Coney Island Man Indicted for Killing his 16-Month-Old Daughter

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

July 17, 2017

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Coney Island Man Indicted for Killing his 16-Month-Old Daughter

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 19-year-old man from Coney Island has been indicted on murder, assault and other charges for causing the death of his 16-month-old daughter, Nylah Lewis. He was previously charged with assault and charges were upgraded following the child’s death.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant, Shaquan Taylor, 19, took custody of his daughter Nylah starting on June 16, 2017. On June 18, Father’s Day, he contacted the toddler’s 17-year-old mother via Facebook Messenger and asked her to pick Nylah up from his West 32nd Street home.

The mother found the child unresponsive and told the defendant to call 911, but he refused, the investigation found. The mother took Nylah out of the apartment and the defendant allegedly struck her, handed the child to a bystander and continued to assault the mother, who had an order of protection against him based on a previous incident, according to the indictment. Nylah died five days later at the hospital.

When interviewed by detectives, the defendant claimed that Nylah fell from the bed. Her injuries are allegedly inconsistent with such a fall.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This father was supposed to protect his innocent baby daughter but instead he allegedly violently and senselessly took her life and then assaulted her mother when she tried to come to her rescue. I intend to hold him fully accountable for this unspeakable crime.”

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An indictment is only an accusatory instrument and is not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

 

Read the full press release here.

 

Crime in Brooklyn Continued to Drop in First Half of 2017, Outpacing Last Year’s Record Low Numbers

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

July 6, 2017

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Crime in Brooklyn Continued to Drop in First Half of 2017,
Outpacing Last Year’s Record Low Numbers

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that Brooklyn continued to experience major declines in crime during the first half of 2017, outpacing statistics from 2016, which was the safest year since record keeping began. There were double-digit drops in shooting incidents, shooting victims and homicides, as well as decreases in nearly all other crime categories, according to the latest statistics compiled by the New York City Police Department.

The Acting District Attorney said that 50 murders were recorded in Brooklyn so far in 2017. That figure is down 11 murders (18%) compared to this time last year and is on track for the fewest in the borough’s history (there were 128 murders in 2016 and 122 in 2014, the lowest year on record). There were 32 fewer shooting incidents compared to this time last year (a total of 136, down 19.2%) and 48 fewer shooting victims (a total of 155, down 23.7%).

Like in 2016, Brooklyn was the only borough to register declines in all three categories over this time period and the percent decreases outpaced the impressive citywide declines except for homicides, where the citywide drop was 21.6%. [All statistics are as of June 30, 2017, according to CompStat analysis]. It is notable that seven of the 50 murders are reclassified homicides that took place in previous years, meaning the number of murders actually committed during the first half of 2017 in Brooklyn stands at 43 (there were three reclassified homicides in all of 2016).

In addition, the Total Index Crime in Brooklyn (representing the seven major felony crimes) is down 4.5% for the year so far with declines in all categories except for rape (two additional reported incidents or a .9% uptick compared to this time last year).

In the past few years, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office has increased its focus on the drivers of crime – individuals responsible for most of the shootings – and has partnered with the NYPD on a number of initiatives to reduce violent crime. Those include the work of the Crime Strategies Unit that keeps track of known gang members and other drivers of violence; long-term investigations by the Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, together with the NYPD, to target all criminal activities by gangs and to stop weapons traffickers; creation of the Firearms Prosecution Unit, which operates in the only Expedited Firearms Court in the city with the goal of prosecuting gun possession cases faster and more efficiently in Brooklyn; and other initiatives.

So far in 2017, The Brooklyn DA’s Office established the Public Housing Crime Suppression Unit to help drive down crime in housing developments by using data-driven intelligence and working with resident associations, community members, NYCHA and the NYPD. A Cold Case Unit was also created to investigate unsolved homicides and a DNA expert was hired to assist in this effort and to help in forensic analyses in other cases, including those involving guns and shootings.

Together with the focus on violent crime, the DA’s Office has been implementing numerous criminal justice reforms, including a change in its bail policy under which no bail is requested for nearly all misdemeanors and a new policy to protect non-citizen defendants by considering collateral immigration consequences of convictions with the assistance of two newly-hired immigration attorneys. The Office also previously announced that it will soon launch a program to allow certain drug-dependent defendants to be sent to treatment in lieu of prosecution, an innovative approach that will keep these offenders from ever setting foot in a courtroom and provide them with necessary help.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I am very proud that crime has continued to plummet so rapidly in Brooklyn, a trend that shows that the targeted approach employed by the NYPD and my Office in fighting violent crime is working. It is also proof that we can implement criminal justice reforms while still enhancing public safety. We have launched innovative new programs to reduce reliance on bail, to protect immigrants and to divert low-level offenders from incarceration as we continue to drive down violence and improve the quality of life in all parts of Brooklyn.”

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Bedford-Stuyvesant Man Sentenced to 31 Years in Prison for Robbing Four Women at Gunpoint in Windsor Terrace and Kensington

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

July 5, 2017

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Bedford-Stuyvesant Man Sentenced to 31 Years in Prison for Robbing
Four Women at Gunpoint in Windsor Terrace and Kensington

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced today that a 31-year-old Bedford-Stuyvesant man has been sentenced to 31 years in prison for a spree of armed robberies over a nine-day period in Windsor Terrace and Kensington in 2015, during which he robbed four women at gunpoint, including one whom he pistol-whipped in the head.

In four separate incidents between August 20 and August 29, 2015, the defendant, Justin Farrow, robbed four women who were walking alone at night in Windsor Terrace and Kensington. The defendant committed all of the robberies in a similar fashion, approaching the victims – in most cases from behind – brandishing a silver handgun, stealing property and telling the victims to walk away and not look back. After each robbery, according to video surveillance, the defendant entered the Fort Hamilton Parkway subway station using a MetroCard he stole from the first victim.

During one of the robberies — of a 28-year-old woman — the defendant hit her repeatedly with the butt of his gun when she didn’t immediately hand over her possessions. The victim suffered injuries to her ear, head and hand.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “For more than a week, this defendant preyed upon vulnerable women walking alone at night, robbing and terrorizing them at gunpoint. Such cowardly acts of violence have no place on the streets of Brooklyn. Today’s sentence ensures that this defendant will be off of our streets and in prison for a very long time.”

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Read the full press release here.

 

Flatbush Man Indicted for Assault as a Hate Crime for Allegedly Beating Woman Unconscious on Subway Train

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

July 3, 2017

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Flatbush Man Indicted for Assault as a Hate Crime for Allegedly Beating Woman Unconscious on Subway Train

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced today that a 27-year-old man has been indicted on charges of assault as a hate crime, and other offenses for allegedly punching a woman in the face and knocking her unconscious while shouting homophobic slurs on a Brooklyn-bound Q train.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on May 20, 2017, at approximately 7:30 p.m., the defendant, Antoine Thomas, 27, of Flatbush, boarded a Brooklyn-bound Q train at Union Square, and sat next to the victim and her girlfriend. The defendant, it is alleged, began shouting anti-gay slurs at the victim and her female companion regarding their sexual orientation. During the train ride the defendant continued shouting at the couple, and at one point aggressively bumped into the victim when the train made a sudden stop. The defendant then allegedly punched the victim in the face as the train arrived at the Dekalb Avenue station in Downtown Brooklyn.

The defendant attempted to leave the train by walking between cars, but was arrested at the station after the conductor called the police.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Brooklyn is a model of inclusion and diversity where bias and bigotry will not be tolerated. This defendant’s alleged actions were an attack on everyone’s right to be who they are, and to love whom they choose. He will now be held accountable for this alleged attack that left a woman unconscious.”

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An indictment is only an accusatory instrument and is not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

Read the full press release here.

 

Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office Seeking Community Partners For Youth Development and Crime Prevention Program

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

June 27, 2017

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office Seeking Community Partners
For Youth Development and Crime Prevention Program

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that his Office is seeking community-based organizations to partner in an upcoming youth development and crime prevention program that will operate in several Brooklyn neighborhoods. The program will focus on sports and fitness activities to provide a safe space for youth ages 11 to 19 to engage in recreational activities and minimize criminal justice involvement.

In seeking the involvement of community-based organizations, Acting DA Gonzalez recognizes that they are uniquely qualified to best address the needs of youth in neighborhoods where young people too often engage in criminal activity for a lack of positive, productive ways to spend their time.

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Gonzalez said, “We are excited to offer this upcoming program to give Brooklyn’s youth a new opportunity to be active and engaged in a safe space in their communities. And to help get the most out of the program, we’re now hoping to draw upon the experience and expertise of community organizations – to help plan the program and ultimately partner with us in making it a success.”

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office has issued a Request for Information (RFI), in advance of an upcoming Request for Proposals (RFP), to invite ideas and discussion from community-based organizations with relevant experience in youth development about options available for implementing the program in several Brooklyn neighborhoods.

The goals of the program include the following: 1) to create safe communities through innovative and impactful programming; 2) to prevent youth violence and youth victimization in high-crime neighborhoods; 3) to reduce violence and criminal justice involvement with youth; 4) to provide high quality skill-development activities; and 5) to improve relations between law enforcement and communities.

The program will join the portfolio of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Educational Programs Unit, which offers a range of programs to increase public safety and help Brooklyn residents further develop collaborative and proactive responses to community concerns. Current programs include the Police Athletic League Chess Program for at-risk youth, held in Bedford-Stuyvesant and East New York; Friday Night Lights, the Good Shepherd Services Drill and Play basketball program, held at the Miccio Community Center in Red Hook; Project Restart, a youth diversion program serving over-age, under-credited students transitioning into high school; and two alternative to incarceration programs for first-time offenders between the ages of 13 and 22 who meet eligibility requirements.

Organizations interested in reviewing and responding to the RFI can download it at http://brooklynda.org/youth-diversion-programs/#rfi or contact Maliek K. Branch at KCDAYouthRFI@brooklynda.org. Subsequent responses to the RFI must be submitted no later than July 28, 2017.

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Teen Indicted for Attempted Murder for Seriously Injuring Police Officer by Intentionally Dragging Him with a Vehicle

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

June 16, 2017

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Teen Indicted for Attempted Murder for Seriously Injuring
Police Officer by Intentionally Dragging Him with a Vehicle

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 15-year-old Brooklyn teenager has been indicted for attempted murder and assault in connection with an incident that left a New York City Police Officer with life threatening injuries. The defendant allegedly sped away in a stolen car after the officer approached, and then weaved the vehicle to cause the officer, who was attempting to hang on, to be thrown off and suffer severe head trauma.

The Acting District Attorney said that on June 3, 2016, officers from the 67th Precinct responded to the corner of Tilden Avenue and East 53rd Street in East Flatbush to investigate a report of shots fired. Officer Dalsh Veve approached a black Honda Civic that was driven by the defendant, Justin Murrell, 15, of Brownsville, and had three other passengers, according to the investigation.

When Officer Veve attempted to stop the vehicle, the defendant fled with the officer holding onto the car. The evidence shows that the defendant drove up to 56 mph while weaving through the streets. The Officer was able to discharge his weapon, striking the defendant in the jaw, and was then flung from the vehicle. He suffered severe neurological injuries and remains in a coma.

The defendant faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The defendant in this case allegedly tried to escape during a lawful stop and, in doing so, seriously injured a dedicated police officer. This appalling and senseless criminal behavior will be prosecuted to the fullest extent because we simply won’t allow anyone to put our police officers in harm’s way. My thoughts and prayers are with Officer Veve and his family.”

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An indictment is only an accusatory instrument and is not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

 

Read the full press release here.

Twelve Alleged Gang Members Variously Charged With Conspiracy and Attempted Murder in Bushwick Turf War

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

June 8, 2017

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Twelve Alleged Gang Members Variously Charged
With Conspiracy and Attempted Murder in Bushwick Turf War

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that 12 alleged members of the Bushwick- based street gang True Bosses Only have been variously charged with conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, weapons possession and other charges in connection with 10 separate shootings that left seven people injured.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the defendants, who now range in age from 17 to 26, are alleged to be members of True Bosses Only (“TBO”). TBO is alleged to be a violent street gang operating within the confines of the 83rd Precinct, bordering the 73rd and 81st Precincts. TBO’s purported territory extends north and south approximately between Broadway and Wyckoff Avenue, and east and west approximately between Cooper Street and Madison Street.

Between July 2015 and the present, the indictment alleges, members of TBO have been feuding with three other violent street gangs: Elm Street Piru, which operates within the 83rd Precinct just west of TBO territory, approximately between Palmetto Street and DeKalb Avenue; Loot Gang, which operates out of the New York City Housing Authority Ocean Hill Houses, to the south of TBO territory within the confines of the 73rd Precinct; and 900 Gang, which operates largely out of the NYCHA Sumner Houses within the confines of the 79th Precinct.

Furthermore, according to the indictment, in addition to the struggle for geographical control, much of TBO’s violent activity was driven by the desire to retaliate for prior shootings targeting TBO members, particularly the September 27, 2013 shooting death of TBO member Bashiek Reddick, a.k.a., Bless.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This indictment describes a terrifying mix of deadly force and mindless obsessions with turf, leading to serious consequences for innocent bystanders. We will never stop fighting against gun violence and this kind of senseless disregard for the safety of our children and neighbors.”

The Acting District Attorney further said, “Many of these territorial disputes, in this and other cases, revolve around New York City Housing Authority developments. To that end, I have recently launched a Public Housing Crime Suppression Unit that will work to reduce crime in housing developments using data-driven intelligence focusing on the drivers of crime. The Unit will work closely with resident associations, community members, NYCHA and the NYPD to proactively suppress crime and violence, maintain safety and develop trust.”

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An indictment is only an accusatory instrument and is not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

 

Read the full press release here.

 

Building Superintendent Charged with Posing as Management Agent, Stealing Over $18,000 from Eight People Seeking Apartments

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

May 24, 2017

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Building Superintendent Charged with Posing as Management Agent,
Stealing Over $18,000 from Eight People Seeking Apartments

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Cypress Hills man has been charged with grand larceny and scheme to defraud for posing as an employee of his building’s management company and stealing over $18,000 from eight people, fraudulently collecting deposits and fees for vacant apartments which he had no authority to rent.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the defendant, Ruben Almeidas, 58, a superintendent for a building located at 233 Jamaica Avenue in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, showed vacant apartments in that building to would-be tenants, from approximately April 1, 2016, to October 30, 2016. The defendant allegedly indicated that he worked for the management company that owned the building and that he could accept deposits for the apartments.

According to the investigation, after showing a vacant apartment, the defendant would collect a deposit and “finder’s fee” from a prospective tenant, even issuing receipts. The would-be tenants, however, found it impossible to move into the building, with the defendant offering a litany of excuses and reasons that the tenant could not yet move. While the tenants were unable to move in to the apartments they had paid for, the defendant is charged with keeping the fees he had already collected.

The defendant allegedly stole a total of $18,500 from eight prospective tenants, in amounts ranging from $1,850 to $3,600.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The defendant’s alleged theft and deception in this case is particularly reprehensible in light of the many challenges renters already face as they look for affordable housing in this city. We will continue to work to ensure that there is no room in Brooklyn for schemes such as this.”

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An indictment is only an accusatory instrument and is not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

 

Read the full press release here.

 

Woman Sentenced to up to 4½ Years in Prison for Hate Crime Theft of $140,000 Cash and Gold Jewelry from Bensonhurst Woman

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

May 17, 2017

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Woman Sentenced to up to 4½ Years in Prison for Hate Crime Theft of
$140,000 Cash and Gold Jewelry from Bensonhurst Woman

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 44-year-old woman was sentenced to 1½ to 4½ years in prison, following her earlier guilty plea to grand larceny as a hate crime. The defendant admitted to stealing about $140,000 in cash and gold jewelry from the victim, a Chinese woman, during an elaborate scam, convincing her she needed to remove a curse that threatened her family.

The Acting District Attorney said that the defendant, Xuekun Su, 44, of China, acting with other unapprehended individuals, approached the victim, a 61-year-old Chinese immigrant, on April 27, 2016, in the vicinity of Bay 22nd Street and 86th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The defendant and the other individuals engaged the victim in conversation and, after gaining her trust, claimed to be clairvoyants. They warned the victim that she or a member of her family would die because of a curse.

They convinced her that she could rid herself of the curse by gathering large sums of cash and jewelry to be blessed. The defendant and the others assured the victim that after the blessing removed the evil spirits surrounding her family, the items would be returned to her. The victim proceeded to gather approximately $140,000 in cash and various pieces of gold jewelry.

The victim then returned to the defendant and the others who, according to the investigation, instructed the victim to place the cash and jewels into a bag for the “blessing.” Manipulating the bag, the defendant and others removed the victim’s valuables and returned a closed one to the victim. They told the victim that the blessing would only work if she did not open the bag for many days. Later that evening, however, after the defendant and the others had gone, the victim opened the bag and found that her property was gone. She then contacted the police.

The defendant admitted that she had selected the victim based on her age and national origin, making her larceny conviction a hate crime under New York State law.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “After targeting vulnerable immigrant women, this defendant stole the victim’s life savings by exploiting the fears and beliefs of the culture they shared. Her deplorable conduct more than merits the prison sentence imposed today. I will aggressively prosecute those who seek to profit from our immigrant communities, and we will continue my Office’s efforts to educate everybody about common illegal schemes like this Chinese blessing scam, as we do in our monthly Immigration Forums.”

 

Read the full press release here.

 

Construction Company Owner Indicted for Manslaughter

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

May 10, 2017

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Construction Company Owner Indicted for Manslaughter

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that the owner of a Bedford-Stuyvesant construction company and his businesses have been indicted on manslaughter and other charges after a wall collapsed at an excavation site, killing one construction worker and injuring two others.

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendants as Michael Weiss, 47, of Throop Avenue in Williamsburg and his companies, RSBY NY Builders Inc. and Park Ave Builders Inc., both in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, on September 3, 2015, employees of Weiss and his companies were working at a construction site at 656 Myrtle Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where they were replacing a one-story building with a five-story building. Weiss ordered several of his employees to excavate in the rear of the lot in an area not permitted by the approved Department of Buildings plans.

Furthermore, it is alleged, despite repeated requests from his workers in the months, and even just hours before the collapse, Weiss refused to provide any material for shoring or underpinning of the excavation and adjacent exposed walls – despite OSHA regulations requiring him to do so – and refused to listen to the safety concerns of his workers, insisting they continue working in an unsafe area. At approximately 11:30 a.m., the wall of the adjacent building collapsed, and masonry blocks and other debris fell on three of the workers, killing one man, Fernando Vanegaz, 18, and severely injuring two others.

Furthermore, according to the indictment, Weiss failed to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage while employing seven construction workers at the site, then applied for coverage hours after the collapse. He also allegedly committed tax fraud by failing to report $75,000 in income on his state tax returns. Based on this unreported income he owed state taxes of $4,310 and unlawfully received a refund of $3,686. He thereby stole $7,996 from the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.

Additionally, a co-conspirator has been charged, who was the owner of a construction company that had a safety registration with the DOB, allowing his company to obtain permits from DOB to perform construction work in New York City. It is alleged that since Weiss did not have the appropriate licenses with DOB to apply for the necessary permits to perform the work, he paid the co-defendant $10,000 to sign the work permit applications and insurance certificates as general contractor.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Fernando Vanegaz should be alive today. Construction site deaths such as his are becoming all too common as builders ignore safety protocols and hire untrained workers to maximize profits. Even worse, we allege, is that in this case the builder went ahead with this illicit excavation even after the Department of Buildings explicitly prohibited it. I vow to continue investigating and prosecuting these unscrupulous builders whose practices endanger their workers and anyone near their sites.”

 

Read the full press release here.