NYPD top brass visited Crown Heights the night after a bochur was shot with a pellet gun. They walked through the neighborhood and visited 770, as they assured residents that they are working to keep the area safe.
By Hamodia and Anash.org reporters
Photos: Hamodia.com (used with permission), Anash.org
On Tuesday evening, Chief of Department Rodney Harrison and Chief of Brooklyn South Michael Kemper visited Crown Heights the night after a bochur was shot with a pellet gun. They took a walking tour of the neighborhood, as they assured the residents that they are working to keep the area safe.
The police officials started at Jewish Children’s Museum, went into 770, and then walked to the location of the shooting at Albany and Montgomery where they were shown footage of the incident. They were accompanied by Deputy Inspector Richie Taylor, Deputy Inspector Joseph Hayward, Rabbi Eli Cohen, executive director of Crown Heights JCC, and others.
The police chiefs thanked the volunteers of Crown Heights Shomrim for their great response to last night’s incident in particular, and for their work year round. They discussed the tremendous benefits of community and police working together.
Devorah Halberstam, a resident of Crown Heights whose son Ari, Hy”d, was shot and killed on the Brooklyn Bridge in March, 1994, expressed the sentiment of the neighborhood that although they are apprehensive, they appreciate that the police have shown the community that they are looking out for them. “We hope the perpetrators are apprehended sooner rather than later,” she said.
Chief Harrison said that at this point, the police assume there were two people involved in the shooting, with one driving the car and they other shooting the pellet gun. “We are examining the video to determine which direction the car went and we have a task force of investigators in place to help investigate this incident. We need the help of the community, and anyone with information should call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).”
When one community member walking alongside Chief Harrison mentioned that police reforms have made crime-fighting more difficult, the chief agreed saying, “Some of the legislation that’s been put in place has made our job harder.”
Asked by a Hamodia reporter to elaborate, the chief replied, “There are a lot of things that the NYPD [has to] to deal with that has made our job, much harder. We could talk about the discovery laws, where it’s made people that are willing to cooperate with us put in a position to now be in harm’s way. That’s something that you have to think about – people who want to cooperate and be witnesses, now, their information is being given over to the defense. That information could go anywhere. People are reluctant to come forward now. That’s one of the legislations that has made our job a whole lot more difficult …. There’s a host of other things, but that’s the one that really resonates with me as Chief of Department, like how do we get people to feel comfortable to come forward, knowing there’s a potential of danger, or retaliation if they do take that step to help us out.”
When the reporter asked for his thoughts in bail reform, Harrison replied, “Unfortunately with bail reform, a lot of people are being arrested and being able to come [right back out] and committing crimes again. We’re seeing it over and over again. There’s no accountability. As an advocate for victims – that’s what I’ve always considered myself as, being in this line of work – how do I tell somebody who is a victim, that we’re going to hold that person accountable, but meanwhile because of bail reform they’re sure to come out the next day. I think that’s something that we have to take a look at. I’m very proud to protect New Yorkers. I’m very proud, if somebody happens to be a victim in this great city, that the NYPD will work very hard to get those suspects and bring them into custody. But there also has to be the accountability when we do that.”