Crown Heights Locals: Warnings of zero tolerance for violence on J’Ouvert cut too deep
Residents Insist Recent Killings During Caribbean Pride Celebration Are Solely Gang Related
Law enforcement officials are strongly urging participants in this year’s J’Ouvert celebration not to “shoot anyone” or “stab anyone,” but their stern warning has already wounded some Crown Heights/Prospect-Lefferts Gardens residents.
Each year, the J’Ouvert parade begins during pre-dawn hours, leading up to the West Indian-American Day Carnival and Parade, which is celebrated on Labor Day. Fliers posted last week in the Crown Heights/Prospect-Lefferts Gardens neighborhoods proclaimed that J’Ouvert “is a celebration of Caribbean pride, culture and heritage,” adding that “Elected officials, law enforcement and community members are dedicated to ensuring everyone can celebrate safely.” But then the wording of the flier takes a darker turn, noting that “Last year, 2 people were killed during J’Ouvert and 4 people have been indicted for those murders. Each of them may spend up to 20 years in prison.”
That was a reference to the violence during the 2015 J’Ouvert event in which a 24-year-old man was fatally stabbed in the vicinity of Grand Army Plaza, and Carey Gabay, 43, who was an attorney working in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, was shot and killed on Bedford Avenue near the Ebbets Field Houses.
A trio of suspects, reputed members of a local gang, have been indicted in the killing of Gabay.
In larger, bold type and even stronger wording, the flier’s authors warn: “This community will no longer tolerate this violence. Do not shoot anyone. Do not stab anyone. Every act of violence will be fully investigated and prosecuted.”
The flier bears the logos of the NYPD, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office and parade organizers J’Ouvert City International, Inc., among others, but when reached Monday by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, spokesmen for the NYPD and the DA’s Office both denied that those agencies had produced it.
Nevertheless, the Police Department reportedly plans to deploy twice the usual numbers of officers to cover this year’s J’Ouvert event, which is scheduled to kick off at 4 a.m. Monday, Sept. 5.
According to a DNAinfo report, the posted warning has ruffled feathers with some local residents, who did not mince words in sending comments to a neighborhood-based Facebook account.
In one such post, a longtime J’Ouvert celebrant called the flier “disgusting, racist, condescending and rude,” while another blasted lawmakers for “lumping hundreds of thousands of peaceful J’Ouvert celebrants with gang bangers from [the] Ebbets Field [Houses].”
The DNAinfo report added that yet another resident insisted that the murder of Gabay “was gang related and unrelated to J’Ouvert. The language and choice of words is insulting.”
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