Cops win praise for taking guns off Bensonhurst streets

June 25, 2018 Paula Katinas
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Police officers who confronted suspects armed with guns on the streets of Bensonhurst were cited for their bravery by the 62nd Precinct Community Council at the group’s meeting on June 19.

“I’m very proud of my cops,” Capt. Nelson Chen, the precinct’s executive officer, told council members and residents attending the meeting at the precinct station house at 1925 Bath Ave. Tuesday night.

Chen and council President Lou Trimboli presented six police officers and a sergeant with Cop of the Month certificates.

A group of five cops — Sgt. Jeffrey Berson, P.O. Jeffrey Stewart, P.O. Anthony Brucato, P.O. Nobin Samu and P.O. Jean Innocent — were honored for chasing and capturing a suspect armed with a .40 caliber Beretta pistol on East Fourth Street near Avenue V on May 17.

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The police stopped the suspect’s car at around 8:55 p.m. after spotting suspicious activity, according to Chen, who said the man jumped out of the auto and fled the scene. The officers chased him and caught up to him a short distance away.

“The guy had a firearm in his waistband,” Chen said.

The suspect was taken into custody and charged with gun possession.

In an unrelated incident, P.O. Meghan Ruiz and P.O. Steve Konikoff nabbed another armed suspect and were cited by the council at the meeting.

They were on patrol on 63rd Street near 15th Avenue at around 5:10 p.m. on May 11 when they saw a man standing next to his car acting in a suspicious manner. The man, who was carrying a .45 pistol, tried to hide the gun from Ruiz and Konikoff by putting it under the hood of the car, Chen said.

He didn’t fool the two cops, who quickly placed him under arrest. The gun turned out to have been stolen, according to Chen. The suspect was charged with possession of a stolen weapon.

The two incidents are unusual, according to Chen, who said the vast majority of incidents in Bensonhurst and Bath Beach, the neighborhoods the precinct covers, deal with quality-of-life crimes.

The meeting also featured a community speak-out in which residents bring their complaints directly to the precinct’s top cops.

One man told Chen that truck drivers routinely flout the law and park trucks on residential streets overnight. The problem is particularly acute on Benson Avenue between 14th and 15th avenues and on Bay 8th Street near Benson Avenue, according to residents at the meeting.

“They’re not our neighbors,” the resident said.

Chen said he was aware of the problem and that the precinct is taking steps to solve it. “We have ticketed them. The next step, we’re going to tow them,” he said.

Under New York City law, a driver is prohibited from parking a truck or any commercial vehicle on a residential street between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.

If the driver is issued a parking ticket, the burden of proof is on the driver to prove that he or she was engaged in business at the time the ticket was issued and that the place where the motorist was conducting that business is located within a three-block radius, according to the city’s Department of Transportation.

Public utilities, as well as gas, oil and heating system companies, are exempt from the “No Parking” rule.

The June meeting was the last precinct council meeting of the season. The group does not meet in July or August. “Our next meeting is in September. But that doesn’t mean the work stops,” Trimboli said, adding that the council is busy preparing for the annual Night Out Against Crime event in August.

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