Browsing articles in "Bronx News"
Apr 24, 2017

BRONX NEWS: NYC Parks Dept. has 43 projects stalled for 5 years or more

A bathroom reconstruction that took four requests for bids before a contractor was finally chosen.

A playground revamp grounded in the middle of construction because of a play mound whose design was too steep.

Security lighting around a play area with a history of gun violence tied up because of a sudden lack of funds.

Those are three of the 43 promised Parks Department projects that have been delayed for five or more years and counting, a Daily News review shows. Seven have been stalled since 2009.

Parks Dept. is keeping the promise to finish projects quicker

By contrast, it took a little more than 31/2 years to build both Yankee Stadium and Citi Field — and five years to complete the entire Verrazano Bridge.

With a capital budget of .2 billion, the Parks Department is involved in 505 projects ranging from bathrooms to swings, and 86% of construction gets done on time, according to the Mayor’s Management report.

But critics say those figures are misleading because it fails to take into consideration delays during the design and procurement phase.

“There is a real lack of accountability measures,” said City Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan), chairman of the Parks Committee.

New span at Kosciuszko Bridge to open to drivers

“This is an enormous concern among virtually all of my colleagues,” added Levine, a Democrat who represents Morningside Heights and Hamilton Heights in northern Manhattan. “Some (Council members) are threatening to withhold discretionary funds because these delays are so egregious.”

The critics say the list of delayed projects points to Mayor de Blasio’s failure to keep his campaign promise to overhaul and streamline the Parks Department’s Capital Projects Division.

De Blasio named urban design expert Mitchell Silver — who helped create the “Harlem-on-the-River” park along the shoreline of the Hudson River when he worked in the City Planning Department — as parks commissioner.

Yet the Capital Projects Division — created by master builder Robert Moses in 1934 — has struggled to clear a backlog of projects.

Kosciuszko Bridge to make flashy Thursday debut, featuring Cuomo

Among them is the Olmsted Center in Queens’ Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which currently has a million price tag — putting it million overbudget, according to internal budget documents.

The Olmsted Center is used as office space for many of the Parks Department employees who work for the Capital Projects Division and are supposed to execute all the agency’s overhaul projects.

It’s long been a source of embarrassment for the department, which had to put out three requests for bids on the project before finding a construction firm willing to take on the building renovation.

That contractor, Rockmore Contracting Corp., has only completed 16.7% of the necessary repairs to the crumbling building since beginning work in May 2015, records show.

De Blasio concedes funding issues may stop trolley project

The design portion of the project began in 2010.

Some planned projects remain stalled — often because of sudden design changes, or community stakeholders with divergent demands, or unforeseen environmental complications that require added regulatory approvals, according to the Parks Department.

Parks officials said their monthly “Red Zone” meetings have helped speed things up — but The News’ review shows many projects are languishing.

In the Bronx, parkland covers a lush 24% of the borough.

Port Authority gives B NYC construction projects green light

But in some congested neighborhoods, residents are hard-pressed to find any green play areas.

A proposed playground in Soundview Park was supposed to address that shortage — but the still-incomplete project has been in the works for nearly a decade.

It was first announced in July 2007 — but then-Parks Department officials decided to make a mountain out of a molehill, agency records show.

A so-called “play mound” — a part of the terrain deemed too steep to grade properly — has been blamed for nearly 10 years of delays and costs overruns.

Gov. Cuomo vows to fix LaGuardia Airport traffic issues

Not far away in the Bronx, residents are similarly anxious for their long-awaited bathroom on Ferry Point Park — a project that’s been in limbo since it was proposed in 2006.

While it is still not complete, the city did manage to finish the 0 million golf course — run by Donald Trump — on the park’s eastern end.

Thousands of soccer players and parkgoers flock to the waterfront space alongside the President’s golf course — but they have nowhere to go when nature calls, advocates said.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Dorothea Poggi, president of Friends of Ferry Point Park. “It was 10 years ago they put up a sign and said a bathroom was coming.”

The Parks Department set aside million for the facility 11 years ago, but a contractor dropped out of the project in 2011 after unexpected environmental issues popped up, officials said.

Then Hurricane Sandy blew the bathroom plan off course again.

The current price tag is now at .6 million — and the bathroom will be completed by August, the Parks Department said.

“The Whitestone Bridge was built in a couple months and they can’t build a bathroom,” Poggi lamented.

Sandy was partly responsible for the most delayed Parks Department project in the city — the redesign of Peck Slip, a cobblestone street in lower Manhattan that for years was used as a parking lot.

The project to convert the spot just north of South Street Seaport into green space has gone through countless redesigns and structural roadblocks — many linked to Sandy damage — since it was proposed in 2006, records show.

Parks Department officials defended the Capital Projects Division and Commissioner Silver to The News. They said the average processing time for each project has dropped by six to eight months since Silver took over in 2014.

“During Commissioner Silver’s tenure, NYC Parks has taken on more projects and finished them faster,” said department spokesman Sam Biederman. “At any given time, NYC Parks has roughly 500 capital projects in development, and we’ll continue to work to bring New Yorkers better parks faster.”

The department has also increased the number of capital projects it tackles by 40% each year since 2014, he added.

The improved efficiency is at least partly due to a budget increase of million that allowed Parks to hire more than 100 new staffers for the troubled unit, city records show.

But that hasn’t helped a playground bathroom in central Harlem. The facility at St. Nicholas Playground North — surrounded by one of the city’s largest public housing projects — has been out of commission for 10 years.

Its 6,743 refurbishment was announced in 2009 — and the design phase alone took three years, records show.

Melissa Santiago, 35, said the lack of a bathroom makes her reluctant to bring her 5-year-old to the playground.

“I’m not comfortable coming here a lot,” she said.

After a series of bidding issues, construction on the project began in October. It’s expected to take a year to finish, Parks Department officials said.

Safety is the concern at the Harry Maze Playground in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

The playground underwent a complete transformation that was finished last year, but security lighting at the site remains unfinished, records show.

A shooting at the park in June left five teens wounded.

“No other agency in the city has these delays,” said Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates. “They simply do not know what they are doing, and this administration refuses to address the issues. . . . It’s a runaway train.”

With Chelsia Rose Marcius and Edgar Sandoval

mark levine
bill de blasio
verrazano-narrows bridge

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Apr 24, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Police union warns public of danger of pills, heroin

The city’s largest police union is starting a campaign Monday to educate Staten Islanders about the dangers of prescription pills and heroin.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association will mail 14,000 educational leaflets this week to people living on the South Shore of the island and people in the Bronx.

Prescription pill abuse has been a scourge in both boroughs, with a flood of overdoses, and then a corresponding wave of heroin deaths.

The PBA chose those areas for their “Community Safety Bulletin” because they suffer from the highest per capita rates of opioid-involved deaths in 2015 and 2016, based on city figures.

Feds bust 17 suspects in Staten Island, Bronx drug operations

“The PBA is reaching out to the neighborhoods that are hardest hit, because this crisis affects every New Yorker,” a union official said. “It’s only going to get solved at the ground level and by working together. PBA members will also distribute the leaflets by hand in the affected neighborhoods. Cops have saved more than 111 people using the drug naloxone, which revives people who have overdosed. Overdoses in the city are outpacing homicides and car crashes combined.

Gov. Cuomo said this year’s state budget includes 0 million for communities to fight heroin and opioid addiction.

“Government can’t solve this problem alone — the entire community must come together to increase awareness and promote safety on every corner and in every home,” he said in a statement. I commend the PBA’s efforts in taking the next step to tackle the epidemic, which will serve as a model for engaging the hardest-hit communities across our state.”

patrolmen’s benevolent association
andrew cuomo
labor unions
drug overdoses

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Apr 24, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Pedestrian clinging to life after motorcycle hit-and-run in Bronx

A woman is fighting for her life after a motorcyclist slammed into her, then sped off on a Bronx road Sunday night, cops said.

The red Suzuki sports motorcycle was heading north on Bruckner Blvd. in Hunts Point at about 9:30 p.m. when it hit the unidentified middle-aged victim who was walking across Bruckner Blvd. in the Hunts Point Ave. crosswalk, police said.

Medics rushed her to Lincoln Hospital with severe head trauma.

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Apr 23, 2017

BRONX NEWS: 2 cops, detective and NYPD crossing guard cuffed over weekend

Two cops, a detective and a school crossing guard were arrested over the weekend in separate incidents, police said Sunday.

Cops collared an NYPD police officer who caused a serious accident while driving drunk on the Van Wyck Expressway in Queens Sunday morning, officials said. Neville Smith, 32, struck a 2004 Honda — which was carrying three people — from behind, causing the Honda to crash into a pole and a tree. The driver and one of the passengers went to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in critical condition, police said.

Smith, who was treated at the same site, was charged with vehicular assault, assault, driving while intoxicated and refusal to take a Breathalyzer test.

Cops in the Bronx arrested an off-duty police officer whose friend claimed she punched her in the face, officials said. Candice Smith, 31, a neighborhood coordination officer on the force since 2008, was charged with misdemeanor assault. The friend was not seriously injured, authorities said.

N.J. cop allegedly had sex with 2 teens, gave them booze, pills

A few hours later, also in the Bronx, cops cuffed an off-duty detective for drunken driving, police said. Efrain Medina, 51, was driving near Walton Ave. and E. Fordham Road in Fordham Heights when he got into an accident just before midnight. He took a Breathalyzer test and was arrested on the spot, cops said.

Police in Staten Island arrested an NYPD School Crossing Guard who allegedly punched her nephew, officials said. Katherine Gabel, 55, was charged with misdemeanor assault after her nephew, 47, claimed she punched him in the face and left shoulder, where he’d recently had surgery. He was in pain but not seriously injured, cops said.

police under investigation
new york assaults
car crashes

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Apr 23, 2017

BRONX NEWS: SEE IT: Man holds blade to cabbie’s neck in Bronx robbery

Police released shocking surveillance video Sunday of a thief robbing a livery cab driver at knifepoint in the South Bronx.

The footage shows the suspect terrorizing the 55-year-old victim, holding the knife at his neck while he demanded money, cops said.

The man got into the cab on Prospect Ave. near 163rd St. on Monday around 4:30 a.m., police said. He asked the driver to take him a few blocks away, to 160th St. and Jackson Ave.

Once they were within a block of the destination the attacker put the sharp weapon to the driver’s neck and demanded cash, which the terrified driver handed over, cops said. The thief also grabbed the victim’s cell phone from the center console before getting out of the car.

Queens man gets 80 years for gunpoint livery cab robberies

The driver was not injured, officials said.

Cops are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

new york robberies
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Apr 23, 2017

BRONX NEWS: 3-month-old boy dies in Bronx

A 3-month-old baby boy died after being found unconscious at a Bronx apartment, cops said on Sunday.

Little Mark Ruane was unresponsive after his mother called 911 around 11:30 p.m. Saturday from their home along Ogden Ave. near 166th St. in High Bridge, according to police.

First responders rushed the baby to Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, but he did not survive.

The medical examiner did not immediately determine a cause of death.

Embattled NYC children’s services agency’s caseloads on the rise

The child’s parents were identified as Mark Ruane and Alexondra Ambrocini in court documents lodged against the city’s embattled Administration for Children’s Services.

The father claims that social workers Keisha Foster and Melissa McKenzie falsified a case against the couple in 2015. The investigation ultimately led to the agency taking another child out of his custody for nine months, he wrote in court documents filed in the U.S. Southern District of New York.

ACS responded to Ruane’s complaint in March and said its employees ordered “an emergency removal” of the couple’s newborn child, Emerald, due to alleged drug use.

The baby was taken from Metropolitan Hospital Center shortly after birth on Feb. 27, 2015, documents state.

NYC baby dies after baby-sitter finds him unconscious in stroller

The agency alleges the mother tested positive for cocaine the day before giving birth, based on a tip that Ruane disputes. He tested positive for methadone.

Family court documents show Ruane was undergoing methadone treatment in April 2016 while the child’s mother was seeking mental health help.

Ruane frequently expressed frustrations with the agency on Facebook, at one point sharing a meme comparing Child Protection Services workers to horror villain Freddy Kreuger.

Additionally, Ruane listed himself as a former public liaison for Truth Exposed, a Facebook page that hails itself as a support group for families “facing the unjust system of Child Protective Services and Family Courts.”

Despite his grievances, he wrote an alarming Facebook post a month before little Mark’s death, suggesting he would consider calling child protective services on his wife.

“I hate CPS,” Ruane wrote on March 27. “I don’t wanna call them but she won’t communicate and assure me my kids are safe after I read an email from her mom to her dad saying she almost killed my two month old.”

Days earlier, he penned a note asking for a new court date, claiming complications due to moving and a break-up.

“My co-plaintiff and I are no longer together and I am in the process of moving my things out of the apartment,” he wrote.

Ruane’s Facebook page chronicles apparent sobriety milestones and often states that he misses his children. He said he was looking forward to seeing them and his partner in mid-April.

A building superintendent told the Daily News he recalled seeing Ruane and the child’s mother pushing a stroller on Friday.

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Apr 23, 2017

BRONX NEWS: CARIBBEAT: Visionary Olympian Herb McKenley and Penn Relays

The great Jamaican Olympian Herbert Henry (Herb) McKenley made a major impact in the track and field world — winning individual silver medals in the 1948 and 1952 Olympic Games and remaining the only runner to reach the 100 meter, 200 meter and 400 meter Olympic finals.

But the long and impressive list of McKenley’s career highlights touted on the Jamaica Information Service’s “Famous Jamaicans” Web pages does not mention his pivotal role in bringing Jamaican high school athletes to the Penn Relays track meet — and exposing thousands of athletes to the U.S. and the world.

Years after his hey days in the 1940s, which included running on a half-dozen winning relays for the University of Illinois at Philadelphia’s Penn Relays, McKenely (then as president of Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association) suggested in 1963 that Jamaica’s Kingston College High School enter the Philadelphia competition, according a 2014 interview with Donovan Davis, the Kingston College coach at the time.

The sole scholastic Jamaican team competing, the boys of Kingston College, came in 1964 and won the 4×100 meter relay in meet record time. They also won the race in 1965.

McKenley, who died on 2007, lived to see one visiting Jamaican team grow into scores of schools flocking go the Penn Relays. This year, a cavalcade of boys and girls from 36 teams Jamaica high schools — many who took part in the highly-competitive ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Championships earlier this month — are among the 2017 participating squads at Penn.

And there are also teams from Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands following the path set by Jamaican teams.

The 2017 Penn Relays take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field. For information and tickets on the Penn Relays, visit


A united call for the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security to renew Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti will be made from the steps of City Hall tomorrow at 1 p.m. by Council Member Mathieu Eugene (D-Brooklyn), the Haitian-American Council for Unity and Empowerment, Haitian Solidarity Inc., elected officials, community leaders and local organizations.

First granted after the 2010 earthquake, TPS status for Haiti, after several extensions, is due to expire on July 22. TPS — granted for nationals of countries affected by environmental disasters, ongoing armed conflicts and other circumstances — allows temporary stays in the U.S.

USA Today recently reported that acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services James McCament, in a letter, stated that conditions in Haiti have improved enough to end “temporary protected status” for Haitians.

Last December, the City Council voted in favor of a Eugene-sponsored bill to extend the Haiti TPS. Last month, the council member started a petition to get public support for the extension of TPS. The petition can be signed at


Under the theme “Celebrating Jamaicans at Home and Abroad,” the Caribbean nation of Jamaica will mark its 55th independence anniversary this year with a series of special events, including the Jamaica 55 Biennial Diaspora Conference July 23 to 26.

Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, will announce anniversary activities at a launch event on Friday in Philadelphia, according to Jamaica Consul General Trudy Deans in New York.

On Tuesday evening at the Jamaica Consulate in Manhattan, Kamina Johnson-Smith, Jamaica Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade host a kickoff for the conference, held in the theme, “Partnering for Growth.” For information, call the Jamaica at (212) 935-9000.


Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, penned a 2017 Earth Day message from the regional organization, titled “Environmental and Climate Literacy – The Caribbean is Taking Action.”

As the world pauses to celebrate Earth Day today, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is pleased to declare its support for actions that make a difference.

It is no secret that the very foundation of Caribbean tourism is our unparalleled natural environment; one that is rich in biodiversity, is virtually unpolluted, boasts landscapes that draw visitors from across the globe, and sustains life and livelihood. In the Caribbean we have a sacred duty to protect these assets by insisting on the development and adoption of sustainable tourism practices, while responsibly sharing our natural treasures with travellers to our shores.

As the Caribbean’s tourism development agency whose purpose is: Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean, the CTO is intimately attuned with the need to respect our earth. It is our belief that there will always be conflict between respect for our planet and the desire to profit from invaluable natural assets that we possess. Moreover, we must recognize that destroying our planet in pursuit of economic growth is an existential threat to both present and future generations.

It is for this very reason that the CTO strives to position the Caribbean as a truly sustainable tourism region — a region that leads the global response to climate change by pursuing carbon neutrality, one that actively manages its land, water, and energy resources and decisively employs technologies that drive resource efficiencies across its tourism supply chains. CTO will also continue to provide the relevant authorities with the tools and data necessary to activate tourism policies and regulations that serve the best interest of the region, while advocating for more responsible behaviour from the larger nations around the world.

We are pleased that Earth Day 2017 focuses on Environmental and Climate Literacy, as we have been developing our Caribbean Tourism Climatic Bulletin in partnership with our colleagues at the Caribbean Institute for Metrology and Hydrology (CIMH). Once finalized, this bulletin will be a guiding tool for tourism policymakers and businesses to better understand how climate change will impact their livelihoods, and how they can adapt for success while contributing to a better state of affairs.

When seeking to protect our planet, one of the greatest challenges is to enlist all citizens to join the effort. The Caribbean Tourism Organization, through its trained professionals and in conjunction with global and regional partners, is pleased to provide guidance and information on how the actions of any individual can be an effective part of the solution. Happy Earth Day 2017.


“The Story of Lovers Rock,” a 2011 Menelik Shabazz documentary about the popular and seductive sub genre of reggae music, will be screened Saturday in Manhattan as part of the African Diaspora International Film Festival.

The screening will be held at Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 W. 120th St., at 1 p.m. For information, call (212) 864-1760, send email to and visit


Condolences poured in last week for Olympic medal-winning track and field athlete Germaine Mason, who died Thursday in a motorcycle accident on April 20 in Jamaica, according to the Associated Press.

Mason apparently lost control of his Honda motorcycle before dawn in St. Andrew Parish, the Jamaica Constabulary Force said in a statement. The 34-year-old athlete died later at a local hospital. Mason was born in Jamaica but represented Britain in the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing and won a silver medal in the high jump.

Last week, British Athletics tweeted that “On first night of the #WorldRelays, @BritAthletics teams will wear black ribbons on their vests in memory of British athlete Germaine Mason.” The two-day 2017 IAAF World Relays began yesterday in the Bahamas.

“Germaine was an outstanding athlete and a truly lovely man,” said senior high jump coach Fuzz Caan of British Athletics. “He had a wry sense of humor and was a pleasure to be around. He was a great ambassador of British high jumping.”

The Gleaner newspaper in Jamaica reported on its website that several other athletes, including sprinter Usain Bolt, turned up at the accident scene immediately after crash, which occurred around 4:30 a.m.

“Usain Bolt was part of the group that came by and he was very, very emotional, and still is,” Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen told the BBC.

Bolt’s agent did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Ewan Scott, records director at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, told The Associated Press that the island’s governing body for track and field has “not heard of any of our athletes being part of this incident.”

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Apr 22, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Bronx man charged with attempting to rape teen at Midtown mall

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Apr 21, 2017

BRONX NEWS: City releases 400 herring into Bronx River to restore population

The city Parks Department restocked the Bronx River with 400 live herring shipped from Connecticut on Thursday.

The small fish were shot out of a large hose connected to a truck directly into the river by Boston Road and the Bronx River Parkway. The release is part of ongoing efforts to restore the native migratory fish run into the city’s largest freshwater river.

Despite the differing demographics, the herring are expected to get along with the current wildlife in the river, said a fisheries biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy.

The restock was conducted with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Bronx River Alliance, and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Officials expect it will take three to four years to bring the herring population back to prior levels.

Middle school students spot dolphin swimming in Bronx River

While there, a Parks Department worker tried to help a duck with a bottle cap stuck to its beak, but the duck flew away before the cap could be removed.

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Apr 20, 2017

BRONX NEWS: De Blasio’s ‘City Hall in Your Borough’ tour is headed to Bronx

The mayor’s effort to bring City Hall to the boroughs is headed to the Bronx.

Mayor de Blasio announced the next installment of his “City Hall in Your Borough” tour on Twitter Thursday, with a short video saying he planned to head to Bronx Borough Hall in late May.

The first part of the endeavor brought de Blasio to Staten Island — the city’s most Republican borough. But the Bronx is likely to put him in a different kind of enemy territory — de Blasio, a devoted Boston Red Sox fan, will be in New York Yankees territory.

The mayor hasn’t attended a Yankee game since taking office, though he’s been to other events at the stadium and has seen the Mets play — and been booed by Mets fans on opening day four years running.

De Blasio, staff to launch initiative ‘City Hall in Your Borough’

The Bronx Bombers will be in town the same week the mayor is, making a mayoral visit to the ballpark “a safe bet,” spokesman Eric Phillips wrote on Twitter.

As he did in Staten Island, the mayor and his team will work out of Borough Hall for the week — where he’ll be hosted by Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

While Diaz is a fellow Democrat, his relationship with the mayor is a little less friendly than the one between de Blasio and Staten Island’s Republican Borough President James Oddo.

Diaz, an ally of the mayor’s foe Gov. Cuomo, has taken plenty of shots at de Blasio — and for a while was coy about possibly mounting a primary challenge that never materialized.

“Like all New Yorkers, Bronxites demand exceptional service and prompt responses from their government,” Diaz said in a statement. “Bringing City Hall directly to The Bronx will provide my constituents with an opportunity to get direct answers from various agencies, learn more about the future of the city and interact with the highest levels of municipal government.

“I look forward to a productive and substantive week as we welcome Mayor de Blasio to The Bronx in late May.”

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Apr 20, 2017

BRONX NEWS: 19 members of Bronx’s ‘Slut Gang’ indicted on various charges

A 19-person Bronx crew known as the “Slut Gang” terrorized Co-Op City and the Boston Secor Houses, flooding the area with drugs and violence, prosecutors charged in an indictment Thursday.

The crew with nicknames like “Loopy,” “Crom Gunz” and “Yoda” typically referred to each other as “Slut” or “Slutz,” and used various S-shaped symbols to demonstrate their membership, papers show.

They face a variety of charges including attempted murder, robbery and trafficking of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy.

“One Time For SECOR, Those My Guys #SLUTS” Randall “Twin Po” wrote on social media in May 2014, according to papers.

Bronx drug suspect who nearly cost cop an arm surrenders

“Listen #SS (SecorSlutgang) welcome home the sluts!” he also wrote in March of that year.

Prosecutors said the North Bronx crew “committed an enormous amount of fatal and non-fatal violence” from 2010 to 2017, “including shootings, stabbings, slashings, beatings, and robberies.”

The Slut Gang waged war with rival crews, the 2Fly Ygz based in the Eastchester Gardens houses and the Big Money Bosses, based on White Plains Road, according to the indictment.

Papers specify that on Aug. 25, 2016 Frank “Nitty” Rosa and Tyrone “Loopy” Bailey robbed a drug trafficker at gunpoint.

SEE IT: Teenage boy gets stomped on during Coney Island brawl

Bailey is also charged with extortion for holding up a trafficker of untaxed cigarettes at gunpoint.

Members of the squad were due before a magistrate judge Thursday afternoon. It was unclear why the gang named itself Slut Gang.


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Apr 20, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Career criminal struggled to recall murder because he was stoned

At first, he didn’t remember pumping six bullets into a friend in a pot-fueled frenzy.

Then he did.

Jamel Burney — a man with 86 prior arrests — initially claimed a foggy memory about fatally shooting Michael Vermong on March 29 on Bainbridge Ave. near E. 205th St. in the Bronx.

“I don’t remember much. I blacked out,” Burney, 32, told Detective Raymond Rivera just hours after the eruption of gunfire, according to an interview transcript released Wednesday in Bronx Supreme Court. “Obviously I shot someone, but I don’t remember.”

Bronx murder marks whopping 87th arrest for career criminal

Then he added: “OK, I do remember.”

Burney went on to say he knew Vermong as “Yo,” and had been friends with him for about two years. Burney said during the struggle, a wounded Vermong taunted him when he ran out of bullets.

“I went there to confront him. He has been disrespecting me. They way he talks to me. I had the gun on me,” Burney said.

Burney was armed with a Smith & Wesson .38-caliber special that he claimed he found in Queens.

Merciless Bronx killer pistol-whipped victim after ammo ran out

“It had six bullets in it,” he told Rivera. “I went inside the lobby. I took the gun out and pointed it at him, told him, why are you going to disrespect me.

“He said, ‘What do you mean.’ I fired one shot. Then we started scuffling. I think I missed him twice.”

Burney described hitting Vermong twice with bullets as the hapless victim grabbed the gun, according to prosecutors.

Burney said he fired twice more before the gun ran out of bullets.

Bronx gang member dies after shot in buttocks

“He said, ‘You are out of bullets d—head, ha ha ha,’” Burney recalled, according to prosecutors. “I pulled the trigger but nothing came out. I hit him with the gun in the head, twice. Then I ran.”

Burney fled to a subway station and ran out and ditched the gun under a car as cops closed in.

“I dropped the gun under the car and started running,” he said. “I did not point the gun at them. They tackled me a block away.”

Court records show that Burney later told Detective Michael Smith: “Are you a detective? I shot a man a couple of times. Detective said they needed me. Where are they?”

Judge chides murderer for asking to delay sentence for wedding

Burney was indicted on four counts — murder in the second degree, manslaughter in the first degree, and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.

Burney remains held without bail in a city jail.

Burney, who wore a drab grey jumpsuit to the arraignment, appeared solemn and didn’t say a word throughout the proceeding.

The Daily News previously reported that Burney had been arrested 86 times, dating back to 2004 when he was 19.

Three who killed tantric sex therapist, backpacker are sentenced

On Wednesday, Burney pleaded not guilty to murder charges in Bronx Supreme Court. Prior to Burney’s plea, his lawyer Joel Peister pleaded with Judge George Villegas to not allow cameras in the courtroom. Villegas denied the request.

“It’s just the beginning of the case,” Peister told the News as he walked out of the courtroom. “It’s not as straightforward as it looks.”

new york murders
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