Thursday, February 25, 2021



Defendant Preyed on One of the Victims While Out on Bail 

 Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark and New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea today announced that a Bronx man has been indicted for the sex-trafficking of a 28-yearold New Jersey woman, and is also under another indictment for sex-trafficking a 15-year-old Brooklyn girl. In both cases he allegedly beat and choked the victims. 

 District Attorney Clark said, “The defendant stands charged in two separate cases of assaulting females to force them into selling themselves for sex. He was indicted last October for trafficking a 15-year-old runaway, whom he allegedly ‘bought’ for $300 from another alleged pimp. After he was released on bail in January, he turned to his other victim and allegedly tried to coerce her into prostitution. He is now indicted for his alleged crimes against that victim as well. Sex trafficking is a heinous and despicable crime and we must do everything to stop it and to help the traumatized victims.”

 Commissioner Shea said, “The NYPD is committed to combating sex trafficking, protecting sex trafficking survivors and fighting every day on behalf of society’s most vulnerable individuals. I thank and commend the Human Trafficking Squad of the NYPD’s Vice Enforcement Unit and the Bronx District Attorney’s office for their ongoing efforts to eradicate trafficking in our city and to bring justice to the victims of these heinous crimes.” 

 District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Reginald Cooke AKA Reggie, 31, of 1051 Anderson Avenue, was arraigned today on three counts of Sex Trafficking, second-degree Promoting Prostitution, second-degree Strangulation, Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation, fourth-degree Promoting Prostitution, third-degree Assault, fourth-degree Criminal Mischief, two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Attempted Sex Trafficking, and Attempted Promoting Prostitution in the second and fourth degree before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Albert Lorenzo. The defendant was remanded and is due back in court on March 2, 2021.

 According to the investigation, between August 21, 2020 to October 8, 2020, the 28-yearold victim met two individuals at a South Hackensack, N.J. motel who then referred her to Cooke. The defendant told the victim she could have a better life and convinced her to stay with her two children in his Bronx home. Cooke allegedly took photos of the victim and posted them as ads on sex websites. The victim allegedly performed sexual acts with approximately 10-15 Johns per day in Cooke’s apartment, or at an apartment nearby. Cooke allegedly imposed specific rules, and when the victim did not comply, he would allegedly slap, punch and choke her and pull her hair. He also plied her with PCP.

 On October 8, 2020, the victim told the defendant that she did not want to work for him anymore and wanted to leave that lifestyle. Cooke allegedly became enraged and yelled and hit her in front of her two children. The victim called the police and left for New Jersey. An investigation began by the Bronx DA’s Human Trafficking Unit and the NYPD Human Trafficking Unit.

 Cooke is charged with co-defendants Laura Sue Haste AKA Chanel Foxx, 38 of Florida, and Robert Wilson AKA Tiger, 31, of 452 East 148th Street, for Sex Trafficking of a Child involving a 15-year-old victim who had run away from home and was reported missing by her mother. According to the investigation, in September 2019, the girl went to Wilson’s Bronx home and engaged in sexual intercourse with him and his partner, and she began working for Wilson. On August 3, 2020, Wilson allegedly sold the victim to Cooke for $300. Cooke allegedly took the victim to his home and he and Haste refused to let the victim leave. During that time, the victim engaged in sexual intercourse with Cooke. Cooke allegedly beat the teen to instill fear: punching, slapping and choking her. The defendant allegedly coordinated meetings with Johns and managed prices and payments. He allegedly gave the teen clothes, a list of rules and hired a photographer to take pictures of her. He then uploaded those pictures as ads on sex websites.

 The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children saw her photos when the ads started popping up and notified the NYPD. On August 21, 2020, the girl was rescued by the Human Trafficking Major Case Team after an undercover detective set up a date with the victim.

 Cooke and the co-defendants were arraigned on October 29, 2020 on a 22-count indictment charging Sex Trafficking of a Child, second-degree Promoting Prostitution, two counts of thirddegree Promoting Prostitution and fourth degree Promoting Prostitution before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Michael Gross. Cooke was additionally charged with three counts of Sex Trafficking, second-degree Promoting Prostitution, third-degree Rape, third-degree Criminal Sexual Act, second-degree Unlawful Imprisonment and third-degree Assault. Haste was also charged with third-degree Criminal Sexual Act, and Wilson was charged with third-degree Rape, two counts of third-degree Criminal Sexual Act, Sex Trafficking of a Child, and second, third and fourth-degree Promoting Prostitution.

 Bail was set in the amount of $250,000 cash/$350,000 insurance bond/$500,000 partially secured bond at 10% with an examination of surety. On January 21, 2021, Cooke was released from Rikers Island and immediately contacted the New Jersey complainant and attempted to sex traffic her again. He was indicted on February 5, 2021, on the case involving that victim.

 Anyone with information about other victims, or if you are a victim of human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888, or the Bronx DA’s Crime Victims Assistance Unit, (718) 590-2115.

 The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Stephanie M. Reilly of the Human Trafficking Unit, under the supervision of Stephen Knoepfler, Chief of the Human Trafficking Unit, and under the overall supervision of Joseph Muroff, Chief of the Special Victims Division. District Attorney Clark thanked Rhayvan Jackson Terrell, social worker in the HTU. District Attorney Clark thanked Human Trafficking Major Case Team of NYPD Vice Enforcement Division Detective Mark Shackel, Detective Judith Moreno, and Lieutenant Amy Capogna for their work in the investigation.

 An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State Vaccination Program


More Than 2.5 Million - or 12.8% of - New Yorkers Have Received First Dose

More Than 7% of New Yorkers Fully Vaccinated 

As of 11 AM today, New York's Providers Have Administered 91% of First Doses  

Vaccine Dashboard Will Update Daily to Provide Updates on the State's Vaccine Program; Go to; Dashboard Now Includes Demographic Data 

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's vaccination program. As of 11 AM today, more than 2.5 million, or 12.8 percent of, New Yorkers have received a first dose of the vaccine, and more than 7 percent of New Yorkers have received both doses. New York's providers have administered 91 percent of first doses so far delivered. The week 10 allocation from the federal government that was delayed due to winter storms impacting much of the country has finished arriving. The week 11 allocation from the federal government is in the process of being delivered to providers for administration.  

"The vaccine is the weapon that will win the war, we know that it works, and it will be what gets us to the light at the end of the tunnel," Governor Cuomo said. "We're doing everything we can to further build our vaccination network and ensure the vaccine is being administered equitably, but one of our biggest obstacles to getting every single New Yorker vaccinated remains a lack of supply. The Biden Administration has been increasing our doses each week and in turn we've been able to expand eligibility to even more New Yorkers. Now that the FDA has found the Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe and effective against COVID, larger shipments and a greater supply are on the horizon, putting us one step closer to becoming the first COVID-free state in the nation." 

Approximately 10 million New Yorkers are currently eligible to receive the vaccine. New York's vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.   

The 'Am I Eligible' screening tool has been updated for individuals with comorbidities and underlying conditions with new appointments released on a rolling basis over the next weeks. Starting next week, local health departments will also receive vaccine allocations for these individuals. New Yorkers can use the following to show they are eligible:

     Doctor's letter, or

     Medical information evidencing comorbidity, or

     Signed certification

Vaccination program numbers below are for doses distributed and delivered to New York for the state's vaccination program, and do not include those reserved for the federal government's Long Term Care Facility program. A breakdown of the data based on numbers reported to New York State as of 11 AM today is as follows. Beginning week 9, allocation totals are inclusive of some excess vaccine doses that have been reallocated from the federal Long Term Care Facility program. The allocation totals below include 100 percent of the week 10 allocation.   


First Doses Received - 2,812,900

First Doses Administered - 2,562,274

Total Doses Received - 4,530,640

Total Doses Administered - 3,985,558

Senator Rivera on Sexual Harassment Allegations against Governor Cuomo



"I believe survivors. Coming forward is a courageous act and I believe that choosing not to share your story does not make what you survived any less real or unacceptable.

The serious allegations presented against Governor Cuomo by his former staffer are incredibly upsetting and repulsive. I join the multiple calls made for an immediate independent investigation into them.

If we want to eradicate such egregious behavior from workplaces and elsewhere and to support survivors to overcome their trauma, we must believe them. We must also act firmly and swiftly to hold those who mistreat others and abuse their power accountable, regardless of how powerful they are.”



Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed a package of legislation that will transfer jurisdiction of Rikers Island to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and require a study of renewable energy generation and storage on Rikers Island, as well as a bill that would prohibit people convicted of a felony related to public corruption from running for elected office.
"As we drive a recovery for all of us, there is increased opportunity to reimagine public space,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We also must ensure public servants keep our trust. These bills will create a better and more sustainable future for all New Yorkers.”
Intro. 1592-A (Constantinides): This bill transfers jurisdiction of portions of Rikers Island that are not in active use as a jail site to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services beginning July 1, 2021with the full transfer of Rikers Island to DCAS to be completed by August 31, 2027. This bill also establishes a Rikers Island Advisory Committee that will include members who were in custody on Rikers Island, members whose immediate family members were in custody on Rikers Island, and environmental justice advocates and sustainability experts. The Advisory Committee will make recommendations on the future uses of Rikers Island for sustainability and resiliency purposes.
Intro. 1593-A (Constantinides): This bill requires the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability to study the feasibility of constructing renewable energy sources, which could include wind or solar power, and battery storage facilities on Rikers Island.
Intro. 374-A (Brannan): This bill disqualifies persons from holding office of Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough President or Council Member if they have been convicted of felonies, or convicted of an attempt or conspiracy to commit a felony relating to public corruption, including: grand larceny of public funds, theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, making false statements if committed through the use of, or in connection with, such person’s elected office, wire and mail fraud, or interference with commerce by threats or violence.
“Today is another step forward in the work to transform Rikers Island from a symbol of mass incarceration into a space that benefits all New Yorkers, potentially as a hub for renewable energy. The Council’s top priority is to improve the lives of New Yorkers and that includes addressing climate change and strengthening the public trust, which these bills do," said Speaker Corey Johnson.
“For generations, Rikers Island has been a symbol the world over of our country’s failures to truly embody the principles of liberty and justice for all,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “With the passage of the Renewable Rikers Act into law, however, we will finally close the book on the island’s brutal history. Now we can begin the work of fulfilling the promise of Renewable Rikers and bringing true restorative and environmental justice to the communities that have long suffered in its shadow. I thank the mayor for his support of the Renewable Rikers Act and to all the advocates whose work led us to this momentous day.”
"Serving the public in elected office is a privilege, not a right, and it must be treated as such. Today, when trust and faith in government is at an all-time low, the last thing we need are elected officials who use their position of power to enrich themselves or their friends, get caught, and then come back looking for more. Now more than ever, we need elected officials who take the job because they are determined to build a better future for New Yorkers. With this law, we send a crystal clear message to those who wish to use an elected office to abuse the public trust: corruption is not welcome in New York City, and you don't get a second chance to betray New Yorkers,” said Council Member Justin Brannan.
“Securing a renewable future for Rikers Island is a huge win for climate justice in New York City,” said Daniel Zarrilli, New York City's Chief Climate Policy Advisor. “Today’s action by Mayor de Blasio gives us a chance to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity for clean energy, jobs, and environmental justice as we work to end the era of mass incarceration in New York City.  Congratulations to Councilmember Constantinides and the members of the Renewable Rikers coalition. We look forward to the work ahead as we re-imagine Rikers Island to confront our climate crisis and secure a livable future for the next generation.”
"The Renewable Rikers Act is an important step in delivering restorative climate justice and a clean energy future for New York City,” said Kate Gouin, Acting Director, NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “We look forward to studying and realizing the role Rikers Island and those impacted by our criminal justice system will play in our pursuit of a just and sustainable future for all.”  
"I'm looking forward to building a much brighter - and greener - future for Rikers Island," said Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. "Working together, Rikers Island can be transformed into an important part of our city's green energy future."

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic - FEBRUARY 25, 2021


5,703 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide

1,124 Patients in the ICU; 774 Intubated

Statewide Positivity Rate is 3.14%

7-Day Average Positivity - 3.34% - Lowest Since November 27

89 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're continuing to see promising decreases in the positivity and hospitalization rates, and these numbers show that our vaccination efforts and the disciplined behavior of New Yorkers are working to beat back this virus," Governor Cuomo said. "Now that our numbers are back on track, we are able to begin reopening more businesses and sectors of our economy - like arts, entertainment and weddings - while continuing to monitor the infection rate to make sure we don't lose any of the progress we've already made. This is all good news - but now is not the time for New Yorkers to get complacent. I encourage everyone to continue doing the things we know are effective in fighting this virus - wash your hands, wear a mask and practice social distancing."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 278,942
  • Total Positive - 8,746
  • Percent Positive - 3.14%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 3.34%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 5,703 (-173)
  • Net Change Patient Hospitalization Past Week - -731
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 675
  • Hospital Counties - 55
  • Number ICU - 1,124 (-30)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 774 (-26)
  • Total Discharges - 144,322 (+663)
  • Deaths - 89
  • Total Deaths - 38,227



 Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a new chapter for NYPD leadership, appointing Rodney Harrison as Chief of Department and Terry Monahan as Senior Advisor for Recovery and Safety Planning. In his new role, Monahan will lead the City’s public safety recovery strategy in partnership with Recovery Czar Lorraine Grillo. As Chief of Department, Rodney Harrison will strengthen the City’s neighborhood policing strategy and deepen the bonds between community and police.


“Public safety is key to our city’s recovery,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.  “Rodney Harrison and Terry Monahan are trusted change agents who brought neighborhood policing to the five boroughs. I have full confidence that they can fight back the perfect storm of COVID-19 to bring us back, keeping New York City the safest big city in America.”


“Rodney has done everything from patrol, to dangerous work undercover to being a detective, a supervisor, a precinct commander. Most notably, he is an architect of our neighborhood policing philosophy. In other words, he has seen this job from every angle. I am proud to have him as my Chief of Department,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.


Chief Harrison was selected to head the prestigious NYPD Detective Bureau as the Chief of Detectives in 2019. He is the first African American to hold this position in the Department’s 175-year history. Harrison previously served as Chief of Patrol, where he was responsible for carrying out the City’s neighborhood policy strategy.


Harrison grew up in the Rochdale Village neighborhood of Jamaica, Queens. Harrison was inspired to join the NYPD and make a difference following negative experiences with law enforcement. He began his Police career in 1991 as a Cadet with the New York City Police Department, and  after two years on Patrol, became an undercover officer. During his time there he was presented with the Police Combat Cross for Valor when he was involved in shooting incident where his partner was struck and injured. In 1997 he was transferred to the 71 Precinct Detective Squad where he solved several homicides and high profile cases occurring in Crown Heights. Harrison also served in the 73rd  Precinct in Brownsville and 28 Precinct and the 32 Precinct in Harlem. During his time there he was able to keep crime down every single year, as well as strengthen the relationships with the surrounding community.


Later in 2016, he moved on to Patrol Borough Brooklyn North as the Executive Officer of Operations under the leadership of Jeff Maddrey. Harrison went on to become Commanding Officer of Detective Borough Brooklyn North.


Terry Monahan spent nearly 40 years in the NYPD and led the City’s groundbreaking neighborhood policing strategy, overseeing its implementation across the five boroughs. As Chief of Department, the highest-ranking uniformed member of the NYPD, Chief of Department Monahan he oversaw roughly 40,000 uniformed and civilian members of the service. He previously served as the commanding officer of the 34th, 46th, and 48th Precincts, as well as Narcotics Borough Manhattan North, executive officer of Patrol Borough Bronx and Patrol Borough Queens North, and the commanding officer of the Office of the Chief of Department, where he began developing the neighborhood policing strategy.


“Terry Monahan was a key driver of the NYPD’s neighborhood policing philosophy, said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “He has been a leader since he joined the department at the age of 20 Terry’s dedication and spirit was felt by everyone around him. The NYPD’s loss is the Mayor’s gain. I am certain that Terry’s natural confidence and capabilities will be felt as he helps New York City move towards recovery”.


Bronx Democratic Party - Bronx City Council Endorsement Updates


As you may know, we have some very important races this upcoming June. This year we will be electing a new Mayor, Comptroller, Borough President, and City Council candidates. We have not made any endorsements in the Mayoral race, and we plan to remain neutral in the Borough President race. Below are the endorsements we have made in all of the other races.

Also, just a reminder that petitioning starts on Tuesday, March 2nd. I encourage you to reach out to any of the campaigns listed below or me if you're interested in volunteering. All of the campaigns take the appropriate safety measures to ensure that everyone remains safe while collecting signatures.

Lastly, this Friday, at 7 pm, we will have a Zoom with our endorsed candidates and special guests, Attorney General Letitia James, and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. I encourage you all to join.

CD8- Diana Ayala
CD11- Eric Dinowitz - Special election March 23rd
CD12- Kevin Riley
CD13- Marjorie Velazquez
CD14- Pierina Sanchez
CD15- (no endorsement) - Special election March 23rd
CD16- Althea Stevens
CD17- Rafael Salamanca
CD18- Amanda Farias


Ariana Collado
Executive Director