<![CDATA[NBC New York - Crime and Courts]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/feature/crime-and-courts http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:36:23 -0400 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:36:23 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Bank Tellers Accused of Stealing Customer ID, Cash]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:03:03 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/money_handcuffs_generic_nbc.jpg

Four local bank tellers and an alleged accomplice were arrested and charged with stealing customer's personal information and using it to remove money from their bank accounts, authorities said Tuesday.

Over four years, the defendants allegedly stole more than $850,000 from unsuspecting customers at branches of Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, TD Bank and Wachovia in Westchester and Orange counties and the Bronx, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.

The tellers allegedly stole Social Security and account numbers from hundreds of customers and used that information to create fake IDs and documents that they used to withdraw money from their accounts at branches in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts, Schneiderman said.

All five defendants were charged with grand larceny, identity theft and fraud charges.  More charges are expected to brought against the suspects and other alleged members of the identity theft ring, Schneiderman said.

Among the New York bank branches whose customers were victims of identity theft are:

• JP Morgan Chase: 5 West Burnside Avenue, Bronx, NY

• HSBC: 1 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY

• Bank of America: 50 West Fordham Road, Bronx, NY

• Bank of America: 206 Main Street, White Plains, NY

• JP Morgan Chase: 235 Main Street, White Plains, NY

• JP Morgan Chase: 410 South Broadway, Yonkers, NY

• Bank of America: 479 North Broadway, Jericho, NY

• Wachovia (now Wells Fargo): 43 North Plank Road, Newburgh, NY

The bank tellers arrested and arraigned worked at the following branches:

• Bank of America branch at 206 Main Street in White Plains.

• JP Morgan Chase branch, at 235 Main Street, White Plains.

•  Wachovia branch (now a Wells Fargo bank branch), at 43 N. Plank Road, in Newburgh.
 

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<![CDATA[Bodega Shooting Suspect Apprehended in S.C: Cops]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 12:05:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Bronx-Bodega-Shooting-0803.jpg

The suspect wanted in connection with the August shooting of a 37-year-old customer in a Bronx bodega has been been taken into custody in South Carolina, police say.

The unidentified suspect is awaiting extradition to New York after he was apprehended earlier this week.

He was allegedly caught on camera shooting the customer several times at close range and whipping him in the face with his gun at the Webster Avenue store in Claremont Aug. 2.

Surveillance footage from the store shows the customer trying to run away as someone fires several shots, hitting the man in the body. The customer falls to the ground, and the shooter walks up and fires several more shots before hitting the victim in the face with the gun.

At the time, the victim was taken to Lincoln Hospital in critical condition, police say. His current condition wasn't immediately clear. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

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<![CDATA[Suspect Sought in Deadly East Harlem Stabbing]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 20:10:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/carlos+molina+suspect.jpg

Police are searching for a man who allegedly stabbed two people, one of them fatally, in East Harlem Friday morning. 

Officers were called to the front of 2371 2nd Ave. at about 5:45 a.m. for a report of a man stabbed, police said. There, they found a 36-year-old man with stab wounds to the the torso and a 48-year-old woman with a stab wound to the wrist. 

The man was taken to Harlem Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He has been identified as Gerardo Madera of the Bronx. 

The woman was taken to Metropolitan Hospital where's she listed in stable condition, police said. 

Police are searching for Carlos Molina, 56, in the deadly stabbing. He's described as about 5 feet 5 inches and 135 pounds, with a tattoo design around his neck and a tattoo of a woman on his arm.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. 

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<![CDATA[Man Sexually Assaulted 2 Women Inside Queens Mall: NYPD]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 17:10:58 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/queens+center+mall+sex+abuse+suspect.jpg

Police are looking for a man they say sexually abused two women within minutes inside Queens Center Mall Thursday. 

The man first approached a 25-year-old employee inside a clothing store at the mall in Elmhurst at about 3 p.m. and placed his hand along the victim's legs and groped her over her clothing, according to police. 

He ran away, and about five minutes later, approached a 34-year-old woman from behind, put his arms around her waist and began rubbing his groin against her, police said. He then fled again.

The suspect is described as being about 30 to 35 years old, about 6 feet 1 inch, and 200 to 230 pounds. He was wearing a blue varsity jacket with red sleeves, black sunglasses, dark jeans, white sneakers, black baseball hat, white scarf and was carrying a briefcase, police said. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. 

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<![CDATA[Man Who Killed NY Officer Receives Life Sentence]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 19:52:14 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/officer-shot-inset.jpg

A man who was convicted of killing a Long Island police officer during a traffic stop and another motorist during his getaway was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole.

Darrell Fuller, 34, of Queens, was convicted in July of first- and second-degree murder.

"Mr. Despicable, you will never see the light of day," Judge Jerald Carter told Fuller at the sentencing. "You will remain behind bars as you wait for the hell on the other side of the ledger."

Prosecutors said Nassau County Police Officer Arthur Lopez, 29, of Babylon, and his partner saw a car driven by Fuller collide with a van in October 2012. Fuller, who was violating parole by carrying a loaded gun, drove off in his damaged car.

After a pursuit and traffic stop near the Belmont racetrack, Lopez approached Fuller and Fuller fired a handgun from 5 feet away, killing the officer, prosecutors said.

He then spotted Raymond Facey, 58, of Brooklyn, who had stopped along the road to make a phone call. Fuller killed him with a shot to the head and stole his car, prosecutors said.

According to testimony, Fuller then drove to Queens and had a friend shoot him in the leg to make it appear he had been a victim.

At his trial, Fuller's attorney called no witnesses and argued that no one actually saw Fuller firing the shots that killed either Lopez or Facey.

-Greg Cergol contributed reporting. Follow him on Twitter: @GregCergol4NY


 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

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<![CDATA[NY Rabbi Rejects Plea Deal in Sex Abuse Case]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 09:25:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/rabbi+arrest.jpg

A rabbi in Rockland County has rejected a plea agreement and will fight allegations that he sexually abused a 7-year-old boy.

Rabbi Gavriel Bodenheimer is principal of Yeshiva Bais Mikroh in Monsey in Rockland County.

His lawyer tells the Journal News that his defense will include two recorded phone conversations. In them, the rabbi allegedly tells the boy he doesn't know what he's talking about and "should go to the police if he has concerns."

Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe has declined comment.

Bodenheimer faces criminal sexual act and first-degree sex abuse charges. They carry a maximum of 25 years in prison.

Prosecutors say the rabbi allegedly abused the boy at his school office between August 2009 and July 2010.

He's free on $25,000 bail.

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<![CDATA[Two Stabbed, One Fatally, in East Harlem]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 10:04:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Generic+Police+Car+VG.jpg

Two people were found stabbed, one fatally, in East Harlem Friday morning, police said.

Responding to a report of a stabbing at 2371 Second Avenue at 5:45 a.m., police found a 36-year-old man with stab wounds to the torso and a 48-year-old woman with a stab wound to her wrist. 

The man was taken to Harlem Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.  The female victim is listed in stable condition at Metropolitan Hospital.  

The police did not name the deceased because his family has not been notified.  No arrests were made and the stabbing remains under investigation, police said 



Photo Credit: Valeria Gonzalez]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Driver Accused in Death of 4-Year-Old Arrested Again]]> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 14:26:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/franklin+reyes.jpg

The unlicensed teen driver accused of striking and killing a 4-year-old while fleeing police has been charged with injuring a police officer while fleeing another traffic stop.

Police say 18-year-old Franklin Reyes, who was ordered not to drive while out on bail on the earlier charge, made an illegal turn on Sunday evening.

Authorities say Reyes refused to stop. An officer reached through a passenger side window to try to put the SUV in park.

Police say Reyes sped off and the officer was dragged about a block.

His lawyer didn't immediately return a call for comment.

Reyes, who only had a learner's permit, was charged with manslaughter in the death of Ariel Russo last year. Police say Reyes was fleeing when his SUV jumped a curb, pinning Ariel. He pleaded not guilty

Russo's family expressed anger after the bail hearing last year. 

"My daughter's dead and this guy's going to be free," said Alan Russo, Ariel's father. "He's going to have the summer, he's going to be home, he is going to play video games, he is going to eat his mom's home-cooked food." "

In July, Reyes was arrested in a case unrelated to the two vehicle charges. He  was arrested on a petit larceny charge along with his father, prosecutors said Saturday. Prosecutors say he and his father targeted the apartment of a dead resident in the Chelsea building where his father is a superintendent. They are accused of taking a camera, alcohol, jewelry and cash from the apartment.

Reyes' lawyer, Martin Schmukler, said at the time that the allegations were not true.



Photo Credit: Robert Mecea]]>
<![CDATA[Newark Shopkeeper Abducted, Killed: Cops]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 21:18:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/newark-homicide-inset-flaco.jpg

A deli owner about to open his family store for the day's business was abducted and fatally shot during a robbery in Newark on Friday morning, police said. 

The victim, Jose Rivas, 26, was opening the Yesi Supermarket on Osbourne Terrace when he was forced into a four-door silver car shortly after 8 a.m., authorities said. He was found by a neighbor several blocks away on Hunterdon Street with a fatal gunshot wound, according to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office. 

The slaying of Rivas, affectionately as "Flaco" because he was a skinny guy, shocked the community because they said the store owner was loved by relatives, business associates and customers alike .

"They loved him," said Michelle Whitaker, a neighbor. "We loved him. It's just a travesty...It's just too much to deal with."

The salesman who supplied the supermarket with Goya products said Rivas "was much more than a customer, he was a friend."

"He was a very friendly guy, talked to everybody. all of these people, in the neighborhood, they would come in, talk to him, make jokes with him... so sad," said the salesman Jose Trinidad. 

Rivas' shooting is the 58th killing in Newark this year. Friends say they are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. 

"It just wasn't a regular corner store," said Whitaker."It was friendly. It was some place where we all liked to come through. And he made it even better to come into because of how he was." 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Essex County Prosecutor at (877) 847-7432 or (973) 621-4586.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York/Handout]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Cop Accused of Tormenting Ex-Girlfriend Online]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:14:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nj+cop+indicted.jpg

A 33-year-old New Jersey police officer was indicted on stalking and official misconduct charges for allegedly tormenting his ex-girlfriend online, publishing humiliating and harassing messages about her, and improperly accessing a law enforcement database when she asked him to help find the culprit, prosecutors say.

Brick Township officer Justin Delaney allegedly posted the messages, which prosecutors described as "harassing, annoying, humiliating and alarming," on Instagram and Facebook, among other social media outlets between November 2012 and May 2013.

He's also accused of using a prepaid cellphone to send text messages and make phone calls to her in the same vein.

According to the indictment, the woman asked Delaney to help her identify her tormentor, at which point he allegedly improperly accessed a database and provided the purported results of that inquiry to his ex-girlfriend -- results that created a false impression the cellphone used by the stalker was untraceable.

Prosecutors say a subsequent investigation revealed Delaney was allegedly the person who purchased the prepaid phone used in the "offensive and disturbing" communications. Investigators also connected the IP address used to post the messages on social media to Delaney's computer, according to court papers.

Delaney has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation. If convicted of the top count of official misconduct against him, he faces up to 10 years in state prison.

Information on an attorney for him wasn't immediately available.

The Brick Township Police Department cooperated fully with investigators, prosecutors said.
 

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<![CDATA[NJ Cops Release Video of Suspect in 3 Punch Attacks]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 08:24:55 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/knockout+punch.jpg

Hackensack police released surveillance video Wednesday of a man suspected of punching three people in 15 minutes in random attacks on Monday night.

One of the victims told NBC 4 New York that he was knocked to the ground after he was punched in the jaw from behind as he was walking home from work. 

"In New York, I'm prepared for this," said Vincent, who did not want to use his last name. "In Hackensack, I let my guard down. I was a block away from my mother's house."

The surveillance video shows the suspect, dressed in all black and wearing a Brooklyn Nets cap. Vincent was attacked on Essex Street at 10:35 p.m., police said.

About 10 minutes later, another man was punched at Summit Avenue and Beech Street.  Just minutes later and about 100 feet away, the third victim was attacked, police said. 

Vincent said he hopes someone recognizes his assailant and calls police before he punches someone else.

"It's utter foolishness," said Vincent. "And if that's the way you need to prove your manhood, that's wrong."

Police say they will increase patrols in the area.

Anyone with information is asked to call 201-646-7777.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

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<![CDATA[Rabbi Accused of Sex Abuse at NY Yeshiva]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 01:47:48 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/rabbi+arrest.jpg

A 70-year-old rabbi in Rockland, New York, was arrested Tuesday, accused of repeatedly sexually abusing a boy while he was serving as principal at the boy's yeshiva, prosecutors say. 

The investigation into Gabriel Bodenheimer of Monsey began when the alleged victim, now 12 years old, went to the Town of Ramapo police to report he'd been sexually abused while he was a student at the Bais Mikroh School.

According to investigators, the rabbi began abusing the boy in August 2009, when the boy was 7 years old, up through July 2010, in the principal's office at the school. 

Bodenheimer was arraigned on criminal sex act and sex abuse charges, and his bail was set at $25,000. His next court date is set for Aug. 26. 

His attorney Deborah Wolikow Loewenberg said, "Well fight these allegations because they're not true, and we'll do that in a court of law." 

Ramapo police are asking anyone else who may be victims or who have more information about the case to contact them. 

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<![CDATA[Man Arrested in White Scrubs Rape Case: Police]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 07:28:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/scrub+rape+suspect.jpg

Police say they have arrested the man who was caught on video fleeing the scene of a Bronx armed rape while wearing white scrubs.

The 22-year-old man was arrested Friday on charges of rape, criminal sexual act and weapon possession, the NYPD said Saturday. It wasn't immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

Surveillance video from the July 20 attack showed a man in white hospital scrubs and red sneakers leaving the scene on Meyers Street in the Bronx after allegedly raping a 24-year-old woman at gunpoint.

Law enforcement sources have said that attack has been connected to another on May 12 just a few blocks away. But the arrested man has only been charged in connection with the July 20 rape, police said.

In the earlier attack, a woman was brutally beaten at Latting Street and Edwards Avenue, a few blocks from the street rape several weeks later.

Police sources said the man tried to rape the victim, but neighbors came to her rescue.

"We heard screaming and then we saw an individual run away, but it was too dark to identify who he was," one of the neighbors told NBC 4 New York. "Then we ran out to see what happened. There was blood, and she had some of her teeth missing."

Detectives were seen at the scene Thursday talking to the public and handing out fliers. 

--Brynn Gingras contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Persons of Interest in Bridge Flag Mystery ID'd: Cops]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 20:48:17 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/police+white+flag+bridge.jpg

Authorities have identified persons of interest in connection with the Brooklyn Bridge white flag mystery, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton tells NBC 4 New York, but the city's top cop won't say when arrests may be executed. 

Officials had said they were looking for four people captured on video entering the Brooklyn Bridge around the time two bleached-white American flags were planted on the span July 22. They were found fluttering that morning from poles perched on the stone supports where two American flags are normally positioned, confusing passersby, who weren't sure if it was a publicity stunt or something more nefarious, and stumping police. 

Bratton said police believe they know what happened -- and who did it.

"We believe we know who a number of the people are that engaged in that action and that investigation is moving forward and is consuming a lot of investigatory resources as it should," Bratton told NBC 4 New York. "That event should not have happened."

The police commissioner also said the investigation indicated there was "no terrorist threat" involved.

Investigators have been running license plate numbers, scouring social media, examining cellphone transmissions and collecting DNA as part of their investigation. 

The high-quality flags, measuring about 11 feet about 20 feet, were made out of white linen, and the stars were individually stitched on, according to a senior law enforcement official. There were also large aluminum pans affixed over the bridge lights that normally illuminate the flags, secured with zip ties.

The NYPD obtained a small amount of DNA from the flags or tin pans that investigators planned to test. It wasn't clear if the results from that DNA test helped police identify the persons of interest.

The bridge is one of the most heavily secured landmarks in the city, constantly monitored by surveillance cameras.

The American flags fly from above the pillars year-round and are replaced by transportation workers when they become frayed about every two months, police said. They are lit from the bottom by a lamp at the base of each tower at night. 

More than 120,000 vehicles, 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 bicyclists cross the Brooklyn Bridge every day, said the city's Department of Transportation, which maintains the crossing.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[CT Police Nab Suspect in Catalytic Converter Thefts]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 09:15:13 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/handcuffs12.jpg

Connecticut police have arrested a man accused of stealing catalytic converters from parking lots near the Westport Metro-North station, and they say he could be connected to other thefts in the area.

Clifford St. Arnault, 35, of East Haven, was arrested around 11:30 a.m. Thursday after police spotted him driving through parking lots near the Saugatuck station. Police said St. Arnault’s truck matched the description of a vehicle suspected in catalytic converter thefts, and officers pulled him over on Saugatuck Avenue.

St. Arnault was found with with just-cut catalytic converters and a reciprocating saw, along with tire rims and motorcycle parts, according to police.

St. Arnault was arrested and charged with fifth-degree larceny and possession of burglary tools. His bond was set at $5,000. It was not clear if St. Arnault had a lawyer. 

Police said he’s a suspect in other catalytic converter thefts and could face additional charges if linked to the crimes.

Westport police are continuing to investigate along with surrounding police departments.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[City to Pay $2M to Family of Brooklyn Man Killed by Cop Car]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 08:55:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nypd+crash+car+bill.jpg

New York City has agreed to a $2 million settlement with the family of a Brooklyn man who died in a collision with a police car.

Tamon Robinson died in April 2012 during a police chase in Canarsie. Officers said they had caught the 27-year-old digging up paving stones.

The police accident report said the vehicle was stopped when Robinson ran into it, fell and hit his head. Witnesses disputed that.

The city's law department called it a "fair and reasonable settlement."

Robinson's mother, Laverne Dobbinson, tells the Daily News that she still wants action taken against the officers. The Brooklyn district attorney's office continues to investigate.

In October 2012, city officials apologized for sending a $700 bill to the family for damage to the police vehicle.

Authorities say the 27-year-old tried to flee after he was spotted illegally digging up decorative paving stones. It remains unclear if he accidentally collided with a squad car or was hit.

A  sizeable dent was left on the left side of the vehicle.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Rapist in White Scrubs Wanted in 2nd Attack: Sources]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 14:09:53 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/scrub+rape+suspect.jpg

An armed rape suspect wanted in a brazen New York City street attack is now being connected to another assault just a few blocks away, law enforcement sources say.

Surveillance video from the July 20 attack showed the suspect in white hospital scrubs and red sneakers leaving the scene on Meyers Street in the Bronx after allegedly raping a 24-year-old woman at gunpoint.

Sources say he's been connected to another assault on May 12 in which a woman was brutally beaten at Latting Street and Edwards Avenue, a few blocks from the July attack.

Police sources said the man tried to rape the victim, but neighbors came to her rescue.

"We heard screaming and then we saw an individual run away, but it was too dark to identify who he was," one of the neighbors told NBC 4 New York. "Then we ran out to see what happened. There was blood, and she had some of her teeth missing."

Detectives were seen at the scene Thursday talking to the public and handing out flyers.

A $2,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the suspect's arrest.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[PBA Blasts Eric Garner Autopsy Report]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 07:18:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/patrick-lynch-pba.jpg

Mayor de Blasio on Tuesday defended a medical examiner's ruling that a man was killed by neck compressions caused by a police officer's apparent chokehold, while the powerful police union representing rank-and-file officers called the death report "political."

Speaking at a news conference minutes after Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch denied that NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo used a chokehold while attempting to arrest Eric Garner on July 17, de Blasio told reporters that the city's medical examiner's office was "the gold standard in this country" for medical science.

Last week, the medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide, saying it was caused by neck compressions from a chokehold and "the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police." Asthma, heart disease and obesity were contributing factors in the death, the medical examiner said.

Prosecutors are still investigating. Pantaleo has been stripped of his gun and badge. Partial video of the arrest shows that Garner, 43, who was being arrested on Staten Island for selling untaxed single cigarettes, told the officers taking him into custody that he was being harassed.

The 6-foot-3-inch, 350-pound man then shook his arm free from an officer's grasp before he was placed into the chokehold and brought to the ground.

In the video, he can be heard complaining that he can't breathe.

Both the police commissioner and the mayor have said it appears a chokehold was used. Chokeholds are banned under NYPD policy.

On Tuesday, Lynch disputed the findings, telling reporters that Garner had been warned by officers the week before his death to stop selling cigarettes.

He denied allegations made by the Rev. Al Sharpton and others that race played any role in the confrontation between Garner, who is black, and Pantaleo, who is white.

"It is a person's behavior that leads to interactions with police, not who they are, what they look like or how much money they have in their pocket," Lynch said.

De Blasio, who stressed that he had "immense respect" for the NYPD, also addressed comments made by the head of the union representing sergeants, who said a supervising officer should oversee every arrest made. That could slow down officers' response times to fresh 911 calls, the mayor said.

"Union leaders say what union leaders say," de Blasio said. "I don't let the rhetoric of union leaders get in the way of getting job done."

Meanwhile, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, a police watchdog agency, is reexamining all  complaints of illegal chokeholds used by police officers over the past five years.

There were about 1,000 chokehold allegations in that period, including 608 that were not investigated, according to the board's chairman, Richard Emery.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Queens Couple Allegedly Starved, Terrorized Child for Years]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 22:49:05 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/queens+child+abuse+ozone+park.jpg

A Queens couple allegedly beat and starved their now 12-year-old daughter for two years, depriving her of food and water and hitting her with baseball bats and broom handles so severely that in one case, the little girl was found lying in a pool of blood with a wrist cut so deep her tendons were visible, prosecutors say.

Sheetal Ranot, who is the girl's stepmother, was arraigned Aug. 1 on first- and second-degree assault and child endangerment charges. Her husband, Rajesh Ranot, the child's biological father, was arraigned the same day on unlawful imprisonment and lesser assault charges.

Prosecutors allege the Ozone Park duo terrorized the child from December 2012 to July 2014.

According to a criminal complaint, Sheetal Ranot repeatedly hit her stepdaughter, causing bruising and pain, locked her in her bedroom and starved here for extended periods of time during that two-year span. In one case, the 31-year-old woman allegedly kicked the then 10-year-old girl in the face while wearing shoes.

Six months later, Ranot allegedly repeatedly hit the girl with a broken metal broom handle, leaving her with a cut near her knee and a cut so deep on her wrist that her tendons were exposed and she needed to have surgery.

Rajesh Ranot also allegedly starved the girl for years, and prosecutors say he forced her to take cold showers while he beat her with his fists and other household objects, including a baseball bat.

In April, Sheetal Ranot allegedly hit her stepdaughter in the face with a wooden rolling pin. The girl had to be taken to the hospital, and doctors there saw she was painfully thin -- weighing 58 pounds -- and wearing dirty clothes. It wasn't clear if they contacted authorities.

Over the next three weeks, prosecutors allege Rajesh Ranot continued to beat his daughter with a baseball bat. The girl was taken to the emergency room, where doctors noticed various bruises, marks and scars in different stages of healing all over her body. An investigation was launched and the stepmother and father were arrested shortly afterward.

"Despite the bruising and scarring on her body which served as a silent testament to the violence and cruelty she purportedly endured, it is alleged that for a long time this emaciated child was fearful of disclosing the true nature of her injuries or those responsible for her suffering for fear that her younger step-siblings would be taken away by authorities and placed in foster care," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. "Fortunately, she found the courage to speak up.”

Administration for Children's Services Commissioner Gladys Carrión, whose agency filed an abuse petition against the couple in family court, said, “I am deeply grateful to the Child Protective Specialists and Investigative Consultants whose diligence and professionalism saved the life of this young girl and ensured that she and her siblings were removed from this home and are now safe from further abuse."

It wasn't clear how many other children were in the home during the period of alleged abuse.

Sheetal Ranot is being held in lieu of $60,000 bail. She's being represented by Queens Law Associates; her lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Rajesh Ranot remains in jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. He is being represented by Legal Aid, which does not comment on pending litigation.  

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<![CDATA[Teen Arrested in Deadly Shooting of Girl on Queens Bus]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:25:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bus+shot+queens_edited-1.jpg

Police say they've arrested a second person in the deadly shooting of a 14-year-old girl on a Queens bus last year.

The 16-year-old Brooklyn boy, Shamel Capers, was arrested Wednesday on charges of second-degree murder, criminal use of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment in the May 2013 shooting death of D'Aja Robinson.

Robinson, of South Jamaica, was riding a city bus on her way home from a Sweet 16 party when she was shot in the head and killed by a stray bullet from gunfire on the street, police said.

She was sitting about three rows from the back of the Q6 bus near Sutphin and Rockaway boulevards when the shot came through the bus and killed her.

The Queens district attorney says Capers fired the shot that killed Robinson, one of multiple rounds that he allegedly fired at the bus. 

Capers surrendered to police Wednesday and was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court. He's next scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 13, and is being held without bail.

Attorney information wasn't immediately available. 

A second suspect, 22-year-old Kevin McClinton, is accused of grabbing the gun from Capers and continuing to shoot into the bus. He was arrested in South Carolina several weeks after the shooting, and remains jailed without bail. 

McClinton appeared in court  Thursday, and is next scheduled to appear for trial on Sept. 22.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[No Charges in Fatal NYPD Shooting of 16-Year-Old in Brooklyn ]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 07:26:59 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kimani+gray+mom.jpg

The officers involved in the shooting of a 16-year-old Brooklyn boy whose death sparked outrage and protests will not face criminal charges, the Brooklyn district attorney's office said Wednesday.

Kimani Gray was shot by two plainclothes officers in East Flatbush in March of 2013 after police said he pulled a gun on them. Gray's family and supporters have argued that no witnesses saw Gray with a gun. A gun was recovered from the scene, according to police. 

His death sparked days of rallies and outrage as protesters marched on the 67th Precinct, demanding that those officers be charged with a crime.  The demonstrators questioned the police account of the shooting and said they were fed up with aggressive law enforcement actions.

Gray was with a group of people the night of March 9, but left when he saw police in an unmarked car, police said. Authorities say he was acting suspicious when plainclothes officers approached him.

Police say Gray pointed a .38-caliber revolver at them, and they opened fire.

The medical examiner's office ruled that Gray was hit seven times in both the front and back of his body, including his shoulder, rib cage, forearm and legs.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NYPD Probing Anti-Islam Fliers Posted in Brooklyn]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:25:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/anti-muslim-flier-bensonhurst.jpg

The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is investigating anti-Muslim fliers that were posted in Bensonhurst over the weekend.

Police from the 62nd Precinct received a call Saturday morning from a 65-year-old woman who said a flier that read "Islamists go to your country!!! USA Hates you!!!" was posted on the front of her apartment building on 21st Drive.

Police canvassed the area and found 10 more identical fliers with anti-Muslim language and images.

Anyone with information about the fliers is asked to call police. 

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<![CDATA[Brooklyn Chain Snatching Caught on Tape]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:03:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bus-stop-chain-snatch.jpg

Police are looking for a man caught on surveillance video ripping a chain off a woman's neck and tossing her to the ground at a Coney Island bus stop. 

The 54-year-old woman was standing at the stop on Mermaid Avenue and West 31st Street on July 18 when the man walked by and snatched the chain, causing the woman to fall face first to the sidewalk.

The suspect was seen passing by the stop several times before the theft.

A bystander is seen in the video (above) helping the woman. The suspect runs away, and at least one witness can be seen chasing after him.

The victim was treated at a nearby hospital for a cut to her head.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. 

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<![CDATA[Man Pleads Not Guilty to Murdering 85-Year-Old Woman]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:57:27 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/grandma-gruber.jpg

A Mount Vernon man pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the death of a beloved 85-year-old grandmother whose body was found at the bottom of her basement stairs in February.

Lloyd Lewis, a neighbor of Emma Gruber, a longtime Mount Vernon resident and beloved fixture of the community, was remanded without bail after his arraignment Wednesday. In addition to murder, he was charged with multiple counts of burglary and petit larceny, among other offenses.

Investigators determined Gruber was killed by blunt force trauma. A piece of wood with her blood on it was found near her body, which was under a large pile of clothes and a piece of plywood.

A 32" flat screen TV was missing from her home and the basement was flooded because her water meter and copper pipes had been cut out and removed. Jewelry was also stolen.

Gruber was known for fostering children and giving out candy in her community.

Lewis faces up to life in prison without parole if he is convicted of the top charge against him.

Lewis' attorneys had asked the judge to delay his arraignment because they argued media in the courtroom could sway the jurors. The judge refused. They didn't comment on the case.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

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<![CDATA[Teen Cops to Top Charge in 110-MPH Crash That Killed Friends]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:23:49 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/joseph+beer+plea.jpg

A Queens teenager found guilty of second-degree manslaughter and reckless driving in an October 2012 crash that killed four of his friends pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated vehicular homicide, the top charge against him, in a deal to lessen prison time.

The Nassau County jury was deadlocked on that charge against 19-year-old Joseph Beer despite convicting him on the other counts. Beer was 17 when, prosecutors say, he drove in excess of 110 mph on the Southern State Parkway on Long Island, smashing into a tree. 

The crash happened on a stretch of highway dubbed "Dead Man's Curve" because of a treacherous hill that leads to a sharp curve in the highway. As Beer approached Exit 17N, he lost control of the car and skidded over 200 feet across all three lanes of traffic, then left the road and hit the tree.

The crash cut the high-performance Subaru in half. Beer's four friends, 17-year-old Neal Rajapa, 18-year-old Christophper Kahn, 18-year-old Darian Ramnarine and 18-year-old Peter Kanhai, were all thrown from the car and killed instantly.

During the trial, Beer's defense attorney conceded that the teen was speeding and high on pot but said the dangerous curve caused the crash.

Beer is "remorseful and never wanted this to happen," his lawyer Todd Greenberg said Tuesday. "He just wants this to end so everyone can move on."

Under the plea deal, Beer will face five to 15 years in prison.

Prosecutor Maureen McCormick said the district attorney's office agreed to the deal "to spare the victims' families from another trial."

Greenberg says he will appeal the conviction and seek youthful offender status for Beer to further limit his jail time.



Photo Credit: AP/NBCNewYork]]>
<![CDATA[2 U.S. Marshals, NYPD Officer Shot]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 03:24:29 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Village-Shooting-Suspect.jpg

Two U.S. marshals and an NYPD detective were shot Monday afternoon when a gun battle erupted in a Greenwich Village smoke shop as the officers tried to apprehend an accused child molester, authorities said. The suspect was killed in the shootout.

The officers were shot shortly after 1 p.m. in Smoking Culture, a smoke shop on West Fourth Street, where officers were acting on tip that the fugitive was working there. The detective went in the store between Jones and Cornelia streets and confirmed that suspect was alone. When the detective returned with U.S. Marshals to make an arrest, the suspect, Charles Mozdir, immediately opened fire with a .32-caliber revolver. 

"Mozdir fired upon the officers at very close range and the officers returned fire," Police Commissioner William Bratton said during an update from Bellevue Hospital.

The detective, was shot twice in the stomach below his bulletproof vest. He was in critical but stable condition. One marshal was shot in the leg and the other was hit in the elbow. All of the officers were in good spirits, Bratton said.

Bratton said the vest may have saved the officer's life, preventing a bullet that would have struck his torso. 

Mozdir is accused of sexually assaulting a boy he baby-sat in Coronado, California, near San Diego. The 32-year-old was recently profiled on "The Hunt with John Walsh," an "America's Most Wanted"-type show on CNN. 

Mozdir was wanted on a $1 million warrant. He was charged with multiple counts of committing forcible lewd acts on a child and attempting to dissuade a witness. He skipped an April court appearance in California and his car was found in Georgia two months later. The trail went cold after that until officers acted on information that he might be in New York City.

His weapon was recovered at the scene. Mozdir had 20 more rounds in his pockets, police said. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pregnant Mom Alleges NYPD Used Chokehold in BBQ Flap]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 07:15:46 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nypd-bk-alleged-choke.jpg

An expectant mom enjoying a front stoop barbecue with her family alleges a cop placed her in a chokehold outside her Brooklyn home when she questioned why he asked her to move the party to the backyard.

Rosan Miller, 27, of East New York, made her accusation nine days after the death of Eric Garner, who died after an apparent chokehold following an altercation with police.

Miller says officers approached her and husband about their grill Saturday afternoon and told them to move the barbecue to the backyard. When she asked why, her attorney claims one officer placed her in a chokehold.

Former City Councilman Charles Barron, who is serving as a spokesman for the family, would not allow reporters to ask specific questions about the altercation, citing pending litigation.

But Barron blamed Police Commissioner Bill Bratton's "broken windows" policing philosophy, which targets minor offenses to prevent major crimes.

"Nobody on the block complained about loud music or barbecuing at all," said Barron. "This is disgusting. Despicable."

A spokesman for the NYPD said the altercation is under review by the Internal Affairs Bureau.

Mayor de Blasio said he'd been briefed on the accusation but hadn't seen the still photographs or video circulated by the family.

"We have made clear what our view is on the use of chokeholds," said de Blasio. "It is not acceptable under any normal circumstances, but I don't want to rush to judgment."

The couple is due back in court in September on charges of obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct. 

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