Priest Urges Action Against Drug Dealers, Gets "Watch Your Back" Letter

The Upper East Side priest, tired of neighborhood drug dealers, urged his parishioners to take action

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Manhattan priest who was tired of neighborhood drug dealers and urged his parishioners during a sermon to take action got a threatening letter in the mail days later. Andrew Siff reports.

    A Manhattan priest who was tired of neighborhood drug dealers and urged his parishioners during a sermon to take action got a threatening letter in the mail days later.
    "Watch your back," read the letter to the Rev. Boniface Ramsey, at St. Joseph's of Yorkville on the Upper East Side.

    The priest showed the letter to the NYPD, and police have added patrols near his 87th Street and First Avenue location, which is not far from Gracie Mansion, the historical mayoral residence.
    "I feel really safe," Ramsey told NBC 4 New York. "I feel really protected by God. I feel that the parishioners are behind me."
    Ramsey's battle against criminal activity in the neighborhood got immediate attention from his congregation. He gathered 600 signatures from locals, aimed at getting more police to combat loitering, drunkenness and suspected drug activity on the corner of the intersection just yards from the church.
    "I've seen the people that use the drugs," said Allen Rogers, a retired police officer who has lived down the block for more than 40 years."Why should anybody make a threatening letter against a person that's trying to do what's right?"
    Since Ramsey received the letter, an NYPD community affairs officer has been in touch with either the priest or the principal at St. Joseph's "on a daily basis," said Sgt. Brendan Ryan.