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May 25, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Bronx teacher allegedly pulls off child’s hijab as punishment


A Bronx substitute teacher pulled the hijab off a second-grader because he thought she was misbehaving, officials alleged Wednesday.


The revelation came as a judge ordered Oghenetega Edah released without bail following a brief arraignment in Bronx Criminal Court.


Edah, 31, was hit with hate crime charges for the May 2 incident in which he ordered 8-year-old Safa Alzockary to remove her hijab after she was misbehaving in class at Public School 76 in Allerton.


When Safa refused, Edah ripped the Muslim religious covering from her head, pulling it across her face and causing irritation to her right eye, police said.

Teacher accused of ripping hijab off girl gets hate crime charges


The girl went to Jacobi Medical Center, where a doctor said she suffered no permanent damage to her eye.


“If you don’t behave, I’m going to take your scarf off,” Edah told the child, according to court papers.


Safa told Edah that she’s not allowed to take off her hijab because it is against her religion to do so and others can’t see her hair, but the substitute teacher didn’t seem to care, according to prosecutors.


“I want to see your hair,” he allegedly said.

Hijab victim wants better anti-bias training at NYC schools


The Department of Education fired Edah as soon as Safa’s allegations were made.


Prosecutors charged Edah with aggravated harassment and endangering the welfare of a child, both misdemeanors. He is expected back in court on July 10.


Judge Myrna Socorro signed off on an order of protection for Edah, barring him from being anywhere near his former student.


Sporting a black jacket with a hood covering his face, Edah said nothing to reporters as he exited the courtroom.

Queens teen spits on Muslim classmate, tries to tear off hijab


His lawyer Virginia Lopreto asked that cameras not be brought into the courtroom for the proceeding.


“This case is highly charged and places my client in great danger,” Lopreto said.

Tags:
allerton
religion
teachers busted
new york public schools
hate crimes
crimes against children

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May 25, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: NYPD school safety agent accused of groping 18-year-old student


Cops cuffed an on-duty NYPD school safety agent accused of grabbing the buttocks of an 18-year-old female Bronx high school student, police said Thursday.


David Villanueva, 33, was arrested around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and charged with forcible touching and harassment, police said.


The girl Villanueva allegedly grabbed is a student at the New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities II at Southern Blvd. near 145 St. in Mott Haven, sources said.

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nypd
mott haven
sex crimes

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May 25, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: City closes Bronx spot where heroin users shot up in open air


The city has shut down a South Bronx shooting gallery — a nightmarish site known as “The Hole” where addicts had openly pumped heroin into their veins for years.


The Daily News profiled the area in its series “Opioid Nation” — an in-depth examination of the city’s opioid crisis and the NYPD’s new approach to handling it.


Mayor de Blasio ordered the closing of the St. Anns Ave. site before city workers bulldozed the mounds of trash and blood-stained needles blanketing the abandoned railroad bed. The News interviewed users just weeks ago and watched as addicts injected their pals with heroin.



Local residents familiar with the popular drug spot, which users nicknamed “The Hole,” were thrilled to see the sudden change.


“I hope they keep it clean, because my kids go to school on the next block and we have to walk through here every morning, and there are needles everywhere,” said Sophia Lindao, 33, a mother of three.


Hizzoner said the city would install “additional physical measures” to make sure the vacant property behind a chain-link fence remains off-limits to its former inhabitants.



“I don’t think it’s safe to have a place where people can congregate to do something that’s dangerous,” de Blasio said. “I believe that’s the right strategy, to constantly limit the places where people can engage in illegal and dangerous activity.”


The city workers also patched up holes in the fence surrounding the site. An NYPD patrol car sat parked outside the suddenly empty area all day Wednesday, with not a single user in sight.


A group of schoolkids walking home Wednesday afternoon noticed the police presence and asked why the cops were there.



“Because of all the crackheads?” one asked.


“Are they cleaning up all the needles?” asked another.


“The Hole” was located in the Mott Haven-Hunts Point area, the city’s deadliest neighborhood for heroin overdoses. Its 2015 tally of 18.8 per 100,000 people was higher than the fatal overdose rate of every U.S. state except West Virginia.



The city previously emptied the location near E. 149th St. in September 2015 as part of a crackdown on homeless encampments — only to find it buzzing with activity within days.


The News published a 3,800-word story on Sunday, chronicling the despair and degradation of heroin addicts who used the site to hang out and shoot up. Left behind by the users was a carpet of used syringes and shiny orange caps from single-use needles.



“The whole point of our plan to reduce the number of opioid deaths is that we want to connect people with treatment,” said the mayor. “But if we’re leaving people in a dangerous situation on an ongoing basis that’s not acceptable.”



The News found addicts who began visiting the site years ago. But a police officer posted at “The Hole” said addicts will need to find a different — and hopefully safer — place to spend their time.


“We’re going to do what we can to get them out of here and get them help,” said the cop. “And clean up the area, because that’s really all we can do.”


Ric Curtis, an expert on the city’s heroin trade and chairman of John Jay College’s Department of Law, says the cleanup will do little to solve the problem.



“It’s disappointing to hear the same old strategies that have been ineffective there for more than 40 years are getting a reprise,” he said. “Be assured that it will only be a matter of time before they are gone and the same old scene will reemerge.”


Police investigated 1,370 opioid-involved deaths last year, far more than double the combined number of homicides (311) and car wreck fatalities (220).

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May 25, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Teacher accused of ripping hijab off girl gets hate crime charges


A substitute teacher accused of yanking the hijab off the head of a Bronx second-grader has been hit with hate crime charges, police said.


Oghenetega Edah, 31, who was fired by the city Education Department after the May 2 incident, surrendered to cops Wednesday, police said.


Edah allegedly ordered 8-year-old Safa Alzockary to remove her hijab after she was misbehaving in class at Public School 76 in Allerton.


When Safa refused, Edah ripped the religious covering from her head, pulling it across her face and causing irritation to her right eye, police said.


The girl went to Jacobi Medical Center, where a doctor said she suffered no permanent damage to her eye.


Edah, who started working in city schools in January, had a clean disciplinary record prior to the incident, officials said. The Education Department sacked him after learning of the girl’s accusations.


“This alleged behavior is unacceptable, and he was immediately removed from the school and terminated effective May 3,” said Education Department spokeswoman Toya Holness.


Edah is charged with aggravated harassment as a hate crime and endangering the welfare of a child, cops said.


He was awaiting arraignment in Bronx criminal court late Wednesday.

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May 24, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Cat stuck in tree attracts crowds of tourists on Arthur Ave.

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May 24, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Armed crooks steal thousands in jewelry from two men in Bronx


Cops are looking for two thieves who robbed two men at gunpoint and made off with thousands of dollars in jewelry in Bronx robberies a few blocks apart on back-to-back days in May, police said Wednesday.


The crooks first stuck-up a 19-year-old man on Nelson Ave. near 168th St. in Highbridge around 2:30 p.m. May 15, cops said. The men ambushed the victim and threw him against a parked car. One of the crooks wielding a revolver demanded the victim, “Give me everything you got.”


The thieves ran the man’s pockets and snatched his chain, making off with in cash, an Apple iPhone 7 and a necklace worth about 0 before running north on Nelson Ave., cops said.


The pair struck again the next day, holding up a 29-year-old man and taking aim at two bystanders on Walton Ave. near 165 St. in Highbridge around 8:45 p.m., cops said.


Surveillance video released by police shows one of the thieves pounce on the seated man and yank him violently up by his neck as the second follows closely behind with a revolver trained on the two onlookers.


The crooks swiped a chain and a bracelet off the man which the victim valued at ,000 a piece, cops said. They fled north on Walton Ave.


The first suspect is described as black, 25 to 30, 6-foot to 6-foot-4 and 170 to 200 pounds, with a thin build and clean shaven face. He was wearing a black sweater, black baseball cap and black pants and appeared to have a brown revolver in his waistband.


The second suspect is described as black, 25 to 30, about 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-10 and 140 to 160 pounds with a thin build, dreadlocks and a clean shaven face. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants and held a black hand gun.


Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

Tags:
highbridge
new york robberies
gun violence

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May 24, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Paul Massey wants appropriate penalties on quality of life crimes


Paul Massey says there should be a crackdown on quality of life crimes — but he won’t say what should happen to those accused of them.


“I’m not going to get into all the fines and penalty systems that we’d put in place, but just know that they’d be appropriate to the level of crime, appropriate for the background of that person if they’re a first-timer, but consequences — some level of consequences,” the Republican mayoral candidate said during a press conference in the Bronx when pressed on what should happen to people who urinate or drink in public.


Mayor de Blasio signed a package of laws called the Criminal Justice Reform Act in June 2016 that created new civil penalties for several minor offenses, including drinking and urinating in public, and urged cops to use those civil penalties — though it still allows them to make arrests and treat many of the violations criminally.


But Massey argued it was the wild west, saying de Blasio’s administration was “advocating for no consequences, and small crimes lead to big crimes.” Under the 2016 act — parts of which have not taken effect yet — people committing certain crimes can be given civil summonses and fines.

Mayor de Blasio tops Paul Massey in latest fund-raising period


“Yeah, a ticket, and then what happens with the tickets?” Massey asked. “You know, it’s just, we need to make people think twice about respecting each other.”


Pressed on whether, if he believed a ticket isn’t enough, an arrest would be warranted, Massey would not answer.


Massey’s criminal justice plan, released earlier this week, calls for both the increased prosecution of nonviolent quality of life crimes like public urination or drinking and for easier sentences, like community service, for nonviolent first offenders.


“I think with criminal justice reform especially with young folks we need some judgement about that, we need to look at if someone is a first time offender, let’s look at appropriate consequences,” Massey said, when asked how he squares those two policy proposals. “I’m saying that there should be consequences for quality of life crimes that are appropriate and let’s look at criminal justice reform so we’re being sensible and not unfairly punishing people at a scale that’s not fair.”

Massey, Faulkner trade endorsements for city mayor, controller


After the event, his spokeswoman said Massey would go back to pre-2016 sentencing guidelines, and would repeal parts of the Criminal Justice Reform Act, particularly the direction that the NYPD should use criminal penalties for certain violations “only in limited circumstances” and the removal of criminal charges for certain offenses, like breaking Parks Department rules about being in a park after dusk, treating them as violations rather than misdemeanors.


“New Yorkers know exactly where the mayor stands on policing — and we know the results: driving crime to record low levels, while dramatically reducing stop-and-frisk by 93% and bringing police and the communities they serve closer together,” de Blasio campaign spokesman Dan Levitan said.

Tags:
paul massey
nyc mayoral election 2017
bill de blasio

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May 23, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: De Blasio touts cannoli, low business fines in Bronx borough tour


Mayor de Blasio came to the Bronx’s Arthur Ave. to tout a drop in small business fines — but got more animated about the proper way to fill a cannoli.


De Blasio, who often expounds on his Italian heritage, waxed poetic about the desert on a visit to Madonia Brothers Bakery.


“This is a very important lesson,” he said, standing next to a sign proclaiming “Cannoli Filled While You Wait!”


“There are two kinds of cannoli in the world. This is the right kind. Anyone who fills their cannoli in advance, you got a problem with me,” he said.

De Blasio to attend fair, town hall during Bronx borough tour


Hizzoner said the cannoli has been “a very serious issue in my life” dating back at least as far as his 1994 wedding to wife Chirlane McCray, where the couple served 250 full-sized cannoli from Bruno Bakery — plus a giant version of the treat.


“No wedding cake. Just cannoli,” he said.


The mayor got a lesson of his own at Arthur Ave. mainstay Mike’s Deli, where owner David Greco gave him a step by step demonstration on making fresh mozzarella — including one secret ingredient.


“Bronx tap water — no filters. This is New York City. We have the best water,” he said.

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


De Blasio had less luck at the nearby Bronx Beer Hall, where he tried his hand at pouring a beer from the tap, but produced a glass of mostly foam.


The visit was part of a week the mayor is spending in the Bronx, the second borough on his “City Hall in Your Borough” tour of the city. De Blasio said fines against small businesses have dropped 40%, and the time is takes to open a restaurant has fallen three months.


Earlier in the day, de Blasio got an earful from Bronx residents as he held constituent office hours at the Bronx Supreme Courthouse.


Cynthia Robinson, 55, pled for help with scaffolding that has been up for two years at the Andrew Jackson Houses, blowing debris into her window.

De Blasio not the first to bring City Hall to other boroughs


“I can’t open up my window no more,” she told the mayor.


Margaret White, 63, griped about tickets from the Sanitation Department and said cops in her neighborhood have “no respect for the community.”


De Blasio touted efforts to retrain the police force and institute neighborhood policing. “The whole emphasis there is getting to know communities, not being in the car, but on the ground, literally getting to know people,” he said.

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May 23, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: 2 teens busted for knocking man unconscious, robbing him in Bronx


Two teenage robbers knocked out a man on a Bronx street early Saturday, cops said.


Police found the victim, Elder Argetta, 40, unconscious on Grand Concourse by E. 184th St. in Fordham Heights just before 3 a.m., cop sources said.


Medics rushed him with life-threatening injuries to St. Barnabas Hospital where doctors were able to stabilize him, sources said.


One of the suspects punched Argetta, knocking him to the ground. As he lay unconscious, they went through his pockets and ran off.


Cops arrested Joshua Lopez and Armany Garcia, both 16, later that day, charging them with robbery and assault.


Both remain held on 0,000 bond or ,000 cash bail.

Tags:
fordham heights
new york robberies
new york assaults

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May 22, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Bronx livery driver shot after chasing thief who robbed passenger


A Bronx livery driver was shot and wounded early Monday while trying to catch a thief who stole his passenger’s gold chain, police sources said.


The 52-year-old victim was struck in the stomach and buttocks but managed to drive himself to Jacobi Medical Center, where he is in stable condition.


The two suspects, men in their 20s wearing hoodies, are being sought.


The shooting happened at about 3:55 a.m. after the livery driver picked up a man and woman outside Garage Bar and Lounge on Tillotson Ave. in Eastchester.

Cops hunt 2 suspects in Brooklyn livery cab robbery


As the man was getting in the car, another man approached and stole his gold chain, sources said.


The driver followed the suspect in his car as the thief ran off. When the suspect met up with another man, that man fired into the car, hitting the driver.


Members of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers met with the victim at the hospital.


“We’re very happy that he’s still alive,” said Fernando Mateo, president of the union. He added that drivers are not advised to pursue anyone who has robbed them at gunpoint.


In December 2015, one man was shot in the face and another man was grazed in the leg during a fight at the same bar.


And in February 2014, another man was shot in the leg in a confrontation there.

With Dan Rivoli

Tags:
new york robberies
gun violence
eastchester
livery cars

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May 22, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Two crooks steal Army veteran’s service dog in the Bronx


A pair of crooks ambushed an Army veteran was outside his Bronx home and stole his service dog, police said Sunday.


Authorities released video of the heartless theft. The footage shows a man one attack Robert Lebron, 40, from behind, then storm after him as he scrambles from his stoop at Valentine Ave. and E. 194th St. in Fordham Manor on May 14.



Lebron’s pooch, Mala, is sitting atop the steps and backs up as a second man in a hoodie grabs her leash. He leads the dog off, and the video ends.


Police identified one of the dognappers as Brian Cohen, who sources said is the ex-boyfriend of Lebron’s wife.


“They got away with her today but (I’m) sure she’ll be back real soon. I lost the battle today so I’ll take the L but he will lose this war,” Lebron wrote in an Instagram post about the theft.


Lebron told PIX11 he was an Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan. He described his 8-month-old service pup as “one of the most amazing things that has happened to me in a long time.”



“What she gives me I can’t get from someone else: not a therapist or a family member or my friend,” he told the station. “It’s unconditional love.”



Police described Cohen as white, 5-foot-5 and about 180 pounds. The second suspect is black, also 5-foot-5 and 180 pounds. He wore a gray hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and dark shoes.


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

Tags:
fordham heights
animals
veterans affairs

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May 21, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Man, 24, dies after cops find him riddled with bullets in Bronx

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