approximately 5’2″ tall) Asian-American chap between 30 and 50 years of age. He is quite insane and has been spotted in the East Village as well.
  • Phyllis is 74 years old and makes it very clear she will be keeping on eye on our Finest.

PART IV: A resident of Ainslie Street (who has been overseas for some time) notes that north Brooklyn has an alcoholism problem much to the amusement of fellow attendees.

  • Public urination is mentioned.
  • Phyllis chimes in.

PART V: Diane Jackson of the Cooper Houses brings up the matter of recent robberies thereabouts and is of the distinct opinion that the perpetrators hail from the adjacent homeless shelter located on the premises of the former Greenpoint Hospital (Ed. Note: Do give this a listen, it is seriously disturbing stuff.)

PART VI: Lincoln Restler Speaks— and Phyllis responds (Boy, does she ever!)

  • One word: fornication. Stated repeatedly and in a church by (who else?) Phyllis, no less.

New York Shitty Analysis/Commentary:

  • For a meeting which seemed to be finished before it had even started, it proved to be very interesting. One friend of yours truly opined that it was (an I quote) “better than cable television”.
  • I am very happy the young women who experienced harassment for simply bar-hopping in my fair ‘burgh showed up and spoke up. Granted, an error in judgement was made (throwing the bottle back) but ultimately what is important (and easily overlooked) is that she and her party were not the instigators. That distinction goes to a man who (for reasons only known to him) saw fit to verbally harass her and hers for simply walking down the street. This is not only unacceptable but it also begs the question (in my mind, anyway) as to who’s next? Greenpoint is without argument one of the safest (and finest) neighborhoods to be found in New York City. Nonetheless, when incidences such as this are brought to my attention it is all too clear that there is still work to be done.
  • Mr. Restler handled his trial by fire Phyllis rather well. Given that she saw fit to grill Councilman Steve Levin at last month’s meeting and get him, Rami Metal and D.I. Hurson to all attest that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a good President** proves she is not partisan in regards to Democratic Party politics but is an equal-opportunity force to be reckoned with! I can hardly wait to hear what she has to say come September. Until them folks…

Miss Heather

*Here’s what I have been told by a tipster about this:

spoke to my buddy from the 7th precinct.  the call last night in East New York was a suicide by cop.  Dude shot a guy at an automotive store then waved the gun around at cops

YIKES!

**Who, as it was rather piquantly noted by Tom Burrows, cheated on his wife Eleanor rather flagrantly. Ergo, fornication and good governance— at least per Phyllis’s logic— can and did mix.

New York Shitty Day Ender: Tidbits From Community Board 1

I was told the agenda was light and for the most part light it was. There were even sounds of merrymaking behind yours truly.* At one point I heard the distinct “clinking” sound of a wine bottle being dropped. This of course garnered a great deal of attention from the (mostly) bored attendees. I personally assured our Public Safety Chair (whose jurisdiction oversees such stuff) that I was not responsible. Whether or not he actually believes me is anyone’s guess. The previous having been written, there were a few items of note from last night’s meeting. Some serious, some not so much. I will start with the latter first.

  • Those of you who have always wondered which members of our board have perfect attendance records will be pleased as punch to know that Borough President Marty Markowitz’s office conferred just such awards last night! Follows is the riveting video footage I shot. Enjoy!

  • Next up, a fellow Garden Spotter (who I presume was responsible for the rather jaunty fliers gracing the tables when I arrived— if anyone reading this managed to grab one please forward me a scan stat. I lost mine!) brings up the matter of expanding our current historic district to includes places North ‘Point.

Those of you who are intrigued by this chap’s proposal (I for one am) should make it a point to attend the next Land Use Committee later this month. I have it on very good intelligence that this gentlemen will be present.

Community Board 1 Land Use Committee Meeting
June 29, 2011 starting at 6:30 p.m.
435 Graham Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

  • Rounding out my video footage is a brief introduction from the Location Manager of the MTV series slated to grace the Garden Spot: I Just Want My Pants Back. (NOTE: You have to crank up the volume on this one.)

For those of you who are not in the know, the gentleman grilling this chap is our Public Safety Chair: Mieszko Kalita. The article to which he is referring comes from the Wall Street Journal and was a source of considerable anger in the Polish community hereabouts. The following passage should give you, gentle readers, a very good idea why:

The show’s other executive producer, David Bartis, who is based in Los Angeles, recalled the enjoyable unpredictability of filming on location in New York. He described an incident in which they called the police on an intoxicated bartender at Greenpoint bar Tommy’s Tavern, where they filmed the pilot. The bartender refused to leave the premises, Messrs. Bartis and Liman said, making it impossible for them to continue filming…

I suspect I speak on the behalf of a number of non-Polish, “newer” residents when I write that if the above anecdote is in fact true (and I have been assured by Mr. Kalita is isn’t), this gentleman is a hero. As our Public Safety Chair notes, there is a backlash against filming in this community (because there is so damned much of it). Those of you who are interested in taking up this chap’s offer for a dialogue (or simply want to watch the fireworks) will have an opportunity to do so June 23rd (once again) at the main office of Community Board 1.

Public Safety Committee Meeting
June 23, 2011 starting at 6:30 p.m
435 Graham Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Now I will round out this post with a few items which I did not film, but believe are important.

  • On June 28th starting at 6:30 p.m. there will be a joint Executive Committee/Public Safety Committee meeting to discuss a course of action regarding the liquor license conundrum our community is currently facing. This too will come to pass at Community Board 1’s main office, so mark your calendar!
  • By far the most disturbing part of the evening came to pass when a young woman spoke about she and two companions being the victim of anti-gay slurs on Greenpoint Avenue recently. Although I have reached out to this lady and her friends in the hopes of meeting with them and getting more details (for a later post) I will recounts what facts I did gather here and now. They were walking eastward on Greenpoint Avenue when a car pulled up and the men inside started shouting epithets. One of them threw a beer bottle at these women and one of them, being understandably angry, threw it back. This act, in turn, escalated the situation: the men in question followed them to the Gypsy bar (which is located at 159 Greenpoint Avenue) where a verbal confrontation ensued. One of the men asked of these ladies (and I quote) “Are you men or women? Because I do not hit women.” Exactly how this situation was resolved (or what, if any, action was taken by the management of this establishment) remains to be seen. However, it did end non-violently and it is my understanding that these ladies are going to work with the Anti-Violence Project to file a police report. When I learn anything new, dear readers, I will post it here. Otherwise, if any of my gay, lesbian or transgendered friends have the misfortune of being subjected to this unacceptable behavior, do not retaliate. Call 911 and let the police take up the matter. That’s they’re here for!

Miss Heather

*Who was engaged with a fellow member of the UCB1PSCLA playing Mad Libs using the evening’s proceedings as fodder. I have not transcribed them yet, but they look promising!

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