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At the Ninth Precinct, It Looks a Lot Like Christmas

Steve Torres, 7 with his familyAnnie FairmanSteve Torres with family, after winning a bicycle in a “Gangnam Style” danceoff

Last Saturday got off to an early start at the Ninth Precinct.

At 2:30am, police were called to Beth Israel Hospital after an 18 year-old man entered the emergency room claiming to have been shot in the hand in Campos Plaza. When the building’s management, as well as Ninth Precinct officers posted to the NYCHA property that evening, disputed the account, the man admitted to having been shot accidentally in FDR Park when handed the gun by a friend. The young man, who lives on East 13th Street but is not a resident of Campos Plaza, was arrested for criminal possession of a weapon.

Jaylynn, 9 and SantaAnnie FairmanJaylynn, 9 and Santa

In the meantime, organizers of the Ninth Precinct’s Annual Christmas Party Giveaway arrived as early as 4am to set up for the event. Local families began lining up in the early morning hours for the chance to receive a gift from none other than Santa Claus himself, on loan from Macy’s.

Three and a half year-old Alicia Pagan waited in line with her mother, Teresa Mojica, for nearly two and a half hours to see Santa, who gave her a doll. Members of the NYPD Explorers youth program served hot cocoa to families as they waited on a line wrapping around the playground across the street and extending down to the corner of East Fifth Street and Second Avenue. Read more…

Shooting Victim: ‘I Didn’t Want to Die at a Young Age’

David CruzSuzanne Rozdeba

The young man who was shot in the leg at Campos Plaza has come forward to identify himself and to describe the horror of being stalked by a gunman in the early hours of Monday morning.

David Cruz, 24, told The Local that he and a friend were walking back to his apartment on East 13th Street, between Avenues B and C, shortly after midnight when he noticed “a navy blue or black car creeping,” and then saw it double parked. “We looked towards the car, and I noticed somebody jump out the car with an all-black hoodie on, covering his face,” he said.

The man quickly approached. “He started to run towards me and my friend. We ran towards East 12th Street, when he shot the first fire at me. My friend proceeded to run towards the basketball court and I proceeded to run towards the 635 East 12th Street tunnel when he shot the second fire that hit me.” The shooter wordlessly fired another two or three rounds that missed their target, said Mr. Cruz.

“When I got shot, it went in through the back of my thigh, and the bullet left the front of my thigh,” he said. “It was half an inch away from my artery and about an inch away from the main bone on my thigh.” Read more…

Assaults, Robberies Up (Plus: Update On Yesterday’s Shooting)

Shooting at Jacob Riis HousesDaniel Maurer Scene of Monday’s shooting.

Tonight is the last meeting of the Ninth Precinct Community Council this summer, and one subject is sure to come up: the recent uptick in crime in the East Village.

According to the latest crime statistics compiled by the Police Department, felony assaults have increased by 33 percent in the last 28 days in comparison with the same period last year. Robberies are up 29 percent when comparing the same time frames.

In the year to date, overall crime is up by roughly 3 percent when compared to 2011, according to statistics.

The spike comes amid recent high-profile incidents in the neighborhood, including the first homicide of the year, as well as a stabbing in East River Park. Read more…

The Day | Gun Bust at Union Square and 13 Other Morning Reads

Found kittenSuzanne Rozdeba
Lost dogSuzanne Rozdeba

Good morning, East Village.

Take note, pet owners: the flyer above and another at right went up around the neighborhood recently.

The Post reports that Kenneth Moreno, the former police officer who was acquitted of raping a woman on duty but fired after being found guilty of official misconduct, is thinking about suing the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for allegedly planting incriminating evidence.

You’ll recall baggies of heroin were found in Mr. Moreno’s locker, and woes at the stationhouse continue: The Post hears from a source that the last of four 9mm pistols stolen from the locker room was swiped after officers were assigned to patrol the room.

Speaking of guns, The Daily News reports that two teens were arrested at the Union Square station when police officers who stopped them for evading the fare found a pair of guns and two bulletproof vests on them. Read more…

Notes from the Ninth: Elevator Stick-Ups, iPhone Bandits, and a Shooting Update

IMG_3074Stephen Rex Brown Capt. John Cappelmann

At last night’s meeting of the Ninth Precinct Community Council, Capt. John Cappelmann shared the latest on the early-morning shooting on May 12. “The guy didn’t wait for police,” Capt. Cappelmann said of the 29-year-old who took himself to Bellevue Hospital after being shot in the lower right leg. “Usually that means they were up to no good in the first place.”

He added that the victim is “no surprise. He’s known to us very well.” Surveillance cameras captured people fleeing the scene following the shooting, and police officers are dedicating manpower to preventing retaliation for the incident.

While that investigation is ongoing, Capt. Cappelmann singled out a few notable collars and said that crime in the neighborhood has decreased overall by 13 percent in comparison with the same 28-day period last year. Here’s a roundup of recent arrests and other items of note. Read more…

Notes from the Ninth: More Officers, Less Burglaries, Uptick in iPad Swipes

IMG_3074Stephen Rex Brown Capt. John Cappelmann

Last night’s meeting of the Ninth Precinct Community Council featured several interesting details regarding recent crime in the neighborhood. Here’s a roundup, and check back later for more detailed posts about other recent arrests.

Capt. John Cappelmann, the new commanding officer of the Ninth Precinct, reported that four new officers started patrolling the neighborhood on Monday, as he promised in January. Four to six more officers should start in the next couple of weeks, some of whom will focus on quality of life issues. “It’s a tremendous boost for us in personnel numbers,” Capt. Cappelmann said. Read more…

Crime Report: Subway Showdowns, Cell Swipes, Purse Pinches, and More


Here’s the latest installment of “Police And Thieves,” The Local’s regular roundup of crime. What follows are the latest reports from March 12 to 18, sorted by the type of incident. Plus: Our map of all of crime since Jan. 15.

Trouble on the Trains

Astor Place Subway Station, East Village, New York City 2Vivienne Gucwa The Astor Place station.
  • A thief chucked two sneakers at a man and robbed him on March 12. The 44-year-old victim told the police he was sitting on a bench on the northbound platform in the Astor Place station at around 6 a.m. when a man sat beside him and said, “I’m going to kill you if you don’t give me your money.” After getting what he asked for, the suspect reached into his jacket, pulled out the shoe and threw it at the victim, hitting him in the back. The victim alerted a booth clerk, and re-approached the suspect, who had moved up the platform, only to get a shoe hurled at him again.
  • A guy asked a woman for directions in the Second Avenue subway station and then snatched her cellphone on March 17. The 23-year-old victim said that after she gave the suspect directions at around 9:50 p.m., he grabbed her iPhone 4S from her hand. She gave chase but lost the thief on the street.
  • After drinking till closing time at Double Down Saloon on March 18, a 27-year-old from Wisconsin passed out on a subway platform. He woke up four hours later and was missing his cellphone as well as the iPhone that he used for browsing the internet. To add insult to injury, when he awoke and tried to report the crime to a booth clerk at the station she wouldn’t help him out. Read more…

Burglars, Noise, and Money Boys: A Sit-Down With the Ninth’s New Commanding Officer

IMG_3074Stephen Rex Brown Captain John Cappelmann at the Ninth Precinct.

Captain John Cappelmann has taken over his new post as the top police officer in the East Village with a bang, arresting three men suspected of a string of nine middle-of-the-night robberies of local businesses as well as a series of apartment break-ins.

In a conversation with The Local that covered his previous experience policing public housing in Northern Manhattan, gang activity in the East Village and the challenges of quality of life enforcement, the new commanding officer of the Ninth Precinct shared a few more details about the bust.

“Burglaries are the biggest crime that we have here, grand larcenies notwithstanding,” Captain Cappelmann said in his office overlooking East Fifth Street. “We normally average about 16 for a 28-day period. So, that would be four a week on average from last year. Now to go almost three days since the arrest without any burglaries, I think we got the right people.”
Read more…

In East Village, Minorities Stopped and Questioned in Greater Numbers

Obie JohnsonJared Malsin Obie Johnson, 66, a Marine veteran, said he was
stopped and searched by the police.

In the East Village last year, blacks and Hispanics were stopped and questioned by the police more often than whites, according to newly released stop-and-frisk statistics and a street poll conducted by The Local. The neighborhood’s new Commanding Officer touts the effectiveness of the controversial policy, but some residents complain that it has been used to unfairly target minorities.

According to data obtained from the Police Department by the New York Civil Liberties Union and released yesterday, police officers stopped and questioned people in the Ninth Precinct (which covers the East Village) 3,614 times in 2011. Of those stopped, 1,113 were black, and 1,200 were listed as either “black Hispanic” or “white Hispanic.” Altogether, 63 percent of those stopped were either black or Hispanic –  even though, according to 2010 census data, those groups made up just 33.1 percent of the neighborhood’s population. Just 28 percent of those stopped (about 1,033 people) were white, though 63 percent of East Village residents belonged to that race.

Those numbers are in keeping with an informal poll in which The Local surveyed 107 people, roughly half of them on Second Avenue, and half on Avenue C. Of 55 people approached at Second Avenue and Fourth Street, only three (six percent) said they had been stopped and questioned. On Avenue C and Fourth Street, 14 out of 52 people (about 27 percent) said they had been stopped and questioned.

During a conversation with The Local, Captain John Cappelmann, the new Commanding Officer of the Ninth Precinct, described stop-and-frisk as an “effective crime-fighting tool,” citing a Monday morning arrest in connection with a string of restaurant robberies in the neighborhood. He hypothesized, “If someone had seen one of the perps walking down the street the other day with a crow bar right before he crow-barred the window? You want to stop him before he commits the crime, right?”

But many East Village residents who spoke with The Local said they believed that stop-and-frisk was being applied selectively – a concern that last month prompted Community Board 3 to support a resolution, brought by Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, calling for the policy’s reform. Mr. Stringer, who spoke at a protest on Tuesday, has blamed the enforcement technique for “creating a wall of distrust between people of color and the police,” and is calling for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into whether the Police Department is committing racial profiling. Read more…

East Village Gets New Commanding Officer

Screen shot 2012-02-02 at 12.58.08 PMNYPD Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lehr

Captain John Cappelmann has replaced Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lehr as the top police officer in the Ninth Precinct, which covers the East Village.

Detective Jaime Hernandez of Community Affairs at the Ninth Precinct confirmed the move, and said that Captain Cappelmann came over from Public Service Area 6, which covers public houses in Harlem and the Upper West Side.

The new commanding officer will be formally introduced at the next community council meeting on Feb. 21 at the Ninth Precinct station house on East Fifth Street. Read more…

Crime Generally Down in East Village This Year, Petit Larceny and Car Theft Up

Yesterday, City Room reported that “the picture of crime in New York City in 2011 is shaping up as virtually a mirror image of the year before, according to police statistics.” In the East Village, statistics released this week (tracking incidents reported to the Ninth Precinct in the period ending Dec. 11) show that crime complaints were almost universally down with three weeks left in the year. Petit larceny (theft of property valued at $1,000 or less), grand larceny auto, and misdemeanor sex crimes were the only categories that saw increases in reported crime following Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lehr’s appointment as precinct commander in January. Below, our chart comparing this year’s numbers with last year’s, and comparing the percentage of change in the Ninth Precinct to the same citywide.

Screen shot 2011-12-23 at 10.39.48 AM

Angelica Kitchen Told to Stop B.Y.O.B. Service

Stephen Rex Brown Angelica Kitchen at 300 East 12th Street.

Officers from the Ninth Precinct ordered the staff of the popular vegan restaurant, Angelica Kitchen, to stop allowing customers to bring their own bottles — but it’s not clear why.

The owner of the eatery, Leslie McEachern, said that the officers told a manager on Friday night to cease-and-desist B.Y.O.B. service, citing a complaint from Community Board 3. But the district manager of Community Board 3, Susan Stetzer, said she had never heard a complaint about the restaurant on 12th Street near Second Avenue since she took her job in 2004.

“I have no idea why they came, really,” said Ms. McEachern. “For now, we’re just complying with the order.” Read more…

Arrest Made For Attempted Rape, Says Lieutenant (Updated)

Screen shot 2011-11-14 at 8.51.11 AM Surveillance footage released by N.Y.P.D.

The police have arrested a suspect in Sunday’s early-morning attempted rape, Lieutenant Patrick Ferguson of the Ninth Precinct announced tonight.

Mr. Ferguson said that he had just heard about the arrest shortly before addressing around 25 attendees at a Ninth Precinct Community Council meeting and had no further information. A police spokesman had not yet received any information regarding the arrest of the suspect, either. [See update below.] Read more…

Residents Sound Off to Police About 13th Step and Other Boisterous Bars

bar story 13th step beer specialSimon McCormack

During two separate meetings with representatives of the police department this week, East Villagers complained about noise caused by the 13th Step on Second Avenue between Ninth and Tenth Streets, with one resident comparing the sports bar to Sodom and Gomorrah. Last night, other bars – including the Village Pourhouse, Webster Hall, and Amsterdam Billiards – were also singled out as sources of fighting and noise.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Ninth Precinct Community Council, David Keller, who lives across the street from the bar, complained that “late at night, it transforms into a nightclub. There is a line winding down the street.” Lieutenant Patrick Ferguson described it as one of the most successful bars in the neighborhood. He said the police were well aware of the quality of life issues there, but that it passed a noise test by the Department of Environmental Protection on Sept. 17, so there wasn’t much he could do.

Last night, the bar came up again at a community forum at Webster Hall, meant to address ongoing nightlife problems around Second and Third Avenues.

A crowd of about 25 gathered at the nightclub to discuss heavy foot traffic, street noise, and drunken behavior in the northwest corner of the East Village on weekend nights. Webster Hall general manager Gerard McNamee, who began hosting bi-annual community forums about four years ago, moderated the conversation, which incorporated voices of neighbors across generations and representatives from popular bars on nearby blocks, including the Village Pourhouse and Amsterdam Billiards. Read more…

Here They Are: The Heroes of the Ninth Precinct

Officer LuongoDominique Zonyee Scott Officer James Luongo

On Nov. 11 of last year, Sergeant Michael Fabitti and officers Katherine Keating, Joanna Lopez, and Natasha Deleon came upon a burning building at East Fourth Street and Avenue A. Recognizing that many of the residents would still be asleep in their apartments, the police officers ran into the blaze and helped evacuate the building. No one died — though all the officers and seven residents were treated for smoke inhalation.

The heroic tale of police work was just one of the many stories shared on Wednesday evening in Cooper Union’s Great Hall as part of the Ninth Precinct Community Council’s 16th annual awards ceremony. Read more…

After Death on FDR, Hostility Toward NYPD

Screen shot 2011-09-21 at 3.32.54 PMGoogle Maps The Jacob Riis Houses, where Mr. Brown lived, at FDR Drive and Sixth Street.

The death of a man fleeing police across FDR Drive last week has led to aggression toward officers patrolling Avenue D, with some angry residents even tossing objects from the rooftops at them.

Lieutenant Patrick Ferguson of the Ninth Precinct revealed that the environment on Avenue D has taken a turn for the worse at a meeting of the Ninth Precinct Community Council last night.

“It’s been hostile,” said Mr. Ferguson. “We don’t have the best of friends there right now.” Read more…

Man Arrested for Rape on East Eighth Street

303 East Eighth StreetDaniel Maurer 303 East Eighth Street

A 51-year-old man was arrested for raping a woman on Saturday morning, an N.Y.P.D. spokesman said.

The victim told the police that the suspect threw her to the ground outside of 303 East Eighth Street at around 8:19 a.m. and attacked her. The suspect was arrested at the scene between Avenues B and C. The victim — whose age was not available — was treated at Bellevue Hospital and had bruising to the face, according to the spokesman.

A resident in the area commented on EV Grieve that a person walked out of a building nearby, saw the crime and called 911.

According to the latest crime statistics, the incident is at least the tenth rape this year in the Ninth Precinct, which covers the East Village.

Crime-Fighting Dogs

East Village residents can eat free hot dogs, jump in a moon bounce and meet local N.Y.P.D. members at today’s National Night Out event hosted by the Ninth Police Precinct. The block party (which runs until 8 p.m. in the space across from the Precinct at 321 East Fifth Street) is one of many community events across the country designed to facilitate interaction between neighbors and police.

An Alert in an Attempted Bank Robbery

SuspectCourtesy of NYPDA police photo of the suspect.

The police are searching for a suspect in an attempted bank robbery Monday morning. Around 10:30 a.m., a man entered Bank of America at 72 Second Avenue and passed a note demanding money. The authorities describe the suspect, who did not receive any money, as a man in his 40’s who was wearing a white shirt and carrying a black backpack.

Board Weighs In On Sentencing

Community Board 3 passed a resolution Tuesday night condemning the actions of the two former Ninth Precinct police officers who were convicted of official misconduct in May. The former officers, Kenneth Moreno and Franklin L. Mata, were acquitted of all other charges from the 2008 incident in which a woman said that she was raped by the officers after they helped her to her East Village home. The resolution calls on the sentencing judge to impose the harshest possible punishment on each of the men — two years in prison.
Laura E. Lee