Council votes to support low-income tenants’ right to counsel

Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Mark Levine at the vote on the legislation (Photo via Mark Levine’s Twitter page)

By Sabina Mollot

On Thursday, the City Council voted overwhelmingly to support the right of tenants facing eviction to access free legal representation. In support were 42 Council members with three opposed and one abstention.

The mayor has already indicated his support for the bill, which was sponsored by Council Members Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson. The legislation, introduced in 2014, has since been pushed along by the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition, which is made up of dozens of civic, tenant and legal assistance organizations.

The legislation likely took three years to get voted on due to the cost, which is estimated at $155 million a year. That figure is based on $93 million to be added to city money that’s already budgeted for similar services, around $62 million, according to Andrew Scherer, the policy director of Impact Center for Public Interest Law at New York Law School, who’s been deeply involved in the coalition’s efforts. Continue reading

Police Watch: NYPD looking for burglar, Teen breaks 13th precinct door

Cops are on the lookout for a burglar who got into an apartment at 214 East 25th Street by breaking a basement window of the building on Sunday, May 29 between noon and 7 p.m. The intruder got away with two iPad Minis, a Chromebook and a Fitbit Blaze.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic man with a dark complexion and bald head, and was last seen wearing a red t-shirt and gray sweatpants. The suspect was captured on surveillance video attempting to first gain entry inside the building through a rear door around 2:46 p.m. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crimestoppers website at or by texting TIP577 and their tips to 274637 (CRIMES). All calls are strictly confidential.

Police arrested three teenagers after they assaulted two Forcella Bar workers at 377 Park Avenue South last Wednesday at 7 p.m. The three teens who were arrested physically assaulted the workers, resulting in injuries to one of the worker’s face and hand.
Police said that one of the teens, who resides in the ACS facility at 492 First Avenue and doesn’t currently attend school, resisted arrest by pushing the officer. He also provided a false name and birthday to police even after being informed that giving a false name would result in an additional charge. When police brought the teen to the precinct, he refused to go through the door and said that he wanted the handcuffs removed. He pulled himself away from the officer and in the ensuring struggle, he broke the glass door in the front of the precinct. The teen was charged with resisting arrest, assault, criminal mischief, impersonation and a public administration misdemeanor and the two others were charged with assault.

Police arrested 31-year-old Jamar Lawton at Second Avenue and East 29th Street last Monday at 4:41 p.m. after he allegedly threatened a man nearby. Police said that Lawton grabbed the victim by his chest in a threatening manner, cutting him in the process. He then allegedly fled the scene but was soon pointed out to police by the victim in a nearby park. Police said that Lawton behaved in a combative manner and attempted to flee the area by running through a playground filled with children. He allegedly continued to resist arrest when police caught up with him and one officer was injured while attempting to place him in handcuffs. Police said that he was also in possession of multiple fake credit cards. Lawton was charged with forgery, resisting arrest, assault and disorderly conduct.

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