Archive for the tag 'nypd'

Shaniesha Forbes. (Source: Facebook)

Shaniesha Forbes. (Source: Facebook)

Christian Ferdinand (Source: Aroostook Sheriff Department via Daily Mail)

Christian Ferdinand (Source: Aroostook Sheriff Department via Daily Mail)

A jury today convicted Christian Ferdinand, 22, of brutally suffocating 14-year-old Shaniesha Forbes to death, stuffing her in a suitcase, and attempting to set her corpse on fire on Gerritsen Beach in 2013.

He was found guilty of second degree murder and tampering with physical evidence. He faces 25 years to life in prison when sentenced on January 7 – exactly two years and one day after Forbes’ body was found charred on Gerritsen Beach.

Ferdinand and Forbes met on Facebook and began to pursue a relationship. On the morning of January 4, 2013, the two got into a fight; Forbes confessed she believed she was pregnant, and Ferdinand wanted her to terminate the pregnancy, demanding she “kill it,” according to testimony.

Prosecutors say Ferdinand became enraged, and smothered the petite girl with a pillow at his cousin’s Nostrand Avenue apartment near Avenue M. He reportedly stuffed her in a suitcase and stashed it on his cousin’s rooftop before driving to the end of Gerritsen Avenue, where he set the body on fire.

Forbes was not pregnant, according to a medical examiner’s report.

After killing Forbes, Ferdinand fled to Limestone, Maine, and got a job through Job Corp. When he was arrested in May 2013, he confessed to the crime – and asked for community service, according to the New York Post.

“Do you think I can get some kind of community service?” he asked, according to the Post.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has other ideas.

“The defendant brutally took the life of a 14 year-old girl all because he believed that she was pregnant. We will now seek the maximum at sentencing to ensure that we get justice for the victim,” said Thompson in a statement.

Forbes was a resident of Flatflands, and was a freshman at the Academy for Young Writers in East New York at the time of her death.

1070 Ocean View Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

1070 Ocean View Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

Responding to a 911 call, police arrived to a gruesome scene early this morning: a 59-year-old man was stabbed to death in his apartment on Ocean View Avenue; outside the building, the crumpled body of his 30-year-old stepson was splayed on the pavement with severe trauma; and just a few blocks away, the pregnant sister of the younger man, a 29-year-old woman, was found bleeding from stab wounds to her back, wrist and forehead.

The female victim phoned 911 at approximately 2:30am. The 59-year-old, Voclodymyr Yeushchenko, was pronounced dead by EMS inside his 1070 Ocean View Avenue apartment building, just across the street from elementary school PS 225.

The 30-year-old, Kostyantyn Proskurnyak, who lived in the same apartment, was rushed off to Coney Island Hospital, where he too was pronounced dead.

His sister, the 29-year-old, was picked up by first responders at Brighton Beach Avenue and Coney Island Avenue . She was taken to Lutheran Medical Center, where she is listed in stable condition.

The investigation is ongoing, but cops told the Daily News that they believe Proskurnyak got into a heated argument with his stepfather, Yeushchenko. It escalated until he drew a knife and stabbed him in the neck. Proskurnyak’s sister tried to intervene when she was stabbed in the head, back and wrist.

The sister darted out of the apartment to safety, where she phoned cops, according to the News. The New York Post adds that the woman is pregnant.

As Yeushchenko bled to death, cops believe Proskurnyak went to an upper floor or the roof, where he took his life in a suicidal leap.

The investigation is ongoing, according to police.

Source: micurs via Flickr

Source: micurs via Flickr

Last month, Councilman Mark Treyger proposed a comprehensive bike safety legislation package to help minimize bike casualties, winning support from the City Council’s Transportation Committee, the mayor, and bike advocacy groups like Bike New York.

But while no one thinks it’s a smart idea to text and cycle at the same time, not all bike advocates think the law would make streets safer.

One criticism is that the bill is an example of legislation-by-anecdote. Treyger cites his own experience of witnessing a near-collision in front of his Stillwell Avenue office as evidence of the dangers of biking and texting, when, in fact, there is little data demonstrating that texting while cycling has caused any fatalities.

From StreetsBlog New York:

No doubt, texting and biking don’t mix, but is there any evidence that texting while bicycling has caused actual crashes? When asked for data that show the need for legislation, Treyger only produced stats showing that the number of crashes between cyclists and pedestrians rose from 2012 to 2013. He could not offer data on how often cell phone use by cyclists actually contributes to crashes.

“It is hard to pinpoint exact data,” he said. “Quite frankly, after what I saw, I don’t need to see data to know that was wrong and that was dangerous.”

Secondly, some argue that cyclists would be disproportionately targeted by traffic cops, as they are more visible than drivers of cars. Furthermore, the proposed cycling laws are even more stringent than current laws for motor vehicles. Doug Gordon, a television producer who runs the biking blog Brooklyn Spoke, writes:

Treyger’s bill “would ban any use of a cellphone, tablet or computer except when attached to a hands-free device. It’s currently legal to fiddle with a smart phone while riding a bike.” Drivers are free to fiddle with GPS devices, dashboard touch-screens that require them to take their eyes off the road just to change radio stations or adjust the AC, and many other non-cellphone devices. These distractions have likely caused more fatal crashes than texting-while-biking.

There’s also plenty of research to show that hands-free devices do little to limit a driver’s cognitive distraction. If Treyger wanted to save lives, he’d propose, or at least discuss, banning the use of a cellphone in any form, handsfree or otherwise, while operating a motor vehicle.

Finally, some folks are worried about how the law will be implemented. For example, Gordon cites research showing that tickets for bike infractions like riding on the sidewalk are disproportionately used as an excuse to pull over black and Hispanic young men. Enforcement of these laws, he adds, are just a waste of valuable police resources and time.

This recent viral photo of a cop intercepting a bike for a traffic infraction, seems to highlight the challenges of enforcing bike laws:

What do you think? Should it be illegal to text and bike at the same time?

Man wanted for robbing gas station at 292 Neptune Avenue. Source: DCPI

Man wanted for robbing gas station at 292 Neptune Avenue. Source: DCPI

Cops are looking for neighbors’ help tracking down the man pictured above, who is accused of robbing the Liberty gas station at 292 Neptune Avenue early Saturday morning.

The suspect strolled up to a station attendant at 12:50am, and motioned as if he had a gun while demanding money. No gun was actually displayed, but the suggestion was enough: the attendant forked over more than $500, police said.

The robber then fled on foot, leaving the attendant unharmed. The 60th Precinct released the image above via Twitter. No other description was given by authorities.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

nypd-1

Car break-ins remain one of the biggest drivers of crime in the area. Thieves smashing car windows to steal sometimes as little as pennies from a cup holder are one of the reasons for the spike in crime recorded in the latest Compstat report from the 61st Precinct.

While motorists should feel comfortable parking their car wherever they like, the reality of the situation is that thugs take advantage of dark streets and look for indications that the car might have valuables inside. The local precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit recently sent out a batch of tips to help reduce your risk, and the area’s crime stats.

To make sure you’re possessions are as safe as possible, here is a list of safety tips:

  • Do not leave satellite radios, portable GPS system, or suction cup on windshield whether temporarily parking or parking overnight.
  • Do not leave wallets, purses, backpacks, jewelry, credit cards or any other valuable property in your vehicle while it is parked.
  • Do not leave cell phones or other electronics in the glove compartment.
  • Activate any theft deterrent devices you may have.
  • Do not leave packages or valuables in the vehicle.
  • Do not keep your license, registration or title in the vehicle.
  • Make certain that your vehicle is locked.
  • If possible, park in a bright, well lit area.
  • If you have a garage, use it. Lock both the vehicle and the garage.
  • Install video surveillance within the vicinity of the garage or driveway where your vehicle will be parked.
  • If you have video surveillance conduct periodic maintenance to make sure they are in good working condition.
  • Position the cameras so that it will be able to capture a good image of an individual’s face but secure enough to prevent any possible tampering.
  • Install wheel locks on your vehicle to help deter theft of tire and rims.
  • Contact the 61st Precinct Crime Prevention Officer to have your vehicle VIN etched.

You can learn more about the 61st Precinct’s VIN etching and other crime prevention programs by calling the Crime Prevention Unit at (718) 627-6832.

kinnison

Source: DCPI

Police are looking for Gerald Kinnison, a 66-year-old suffering from dementia, who went missing Friday morning from his Coney Island home.

Kinnison was last seen leaving his assisted living center (2316 Surf Avenue) at 8am on November 21 wearing a black jacket, black shirt, black sneakers, and blue pants.

He is described as a black male, 6 feet tall, 180 pounds, with a thin build, dark complexion, brown eyes, black hair, and black and grey beard.

He has gone missing at least three times before, but was eventually found, police said.

Here’s another photo of Kinnison:

missing

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.

gorelik

Keep an eye out for neighbor Natan “Nate” Gorelik, a 28-year-old graphic designer last seen in Brighton Beach.

Gorelik left his grandmother’s home Tuesday in Brighton Beach Tuesday evening, wearing black rolled up pants. Friends and family have reached out to Sheepshead Bites about his disappearance, and are posting fliers around the neighborhood.

Police have been notified and are assisting in the search. On Thursday, some of Gorelik’s belongings were found on Plumb Beach, including his wallet, a phone, book bag, guitar, shoes and jacket.

If you have information about Gorelik’s whereabouts, or have seen him since Tuesday night, please call 911.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

CompStat reports are produced by the New York Police Department on a weekly basis. We summarize the week’s statistics for the 61st Precinct reports every Friday. The 61st Precinct is the police command responsible for Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, Kings Highway, Homecrest, Madison, Manhattan Beach, and Gerritsen Beach.

Avenue U and Stuart Street, the scene of the accident. (Source: Google Maps)

Avenue U and Stuart Street, the scene of the accident. (Source: Google Maps)

Two women have been hospitalized and two police officers were injured after a routine traffic stop turned into a police chase yesterday, ending when the suspect’s van collided with another car on Avenue U and Stuart Street.

Officers stopped what appeared to be a white dollar van on Flatlands Avenue and East 42nd Street at approximately 3pm. They suspected the vehicle had been connected to a robbery pattern.

When the cops approached the vehicle, the driver slammed on the gas, clipping one officer and running over the other one’s foot.

Neither were seriously injured, reports CBS Local.

The outlet reports:

Police pursued the driver in the van for several miles, but the chase was called off. The driver ended up crashing into a civilian vehicle at Avenue U and Stuart Street in Marine Park, Brooklyn, police said.

Three women were in the small gray car – all from the same family, source said. They were pinned inside the vehicle and had to be extricated, according to the FDNY.

Police said two of them were taken to Kings County Hospital Center, and one of them – a 19-year-old who had been a front-seat passenger – was in critical condition.

The driver of the vehicle — the mother of the 19-year-old — was also hospitalized, while the back seat passenger was not injured, police said.

NBC adds that the driver of the civilian vehicle was an off-duty sergeant, and said his car was T-boned. Video sent to Sheepshead Bites by reader Jennifer Ginter, seen above, shows that the van jumped the curb and was partially in the grass of Marine Park after the accident.

Witnesses told ABC News that the suspect attempted to flee on foot after the crash, but was quickly apprehended.

Charges were still pending as of yesterday evening.

Source: Hupu2 via Wikimedia Commons

Source: Hupu2 via Wikimedia Commons

“…Legalize it, yeah yeah, that’s the best thing you can do” – Peter Tosh, “Legalize It,” 1975

BETWEEN THE LINESStart spreading the news — the times they are a-changing and New Yorkers will soon be a little less anxious about getting high with a little help from their friends.

After more than 40 years, the winds of change have a distinct hint of marijuana blowing across the nation with legalization and decriminalization slowly taking effect. Though federal legalization is still a pipedream — soundly opposed by diverse pockets of resistance — on Election Day, Oregon and Alaska became the third and fourth states to legalize and regulate the commercial production and sale of marijuana for adults. What’s more, voters in the nation’s capital and in several cities nationwide decided to eliminate marijuana possession penalties.

New York City is set to join the expanding list of municipalities liberalizing archaic drug laws, which could end most arrests for low-level marijuana possession, with police officers directed to issue summonses without detaining the suspect.

As a matter of fact, New York City will now conform to the state’s 1977 Marijuana Reform Act, signed into law by then-Governor Hugh Carey. The statute calls for possession of up to 25 grams of pot as a violation, punishable up to a $100 fine for the first offense.

New York is actually one of eighteen states, including a few Republican strongholds like Nebraska and Ohio, that have decriminalized marijuana possession — with no prison time or a criminal record — for first-time possession of small amounts for personal consumption.

After 37 years, New York City cops will be directed not to exploit a segment of the act specifying the weed must be in public view to qualify as a violation. (Under the controversial stop and frisk policy, NYPD officers routinely demanded individuals empty their pockets. When they saw a joint, the concealed pot was suddenly “in public,” and, therefore, a crime.)

But don’t expect this subtle change to transform The Big Apple into The Big Reefer.

A substantial majority of baby boomers have either smoked or sampled pot. It could also be taken for granted that some of that generation’s politicians did a doobie now and then. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former New York State Governor George Pataki, former New Jersey Senator and presidential candidate Bill Bradley and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, to name a few, have admitted smoking pot in their youth. Former President Bill Clinton did, too, but, without a smirk or a wink, noted he never inhaled.

One presumption hostile to legalization is that marijuana, which is much more intoxicating today than when it was the choice of trendy young adults years ago, leads to harder drugs. That’s as preposterous as proclaiming regularly consuming beer may lead to drinking more potent potables!

There was an unsubstantiated anecdote circulating in the freewheeling 60s that a major American university had conducted research in which lab rats were fed their body weight in marijuana over a 30-day period. Consequently, the drugged rodents showed a multitude of problems, leading to the conclusion that cannabis could result in similar effects to humans. The research seems scientifically questionable and patently unrealistic. Nonetheless, anyone capable of smoking their body weight in marijuana in a month would experience a relentless case of the munchies, not to mention likely turn acutely sick and impaired!

Anyone consuming their body weight of anything in a brief period, whether it’s water, broccoli, tofu, potato chips or Twinkies, would probably risk adverse side effects.

I’m not aware of any conclusive research asserting that smoking an occasional joint does more harm to the human body than a daily shot of liquor. Nonetheless, marijuana is criminalized, while alcohol supports multi-billion dollar businesses, from agricultural to advertising to your local saloon. On the plus side, if pot were legal, it could be a major source of sorely-needed revenue at all levels of government.

Even when comprehensive marijuana legalization was a long shot in the early 1970s, American tobacco companies supposedly seized an opportunity that was too good to miss. Big tobacco reportedly registered a bunch of brand names, such as “Acapulco Gold” and other pot-related monikers, so, if and when the substance was legalized, they’d be set to commence production.

More than a decade ago, a national substance abuse group reported that underage drinking accounted for one-fourth of all alcohol consumed in this country. Predictably, the alcohol industry rejected that estimate as “absolutely wrong.”

While continuing to preach “No” to illegal drugs, that message should similarly repudiate any addictive substance, including prescription drugs. After all, excessive abuse, in any form, is irresponsible behavior.

It is also time to admit the “war on drugs” was a disaster that was mostly waged domestically. Fighting the cartels that transport illegal substances to our communities may seem effective, every now and then, when there’s a major bust, but, by and large, the drug pipeline has scarcely been clogged. It has also damaged countless lives, overtaxed the criminal justice system and led to numerous incidents of corrupt law enforcement agents, excessive police tactics and exploitation of civil forfeiture laws.

Besides, you don‘t need a sociology degree to realize that criminal enforcement has disproportionately targeted minorities and low-income neighborhoods.

According to NYPD statistics, 86 percent of those arrested for marijuana possession through August 2014, were black or Latino. Yet, the 2010 census indicated those ethnic groups just comprise about 60 percent of the city’s population.

After the repeal of prohibition, America didn’t turn into a country of alcoholics. Consequently, modernizing marijuana laws would not result in the nation going to pot. On the other hand, it would end the inequitable imprisonment of tens of thousands for a minor offense, as well as boost federal, state and local treasuries.

With that in mind, toke ‘em, if you got ‘em. But, don’t Bogart that joint.

Neil S. Friedman is a veteran reporter and photographer, and spent 15 years as an editor for a Brooklyn weekly newspaper. He also did public relations work for Showtime, The Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson. Friedman contributes a weekly column called “Between the Lines” on life, culture and politics in Sheepshead Bay.

Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites. Based upon their expertise in their respective fields, our columnists are responsible for fact-checking their own work, and their submissions are edited only for length, grammar and clarity. If you would like to submit an opinion piece or become a regularly featured contributor, please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

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