Monday, September 27, 2010

Police Crime Reporting Scandal: Now the 66th Precinct? 

Did Brooklyn police ignore a citizen's complaint about a flasher who ended up shooting four members of an Orthodox Jewish volunteer patrol?

That's the charge reported in the Borough Park newspaper Hamodia, which means "Notifier" in Hebrew and calls itself "The Daily Newspaper of Torah Jewry."

The paper also says that 66th precinct commander, Deputy Inspector John Sprague, is taking personal command of a police investigation to determine whether or why no report was filed.

Members of the Shomrim volunteer patrol, which is licensed and unarmed and has been patrolling Hasidic neighborhoods for at least two decades, were tailing the suspect, 33-year-old David Flores, on Sept. 2, after receiving a report of a man exposing himself to children, police said at the time.

At about 8 P.M., the Shomrim guys saw Flores get out of his car, chased him and tried to disarm arm him. Flores, who has nine prior arrests, then began firing, hitting four Shomrim members at 49th Street and 10th Avenue in Borough Park. Two were hit in their hands, one in his neck, a fourth in his abdomen, police said.

None of the injuries was life-threatening and the four were treated at Lutheran Medical Center, where a large police contingent -- including Police Commissioner Ray Kelly -- appeared.

But guess what? According to Hamodia, a week before the shooting, a Borough Park woman told a 66th precinct police officer that she and others witnessed a man matching Flores's description, exposing himself outside her house on both Aug. 25 and 26.

The woman, Faigie Friedman, said she had alerted the Shomrim Patrol and later spoke to a police officer who responded to her home, giving that cop a description of the suspect, his car and its license plate number.

Now guess what? The police officer apparently never filed a report of Friedman's complaint.

The NYPD appeared to confirm that no report was filed.

An email from its Public Information Office reads: "Officers from the 66th precinct responded to a 911 call to that location on Aug 26. Police are investigating whether a report was made."

Flores, meanwhile, has been charged with assault, criminal possession and use of a firearm, reckless endangerment and menacing -- but not with the sexual offenses that Friedman allegedly witnessed and reported to police.

Now if the above is true, it provides yet another example of police refusing to take crime complaints -- another sign that this abuse is not confined to the 81st precinct, as described by whistle-blower cop Adrian Schoolcraft.

What Inspector Sprague's involvement means, though, is unclear. Does it portend an honest investigation or another police cover up?

Remember, these allegations of police refusing to take crime complaints have been around long before Schoolcraft turned up with his tape-recordings of 81st precinct roll calls, where police supervisors ordered cops to downgrade felonies to misdemeanors and to refuse to take civilians' crime complaints.

In every case, Police Commissioner Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have stonewalled attempts to discover what is going on inside the NYPD that has led to this mess.

Now here's a case that goes beyond what the mainstream media seems to be treating as mere administrative corruption.

Here, in the 66th precinct, the department's alleged failure to take a civilian's crime complaint and file a report has had real, and tragic, consequences.

Or as source in Borough Park described how police treat civilians' reporting crime: "When people do everything right and report a crime, the police challenge them immediately. There is a court case on the street and it is repeated hundreds of times."

And in a community where police relationships are prized, many note the silence of the Shomrim leadership about the apparent police failure to have taken the initial crime report, which might have prevented the shooting of its own members.

As a reader, calling himself, "Authentic Satmar," commented to Hamodia: "And that is why crime is down in boro [sic] park. The police refuse to report it. As for the Shomrim coordinator, it sounds like he is protecting the police department. The community needs to make a big deal of this not let it get quiet."


This nothing new to anybody who has tried to report ANYTHING, I've had it twice, once with a car break in and once when I was assaulted. The 66 officer told me there is no witness so there is NOTHING to report!! even with my bleeding injury.
After some research I found out this is citywide, so Bloomberg can claim crime is down.


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