Good Morning, Brooklyn: Tuesday, May 24, 2022
OFF-DUTY COP CHARGED ON SEVERAL COUNTS: An off-duty police officer has been charged with attempted murder, assault and other related charges for allegedly punching, pistol-whipping and shooting a man last month outside of a lounge in Canarsie. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez identified the defendant as Larry Valdemar, 37, a 16-year veteran of the NYPD last assigned to the 104th Precinct in Queens, who allegedly got into a verbal argument inside Chloe’s Restaurant and Lounge at Avenue L and East 94th Street, when the victim, a 32-year-old man, attempted to intervene.
Valdemar who was arraigned on Monday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Eugene Guarino, was ordered held on bail of $35,000 cash or $75,000 bond and to return to court on July 13, 2022. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count.
EMT TRAINEES GRADUATE TODAY: Acting Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh will preside over a graduation ceremony for 147 Emergency Medical Technicians this morning at the Christian Cultural Center, 12020 Flatlands Ave. Their 13-week training encompassed CPR; patient medical and trauma assessments; oxygen and ventilation skills; management of hypotension and fractures; spinal immobilization and emergency childbirth; and emergency vehicle operation.
The ceremony will be livestreamed on the Department’s website, www.nyc.gov/FDNY.
PUBLIC HEARING ON REDISTRICTING: The New York City Districting Commission will host its first Public Hearing this Thursday, May 26 from 3-6 p.m. at 1 Pace Plaza (Pace University) in Manhattan. The public is invited to provide testimony to the Commission as it begins to redraw the 51 New York City Council districts.
Individuals wishing to speak at the hearing may attend in-person, or pre-register to speak remotely by visiting www.nyc.gov/districting. Written testimony is being accepted throughout the redistricting process by emailing [email protected].
PREDATORY DEBT COLLECTORS PUT OUT OF BUSINESS: New York Attorney General Letitia James and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau yesterday shut down a predatory debt collection operation that used deceptive and abusive tactics to illegally collect millions of dollars from hundreds of thousands of consumers. The debt collection operation — comprised of several companies including JPL Recovery Solutions — falsely threatened consumers with harsh consequences if they did not pay, inflated the true amounts of debts owed, and contacted consumers’ friends, family members, and employers to harass consumers.
The action, which resolves an earlier lawsuit that Attorney General James and the CFPB lawsuit filed against the debt collection operation, requires its owners and managers to pay $4 million and permanently bans them from operating in the industry.
SCOTUS WON’T HEAR REVIEW OF CHALLENGE FROM ANTI-VAXXERS: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday has denied review of a challenge to New York’s 2019 repeal of a religious exemption from mandated school vaccinations. The parents’ counsel, Stephen Bergstein of Bergstein & Ullrich in New Paltz, New York, had argued that repealing the religious exemption, in place since 1966, violated the First Amendment’s free exercise clause because it allowed secular exemptions and so was not neutral, was motivated by religious bias, and was both over-inclusive and under-inclusive.
But in opposing high court review, state Solicitor General Barbara Underwood told the justices that New York in 2018 was the “epicenter” of the nation’s worst measles outbreak in 25 years, and furthermore that, the repeal was supported by medical and public health organizations, and by data and scientific evidence showing that this action would increase vaccination rates and prevent future outbreaks.
20 JUDGES WITH COVID, BUT NO COURT DISRUPTIONS: Twenty New York City judges who attended a conference in the Hamptons last week wound up testing positive for COVID-19, according to the Office of Court Administration spokesman Lucian Chalfen, as reported in the New York Law Journal. The conference, held from May 9-12 at Gurney’s Star Island Resort and Marina, attracted more than 70 attendees, all of whom had reportedly been vaccinated and without serious symptoms.
There seemed to be little concern that these judicial absences would disrupt court operations as they came from different courts.
IPS NEWS: REP. CLARKE PRESENTS CHECK FOR WORKFORCE TRAINING: Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-09/Flatbush/East Flatbush) will present a $1,000,000 check today for the Community Project Funding awarded to BMS Family Health and Wellness Centers (BMS) to support the implementation and startup costs of a community workforce and training initiative. The project centers on building workforce skills and professional capacity for area residents so they can escape poverty, and train in particular for jobs in the healthcare industry.
The check presentation will take place with workforce and job placement partners as part of an Employment Resource Fair for area residents and BMS patients.
IPS NEWS: STATE ELECTEDS SPONSOR YOUTH JUSTICE AND OPPORTUNITIES ACT: Dozens of New York City young people and advocates gathered last Saturday to launch a new campaign for the Youth Justice & Opportunities Act (S5749A/A3536A) with a rally and day of events in Brooklyn’s Lincoln Terrace Park — including basketball games and performances. The Youth Justice and Opportunities Act (YJ&O), which State Senator Zellnor Myrie and State Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell sponsor, would expand pathways for alternatives to incarceration and immediate record sealing for young people through age 25.
The YJ&O strengthens and expands New York’s existing youthful offender law, allowing more young people who are arrested and tried as adults to move forward without the ghost of a criminal conviction hindering their chance of being hired.
IPS NEWS: WILLIAMS: URGENCY ON PASSING ANTI-VIOLENCE PROGRAMS: Public Advocate and gubernatorial candidate Jumaane Williams, and his running mate, Ana Maria Archila, have called for New York State to invest $1 billion immediately community based-anti violence initiatives. Said Williams, “From Brooklyn to Buffalo, New York continues to mourn the loss of the 10 people who were killed by a racist, anti-Semitic, white supremacist. As we search for answers, we know that this violence is senseless, and that no answers will suffice in the face of the inexplicable.
Adding that “Comptroller DiNapoli recently announced that New York has a $3 billion revenue stream that remains unallocated by the state. Williams urged Governor Hochul the Governor to act before the end of legislative session appropriating the state’s surplus to immediately invest $1 billion in community-based gun violence prevention services, youth programming, and victims’ services, and by securing fundings to “combat the increase of white nationalism across the state.”
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