Soapbox: Speak up to end the use of chokeholds

By Michelle Deal Winfield

“I can’t breathe,” was uttered by Eric Garner in 2014, as he took his last breath after Officer Daniel Pantaleo applied a chokehold to his neck, a procedure banned by the New York Police Department, NYPD. The procedure is banned but some police officers have continued to use it. Alissa Scheller, in The Huffington Post in 2014, wrote, “Chokehold complaints are predominantly in black neighborhoods.”

In 1993, the NYPD ban prohibited police officers from applying any pressure to the neck during arrest. So what is all the fuss about if the tactic is banned? Despite the ban, officers continue to use the practice and there is no New York City law to address it. The chokehold is not illegal.

The Progressive Caucus, 28 members of the New York City Council, proposed Intro. 540-A, which defines the chokehold as an illegal act punishable by imprisonment and a $2,000 fine.

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13th Precinct cops shown love at luncheon

Gramercy Park Block Association President Arlene Harrison plants a kiss on Lieutenant Sammy Ponce of the 13th Precinct, where she  was one of the organizers of a luncheon last Thursday.

Gramercy Park Block Association President Arlene Harrison plants a kiss on Lieutenant Sammy Ponce of the 13th Precinct, where she was one of the organizers of a luncheon last Thursday.

By Sabina Mollot

In a show of support to local cops following the shooting deaths of two officers and amidst the unofficial but can’t-miss-it-either standoff between the NYPD and the mayor, Arlene Harrison, president of the Gramercy Park Block Association, held a luncheon last Thursday to recognize the work of the 13th Precinct.

The low-key ceremony and lunch at the stationhouse was attended by current and former officers on the beat, and organized, along with Harrison, by the precinct’s Detective Ray Dorrian and GPBA Board Member Kathleen Scupp.

At the event, Harrison acknowledged the cops’ rift with City Hall in a speech, saying the community’s support remained unwavering.

“Now, while the president, the attorney general, the mayor and the police commissioner continue to play their increasingly dangerous political blame games, your lives are more than ever on the line,” she told the crowd. “When you are not safe, no one is safe. When you are in danger, we are in danger. Once again we return here today to embrace you, to support you, and to tell you how grateful we are to you and how much we love you.”

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Police Watch: Con Edison employees accepting bribes, cops say, protesters arrested

Police arrested three Con Ed employees for commercial bribery inside the company’s headquarters at 4 Irving Place last Wednesday at 9:45 a.m. Forty-year-old Danny Cruz allegedly received $200 in exchange for his Con Edison-related plumbing inspection. Robert Tarter, 35, and Thomas Lloyd, 59, allegedly received $200 to facilitate a Con Edison inspection prior to turning the gas on. Tarter also received $200 for an inspection on April 26, 2013, police said.

Multiple people were arrested while protesting the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case in various incidents last week.
Police arrested three protesters for disorderly conduct on Third Avenue and East 18th Street last Monday at 1:45 p.m. Andrew Gombert, 35, Olcay Sesen, 36, and a teenager were allegedly walking on Third Avenue with a group of protesters in the lanes of traffic outside the crosswalk, blocking cars from passing. Multiple officers warned the three to disperse and they didn’t, which police said caused public inconvenience and alarm. The teenager’s name is being withheld due to his age.
Twenty-year-old Jonathan Gilles and 26-year-old Patrick Korte were also arrested while protesting at East 23rd Street and the FDR Drive last Thursday at 8:50 p.m. Korte and Gilles were charged with disorderly conduct and were allegedly obstructing vehicular traffic.

Police arrested Cameron Sizemore, 24, for weapons possession last Tuesday at 10:10 a.m. at the corner of Union Square East and East 14th Street. Sizemore was allegedly in possession of a gravity knife, which was sticking out of his rear pants pocket.

Police arrested 26-year-old Ronelle Freeman for criminal trespassing inside the Hampton Inn at 108 West 24th Street last Sunday at 6:46 p.m. An employee at the hotel told police that Freeman went into a hotel room at  1:30 p.m.  to sleep and allegedly didn’t have permission to be there. Freeman also allegedly went into another room at  6:30 p.m.  and was found sleeping there without permission and without paying for the room.

Eighteen-year-old Clair Thorn was arrested for assault at 4 Stuyvesant Oval last Tuesday at 5:55 p.m. Thorn allegedly got into a fight with the victim over schoolwork. Thorn then allegedly punched the victim multiple times in the chest, hand, forearm and head causing scratches, bruising and pain. Thorn also threw multiple items belonging to the victim, causing property damage totaling $900, police said. Thorn was also charged with criminal mischief.

Police arrested 28-year-old Francs Bryce for criminal mischief at the corner of Madison Avenue and East 24th Street last Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. Bryce allegedly punched a man’s front windshield, breaking it in the process, after they got into an argument.

Police arrested 27-year-old Rodney Bryant for criminal trespassing inside a Bank of America ATM at 240 Park Avenue South last Wednesday at 1:55 a.m. Police said that Bryant was allegedly lying down on the floor inside the vestibule, despite a sign that said “No trespassing, no loitering, no sleeping. Violators are subject to arrest.”

Police arrested 58-year-old Andres Torres for intent to sell a controlled substance in front of 490 Second Avenue last Wednesday at 9:50 a.m. Torres was allegedly in possession of a controlled substance that he was intending to sell.

Police arrested 40-year-old Walid Elsayed and 25-year-old Pasquale Cestaro for assault and 25-year-old Jennifer Roeske for criminal mischief on the corner of Third Avenue and East 25th Street last Wednesday at 9 p.m. Elsayed allegedly punched the victim in the head multiple times after they got into an argument. Police said that Cestaro punched the victim in the face, causing swelling. Roeske allegedly grabbed the victim’s cell phone and threw it, causing the screen to crack.

Sixty-five-year-old Kenneth Taylor was arrested for an unclassified violation of New York State laws last Tuesday at 6:36 a.m. in front of 10 Union Square West. Taylor was allegedly urinating on a sidewalk in public view. He did not have valid identification, police said.

Police arrested 37-year-old Angelo Hernandez for criminal trespassing at the Straus Houses at 224 East 28th Street last Friday at 8:48 a.m. Hernandez was allegedly sleeping on the stairs at the building and he doesn’t live there. Management told police that Hernandez sleeps on the stairs of the building often.

Police arrested 39-year-old Nathan Koenig for petit larceny inside the Barnes and Noble at 33 East 17th Street last Friday at 6:41 p.m. Koenig allegedly tried to leave the store without paying for merchandise that he took from the shelves. Police said that when he was searched, Koenig was also in possession of an imitation firearm and allegedly said, “I use that for protection.”

This week in history: Off-duty cop kills teen on Upper East Side

Front page of the July 23, 1964 issue of T&V

Front page of the July 23, 1964 issue of T&V

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Town & Village newspaper has been providing news for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village for over 65 years and we’ve decided to start taking a look back to see what was going on in the community 50 years ago. Here is a snapshot from the July 23, 1964 issue of Town & Village.

The headline story in this 1964 issue of T&V was about a Stuyvesant Town resident and police officer who shot and killed a “negro” teen on East 76th Street the previous Thursday, inciting riots in Harlem throughout the week following.

The shooting sparked what is known as the Harlem Riot of 1964. Right after the boy was killed, a small group of students began rioting around the area of the shooting and had to be contained by police. On the same day as his funeral, what started as a peaceful rally on the rising crime rate in Harlem turned into a violent mob that required hundreds of officers at Seventh Avenue and West 125th Street. In total, the incident set off six consecutive nights of rioting throughout Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant and is considered the precipitating event for riots later in the summer in cities like Philadelphia, Rochester and Chicago.

Town & Village reported that the victim, 15-year-old James Powell, had attacked the officer, Stuyvesant Town Oval resident Lieutenant Thomas Gilligan, with a switchblade. According to the lieutenant’s version of events, he shot the boy once and when the teen kept advancing, Gilligan shot him a second time, ending his life. T&V withheld the officer’s exact address to prevent possible retaliation or mob violence.

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