Thursday, July 11, 2019


  The de Blasio Administration today announced it has joined five other cities and counties across the country in filing an amicus brief supporting a nonprofit being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for its attempt to open an overdose prevention site.

“We have a moral obligation to save lives and connect people to addiction treatment, and New York City is on the front lines of the opioid crisis,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It’s repugnant that the Trump Administration is once again trying to criminalize people with addiction issues and we’re proud to stand with other municipalities to say we’ll do everything in our power to save lives.”

“As people die and families are devastated by the long lasting consequences of the continuing opioid epidemic, cities must do everything they can to support communities and save lives,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “New York is taking every measure to address the root causes of substance abuse and ensure people have the resources they need to help themselves or someone they love. We will be vigilant and press on until the end of this public health crisis.”

The nonprofit, Safehouse, is planning to open and operate a site that provides overdose prevention services in Philadelphia. In February 2019, the DOJ filed a civil lawsuit asking the court to block the site and declare it a violation of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, the “crack house statute.” The brief is being submitted in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In New York City, someone dies of a drug overdose every six hours. In 2017, there were 1,487 confirmed drug overdose deaths, and more people in New York City died from drug overdoses that year than from motor vehicle collisions, suicides, and homicides combined. Opioids were involved in 82 percent of New York City overdose deaths that year. For the first time, fentanyl, a powerful and fast-acting opioid, was the most common drug, involved in 57 percent of deaths. Overdose deaths remain at epidemic levels in New York City as illicitly manufactured fentanyl continues to be present in the drug supply.

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, as well as other health departments across the country, takes an evidence-based approach to confronting the crisis of opioid addiction and overdose, and research strongly indicates that overdose prevention sites prevent overdoses, improve access to addiction treatment, and save lives.

In May 2018, Mayor de Blasio announced his support to pilot four overdose prevention centers in New York City. The sites would be privately operated and funded, and would need to meet specific criteria prior to opening, including: Receiving authorization from the New York State Department of Health to pilot the overdose prevention centers as a research study; be sanctioned by the local District Attorney where a site is proposed; receive support from a local Council Member; and undergo a 6 to 12 month planning process with a local community advisory board, comprised of local stakeholders, including residents. The State Department of Health has not yet moved ahead with authorization.

The City has taken aggressive steps to reduce drug overdose deaths citywide and connect people to care and treatment. In 2017, it launched HealingNYC, a program that aims to fight the opioid epidemic by increasing resources, support and education in communities. HealingNYC has distributed more than 230,000 naloxone kits to opioid overdose prevention programs citywide, and has launched a peer-based program called Relay in 10 hospital system’s emergency departments across the city to provide support to people who experience an overdose. In addition, HealingNYC has trained more than 1,700 clinicians to prescribe buprenorphine, raised public awareness through three citywide media campaigns and launched StopODNYC, a free mobile app to teach New Yorkers how to recognize and reverse an overdose with naloxone and links them to locations where naloxone is available without a prescription.

“New York and other cities are on the frontlines of this deadly public health crisis,” said Corporation Counsel Zachary W. Carter. “Citing a federal law clearly intended to prohibit the operation of crack houses, DOJ seeks to prevent cities and counties from supporting health facilities designed to prevent dangerous drug overdoses. New York City will continue to use every legal tool at its disposal to protect this lifesaving initiative.”

“This administration is committed to disrupting the opioid epidemic and saving lives using every tool at our disposal,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. “That is why last year we announced our support for Overdose Prevention Centers as an evidence-based, innovative model to reducing overdose deaths.”

“In New York City we won’t stand idly by as our fellow residents are dying of overdoses,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “We are doing everything in our power to provide life-saving overdose reversal kits, sterile syringes as well as judgement-free information that can link people with services. We can turn the tide on the overdose epidemic, but we need to employ every available tool. The science is clear: Overdose prevention centers save lives. They have a record of success in other jurisdictions and should be available in Philadelphia as well as New York City.”

The brief argues cities and counties should be permitted to support the opening of these sites in their communities. DOJ’s reliance on the federal Controlled Substances Act, or “crack house” statute, to prohibit localities from doing so is fundamentally incompatible with the statute and would raise troubling implications for the constitutional powers of state and local governments to protect public health.

Today’s amicus brief is the latest in New York City’s legal efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. In January 2018, the City filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court to hold manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids accountable for their roles in the deadly epidemic. Through the lawsuit, the City aims to recover upwards of half a billion dollars in past damages and future costs to address the opioids crisis. Earlier this year members of the Sackler families, who have controlled opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma for decades, and large retailers like CVS and Wal-Mart were added as defendants in the City’s lawsuit.

The amicus brief was drafted by Hogan Lovells. In addition to New York City, other jurisdictions joining the brief include San Francisco, California; King County, Washington; Seattle, Washington; Pittsburgh Pennsylvania; and Svante L. Myrick, Mayor of Ithaca, New York.

The amicus brief can be found here.

Team AOC - Vital info for our neighbors to avoid ICE

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Congress

Two weeks ago, the Trump Administration threatened thousands of people with deportation and massive ICE raids across the country. Now, they’re threatening to do it again.

They were forced to back down the first time. Now, we’re not so sure if that will happen again. That means we need people like you to spread information that can help people threatened by ICE know their rights, and avoid having their families torn apart.

All that it takes for injustice to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Always remember, inaction never benefits the victim, only the oppressor.
Thanks for taking action,
Team AOC

Paid for by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Congress


RE: Borough Based Jail System
July 10, 2019
  Chair Lago, Vice Chair Knuckles, and esteemed Commissioners, I am here today to implore you to vote no on today’s ULURP or to remove the Bronx site for further consideration.

To be clear, Rikers Island is an abomination that must be shutdown. It is an archaic, outdated, harsh environment that puts both officers and detainees at risk every day.

Mott Haven and the residents of Diego Beekman have fought for decades to overcome the crime, drugs, despair and abandonment that plagued their neighborhood. They rolled up their sleeves to turn it back into the livable community it is today. I am adamantly opposed to the burden the proposed borough-based jail for my borough will place on one of the country's poorest urban communities.

Unfortunately, this site ignores both their hard work and the Lippman Commission's proposal to place borough-based jails near courthouses. Instead of reaching out to the community, the administration has decided to impose a monolithic, oppressive structure adjacent to a community of reclaimed apartments, homes and schools, in the name of political expediency. It places undue traffic and environmental hazards on a community already choked by the highest asthma rates in the country.

Many question whether there is a need for such a large facility, as the number of detainees drop due to ongoing reform. The administration still has not explained why it needs a facility that would allot over 1,000 square feet per detainee, particularly when modern jails are being built elsewhere at a third of the size. They also have no actual program or design for this facility. How can we be asked to approve a jail in our community when the administration itself admits it doesn't know what it will really look like?

If this were the only alternative, it would be a bitter pill to swallow, but there is a better site that heeds the Lippman Commission's recommendation, located right next to the Bronx Hall of Justice. Regrettably, the administration did not adequately study combining available land behind the Hall of Justice and fully replacing the underutilized and outmoded Family Court building next door, as I proposed in the Citywide Statement of Needs for Fiscal Years 2020-21. This is why I am invoking my power to call for a “super majority vote” as explicitly detailed in the City Charter Section 197-c pertaining to ULURP procedure for siting a city facility.

In addition, the precedent exists to defer the Bronx site for further analysis, while the closing of Rikers Island can proceed. You have the power to alter this ULURP. For example, in the upcoming Special Natural Area District ULURP, City Planning split one application into multiple applications to address community concerns. We implore this Commission to give the same consideration to community concerns around this proposed Bronx site.

We have another eight years before Rikers Island is estimated to be closed. We can afford to take another year to do this right for The Bronx, a place that already takes more than its fair share by hosting Rikers Island, Horizons Juvenile Detention Center and the Vernon C. Bain Correctional Facility.

Please stand with me in doing what is right. Stand with me to respect the wishes of Mott Haven residents and help us properly evaluate my proposed site as set forth in the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Citywide Statement of Needs.

Thank You.


I asked the following question of Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday July 8, 2019 at a mayoral press conference.

 Question: The local community board and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz have voted against the new Bronx site for the jail. It’s on a tow-pound which could be contaminated from whatever’s there, and then you have to move the tow-pound to another site which hasn’t been announced yet. What happens if you don’t get the tow-pound site. What happens?

Mayor: Look, we’re absolutely convinced we can accommodate the tow-pound elsewhere. We need to do borough-based jails. The councilmember supports it, the Council Speaker supports it, I support, and we’re going to keep moving forward.

The Bronx Democratic Party - 2019 Dinner Honorees - Wednesday July 16th

We are excited to share our newly updated list of honorees, which we will be acknowledging and celebrating during our 2019 Bronx Democratic Party County Dinner, taking place this coming Wednesday, July 17th at 6PM, At Marina Del Rey.

The Bronx Democratic Party feels privileged to be able to bring together transcending individuals who represent the very best throughout their respective sectors. Our Chairman Marcos A. Crespo and the rest of the team are thankful for your support, and we truly hope to see you at our 2019 dinner.

To purchase single tickets to our dinner online please click HERE.


Flash Flood Watch in effect for New York City from 4 p.m. Thursday through 2 a.m. Friday

   The New York City Emergency Management Department today issued a travel advisory for Thursday evening through Friday morning. The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for New York City in effect from 4 p.m. Thursday through 2 a.m. Friday. A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding.

According to the latest National Weather Service forecast, heavy rain and a slight chance of thunderstorms are possible this afternoon through early Friday morning.  The heaviest period of rain is forecast between 6 p.m. Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday.  The rain will taper off early Friday morning, though a lingering shower is possible. A total of 1 to 1.5 inches of rainfall is in the forecast, with locally higher amounts possible.

New Yorkers should prepare for slippery road conditions, exercise caution when driving, walking, or biking, and consider taking public transportation whenever possible. Flash Flooding is a very dangerous situation. Continue to monitor forecasts and be prepared to take action should a Flash Flood Warning be issued.

“We are expecting heavy rain this evening that may cause flooding in low-lying areas. We advise New Yorkers to prepare for a slick commute,” NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell said. “Allow for extra travel time, and do not drive your vehicle or walk into flooded areas.”

NYC Emergency Management works closely with National Weather Service to monitor the weather. The department has activated the City’s Flash Flood Emergency Plan to ensure a quick, effective, and coordinated preparation and response to any flash flood events. Flash flooding can occur with little or no warning due to the large number of paved surfaces across the city. These surfaces do not allow rainwater to absorb into the ground, consequently overwhelming storm drains, causing localized flooding.

NYC Emergency Management works closely with NYPD, FDNY, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Sanitation, Department of Transportation, Department of Parks and Recreation, and the MTA to mitigate the impact of flash floods. These actions include pre-inspecting and clearing catch basins in vulnerable locations throughout the city. New Yorkers are encouraged to report clogged catch basins and areas of standing water to 311.

Safety Tips
·       If you live in a flood-prone area, keep materials such as sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber on hand to help protect your home.
·       Prepare a Go Bag — a collection of things you would want if you have to leave in a hurry — for every member of your household, including pets.
·       Avoid driving, walking, or biking through flooded areas. As few as six inches of moving water can knock a person over. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling. One or two feet of water can carry away a vehicle.
·       Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
·       If you see downed electrical wires, do not go near them. Never attempt to move or touch them with any object. Be mindful that tree limbs, leaves, or water can cover downed wires from view. Always stay away from downed power lines because they could be live.
·       Report downed wires immediately. If a power line falls on your vehicle while you are in it, stay inside, call 911 immediately, and wait for emergency personnel.
·       To prepare for a possible power outage, charge cell phone batteries, gather supplies, and turn your refrigerator and freezer to a colder setting. If you lose power, items that need refrigeration will stay cooler for longer.
·   If your power goes out, disconnect or turn off appliances that would otherwise turn on automatically when service is restored.  If several appliances start up at once, the electric circuits may overload.
·       Make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios or televisions are working. Keep extra batteries.
·       If you lose power & have a disability, access and functional needs or use Life Sustaining Equipment (LSE) & need immediate assistance, dial 911.
·       Do not use generators indoors.

For more information, visit Yorkers are also encouraged to download the free Notify NYC mobile application, which is available from iTunes or Google Play. Notify NYC is the City’s free emergency notification system that allows New Yorkers to also receive phone calls, text messages, and/or email alerts about weather conditions and other emergencies. To learn more about the Notify NYC program or to sign up, or call 311. You can also follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.

News From Congressman Eliot Engel

Engel Slams GOP Continuing Efforts to Repeal Health Care
  Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a founding member of the Medicare For All Caucus and top member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued the following statement as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals hears oral arguments in Texas v. U.S. lawsuit, which is the latest Republican effort to strike down protections for people with pre-existing conditions and the health benefits provided by the Affordable Care Act:

“No matter how many times the American people shut down President Trump’s attempts to repeal their health care coverage, he just keeps coming back. You almost wish the President were this persistent when it came to other things, like defending our electoral system from foreign interference.

“Today, the Fifth Circuit will hear oral arguments in Texas v. U.S. which is the latest Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act. It’s been apparent for some time that Republicans simply do not care who they hurt, just as long as President Obama’s signature accomplishment is destroyed. Shameful doesn’t begin to describe this assault on the American people, which if successful, will eviscerate protections for 130 million people with pre-existing conditions and result in 20 million Americans losing their health coverage. In New York alone, 607,000 people stand to lose their health insurance by repealing the ACA, while over 8 million New Yorkers living with pre-existing conditions will be put at risk. How anyone could support this despicable maneuver is beyond me, but here we are.

“It should be this simple: Congress, and the President, should be working to provide high-quality, affordable health care coverage. The ACA brought health care to millions of Americans who couldn’t afford it before. It also outlawed discriminatory practices used by insurance companies. Instead of repealing these protections, we should be building on the ACA’s progress and continuing our march toward Medicare For All.

“Since taking control of the House in January, the Democratic Majority has worked to strengthen protections for people with pre-existing conditions. We’ve also passed bills to lower the cost of prescription drugs and held the first hearings on Medicare For All. This is the progressive vision of health care I have long championed and will continue to fight for as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

“I remain hopeful that this is the President’s last attempt to steal health care away from millions of hardworking Americans.”

Engel Leads Effort to Prevent Funding Cuts to Safety-Net Hospital
  Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a top member on the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, today co-led a bipartisan effort to preserve Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments for safety-net hospitals by eliminating painful cuts scheduled to go into effect on October 1, 2019.

Medicaid DSH payments help sustain hospitals that serve a disproportionate number of low-income and uninsured patients. In doing so, these hospitals incur tremendous uncompensated costs. Medicaid DSH payments help make up for these losses and, in turn, allow these safety-net providers to keep their doors open and continue caring for the most vulnerable among us. Without Congressional action, New York’s 200 safety-net hospitals and the patients they serve stand to lose a collective $1.8 billion annually.

But today, the E&C Health Subcommittee took a big step in support of safety-net hospitals by passing an amendment that eliminates $4 billion in scheduled DSH cuts for fiscal year (FY) 2020 and $8 billion for FY2021. This bipartisan amendment builds on Congressman Engel’s effort from this past May, when he led a letter with Congressman Pete Olson (TX-22) to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy urging a swift resolution to this issue. 300 Members of the House signed the letter.

“Safety-net hospitals such as Montefiore Health Systems and Saint Joseph’s Medical Center are the cornerstone of New York’s health care system,” Engel said. “We must preserve the Medicaid DSH payments, which are the lifeline for these facilities. Today’s markup was an important first-step, and I was proud to help lead in the elimination of these draconian cuts. But we must continue the pressure until it is signed into law.”      

“We applaud Rep. Engel’s long standing leadership to protect our hospitals and the vulnerable patients they serve,” said HANYS President Bea Grause, RN, JD. “Today’s vote at the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health brings us one step closer to addressing steep reductions to critical Medicaid DSH resources that help preserve access to care for all New Yorkers.  We thank Congressman Engel for his efforts today and look forward to working closely with him as he ushers this legislation through Congress.”

“This hugely important bill protects struggling safety net hospitals from deep, unsustainable funding cuts that would severely compromise patient care,” said Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth E. Raske. “The hospital community is deeply grateful to Rep. Engel for his strong leadership on this crucial issue.”

"America’s Essential Hospitals appreciates the amendment from Reps. Kennedy, Hudson, Engel, and Long to mitigate the looming Medicaid DSH cuts. We applaud Rep. Engel’s steadfast leadership in protecting Medicaid DSH funding to ensure essential hospitals have the resources they need to carry out their mission to serve the nation’s most vulnerable,” said Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, President and CEO, America’s Essential Hospitals.

The members of the American Nurses Association - New York (ANA-NY) thank Rep. Engel for his work in today’s vote at the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health to deal with the proposed Medicaid DSH reductions,” says Jeanine Santelli, PhD, RN, AGPCNP-BC, FAAN, and Executive Director of ANA-NY.  “ANA-NY’s members know that our patients need and deserve access to high quality health care, and the cuts that had been proposed would have a significant impact on the ability of the system to support the care our patients receive.  We applaud Rep. Engel for his efforts and look forward to this proposal getting finalized.”
"We greatly appreciate Congressman Engel's initiative in preserving critical funding for safety net hospitals.  The care these hospitals provide is absolutely essential to the health of millions of New Yorkers and is a critical healthcare underpinning for under-served communities.  To sustain this funding is to sustain lives—just ask the nurses,” said Carl Ginsburg, spokesperson, New York State Nurses Association.
“DSH funding is very important to the hospital where I work because of our location in an area that is impoverished,” says 1199SEIU member Paulette Forbes. “If the pending funding cuts go through, we may not be able to survive as a hospital.  We are grateful to Congressman Eliot Engel for advancing this proposal to repeal the cuts.” 


             glassines gun 2

Investigation Followed Wild Shootout in Brooklyn: 12 Guns Seized

 Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced today the arrest and indictment of eight members of a Brooklyn-based criminal organization charged with trafficking in narcotics, attempted assault and weapons possession. Several defendants are charged in connection with two incidents of shots fired in Brooklyn in August of 2018, including a broad daylight shootout on August 27, 2018 in which over 20 bullets were fired.

The 59-count indictment filed by the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office is a result of a long-term wiretap investigation by the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Narcotics Borough Brooklyn North. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez reviewed and submitted multiple eavesdropping applications for court authorization.
Seven arrests took place this morning, including multiple members of the same family, brothers MICHAEL WATSON and MARVIN WATSON and their nephew JERRY WATSON. Arraignments are scheduled to take place this afternoon before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Abraham Clott, Part 61, 111 Centre Street. An eighth defendant who was previously incarcerated is scheduled for arraignment tomorrow.
A total of 12 guns were seized during the investigation. Court authorized searches early this morning resulted in the seizure of five firearms and evidence of a suspected heroin packaging mill from 134 Thomas S. Boylan Street, 3rd floor in Brooklyn, a stash location allegedly linked to JERRY WATSON. Police also recovered approximately $25,000 cash from JERRY WATSON’s residence, 94-04 80th Street, Queens, and quantities of suspected heroin and cocaine from MICHAEL WATSON’s residence, 400 Hancock Street, Brooklyn.
Shooting Incidents and Weapons Possession
The investigation began following two shootings in Brooklyn in August of 2018. The indictment charges that on August 27, 2018, MICHAEL WATSON and MARVIN WATSON conspired to target a rival in the vicinity of 233 Bainbridge Street. Several security cameras captured the shootout in which over 20 bullets flew in broad daylight on a residential block.
At approximately 10:30 a.m., the defendants allegedly entered a black SUV that was parked at the curb and pulled out into the street to double-park, blocking the flow of traffic. Seconds later, as a suspected rival approached in a silver Lexus, MICHAEL WATSON and MARVIN WATSON emerged from the SUV carrying weapons. The rival fired a shot and MICHAEL WATSON and MARVIN WATSON returned fire.   Video shows pedestrians dove for cover as MICHAEL WATSON allegedly ran in the direction of the rival carrying a large silver gun in his outstretched hand. As traffic cleared behind the rival’s silver Lexus, the rival accelerated backwards, hitting multiple vehicles.  After the shootout, the WATSON brothers retreated into 233 Bainbridge Street.  Police later recovered extensive ballistics evidence from the street, including shell casings, and determined bullets had pierced multiple cars. No one was struck as a result of the shootout.
MICHAEL WATSON and MARVIN WATSON are charged with Attempted Assault in the First Degree, Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second and Third Degrees and Criminal Possession of a Firearm in connection with this incident.
Two days later, at approximately 11:45 a.m. on August 29, 2018, police received a report of shots fired in the vicinity of Bushwick Avenue and Halsey Street and observed MICHAEL WATSON speeding away from the area in a vehicle. Officers established surveillance outside a suspected drug and gun stash location controlled by the WATSONS at 10-15 Wyckoff Avenue, Apt. 1A in Queens. Police observed MICHAEL WATSON run into the building and knocked on the door. MICHAEL WATSON, MARVIN WATSON, JERRY WATSON and WILLIAM BOWMAN came out of the apartment.
Police obtained a court authorized search warrant and recovered three guns, a quantity of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. A fourth gun was recovered from a white Lexus that police had observed MARVIN WATSON, JERRY WATSON and WILLIAM BOWMAN driving earlier in the day. A ballistics analysis of one of the guns recovered from 10-15 Wyckoff Avenue matched shell casings recovered from the shots fired at Bushwick Avenue and Halsey Street.
As detailed in the indictment, the defendants engaged in multiple phone conversations about the sale and possession of firearms and bullet-proof vests. They also discussed multiple incidents in which police seized guns from their organization. On May 5, 2019, MICHAEL WATSON allegedly gave a female associate a .40 caliber pistol and a .454 caliber Taurus revolver. On June 5, 2019, police arrested the associate in possession of the two guns.  A subsequent ballistics analysis of these two guns revealed that the .454 caliber Taurus, a large silver gun, matched shell casings recovered from the August 27, 2018 shootout.
MICHAEL WATSON, MARVIN WATSON, JERRY WATSON and WILLIAM BOWMAN face charges of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second and Third Degrees and Criminal Possession of a Firearm, as well as Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree in connection with these incidents.
Sale and Possession of Narcotics: Heroin, Fentanyl and Cocaine
The wiretap investigation revealed the defendants coordinated with one another to obtain narcotics and make sales to customers. Charges in the indictment include 10 sales of narcotics to an undercover officer for nearly $6,000 between September of 2018 and March of 2019. The defendants primarily sold heroin, as well as the potent synthetic drug fentanyl and cocaine. Individual dose glassine envelopes of heroin and fentanyl were stamped with various brand names, including “Breaking Bad,” “World Wide” and “Fire.”
WILLIAM BOWMAN and WILLIAM WHITE, who are father and son, are charged with multiple sales to the undercover officer between September of 2018 and March of 2019. JERRY WATSON allegedly served as a narcotics supplier for WILIAM WHITE and also sold directly to the undercover. MICHAEL WATSON allegedly coordinated with JERRY WATSON and JEFFREY MERRITT to obtain and sell heroin.
MICHAEL WATSON, JERRY WATSON, MARVIN WATSON, WILLIAM WHITE, WILLIAM BOWMAN, JOSE CASTILO and JEFFREY MERRITT are charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree in connection with the sale and possession of narcotics between August 29, 2018 and July 2, 2019. WILLIAM BOWMAN, WILLIAM WHITE, JOSE CASTILLO, VICTOR STARLING, JERRY WATSON and MICHAEL WATSON face substantive counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked SNP’s Special Investigations Bureau, the NYPD Narcotics Borough Brooklyn North and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
“In addition to narcotics trafficking, the defendants are charged in connection with brazen daytime shootouts with rivals that endangered innocent bystanders. Not only did heroin, cocaine and lethal fentanyl sales endanger lives of those who use the drugs, the profits undoubtedly paid for weapons that put entire communities at risk,” said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan. “My office and our partners in the NYPD and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office are committed to investigating and prosecuting narcotics traffickers who disrupt neighborhoods through acts of violence.”
“Targeting and dismantling gangs and preventing the violence so often associated with their illegal activities continue to be among the highest priorities for the NYPD and our law enforcement partners. By precisely targeting the relatively small percentage of people responsible for committing this violence in New York, we are making the safest large city in America even safer. I commend the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, the King’s County District Attorney, and the NYPD investigators of Narcotics Borough Brooklyn North for their important work in this investigation,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, “These defendants allegedly sold heroin, fentanyl and cocaine on the streets of Brooklyn with no concern for the lives they were destroying, and allegedly took part in two shootings – including one in which 20 shots were fired. I am committed to keeping Brooklyn residents safe from illegal narcotics and gun violence and commend the New York City Police Department and the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for their work in putting this case together.”

Attorney General James Announces Settlement With Ticket Resale Companies For Selling Tickets They Never Owned

TicketNetwork, Ticket Galaxy, and Owner Donald Vaccaro Tricked Consumers into Purchasing Non-Existent Tickets, Often at Dramatically Inflated Prices 
TicketNetwork, Ticket Galaxy, and Vaccaro Will Pay $1.55 Million and Adopt Reforms Designed to Protect Ticket Purchasers

  New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a settlement resolving a lawsuit against TicketNetwork, Inc. (TicketNetwork), Ticket Galaxy (Ticket Galaxy), and their owner Donald Vaccaro for tricking tens of thousands of unsuspecting customers into purchasing tickets to concerts, shows, and other live events that the sellers did not actually own. 

“Because of their dishonest practices, these companies defrauded thousands of New Yorkers and duped customers into spending millions of dollars on speculative tickets,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “We are holding these companies accountable for their deceptive practices that swindled New Yorkers out of their hard-earned money and are putting in place reforms to protect ticket buyers in the future.”
Central to the lawsuit was the sale of “speculative tickets” — offers by ticket resellers to sell tickets that they did not actually have. Only after a consumer placed an order for speculative tickets did the listing broker attempt to purchase real tickets, at a lower price, from a different source to provide to the buyer. In fact, often, Ticket Galaxy and other brokers listed tickets for popular events before tickets to those events had even been released for sale to the public. During this period — when few other tickets were available — the demand for tickets was so great that Ticket Galaxy and other brokers charged enormous premiums for tickets, at times hundreds or thousands of dollars above face value. The broker then kept the difference between the price they actually paid and the price at which the speculative ticket was sold to a consumer.
Additionally, Ticket Galaxy, specifically, routinely misled customers in cases where they could not ultimately provide a ticket, in an effort to avoid revealing that they never had those tickets in the first place. Representatives from the company told complaining customers that they could not provide their tickets due to listing or technical errors, or vague supplier issues. However, in reality, in all of these cases Ticket Galaxy never had the tickets the company had speculatively sold.
Many consumers who unknowingly purchased speculative tickets paid vastly inflated prices, while others did not receive the seats that were advertised. In some cases, consumers received no tickets at all.
Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants will pay $1.55 million and adopt reforms designed to protect ticket purchasers in the future. Specifically, these ticket resale companies will need to enhance their disclosures to consumers — clearly and conspicuously disclosing to consumers when they do not have possession of tickets and instead are offering to obtain them for consumers. The companies are also prohibited from misrepresenting the reason why purchased tickets were never actually available in the first place — because the ticket reseller never had them in their possession.
The settlement is subject to court approval.


Defendant Charged With Predatory Sexual Assault and Attempted Murder; Stomped On Victim

  Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a Bronx man has been indicted on Predatory Sexual Assault, Attempted Murder and additional charges for brutally beating and raping a young woman in his Mott Haven building. 

 District Attorney Clark said, “The defendant allegedly raped a 20-year-old woman on the roof landing of his building. He allegedly slammed her face into the ground and stomped on her. We will pursue justice for the young woman who has been through so much trauma.” 

 District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Temar Bishop, 23, of 215 Alexander Avenue, was arraigned today on two counts of Predatory Sexual Assault, first-degree Rape, Attempted Murder in the second degree, and first-degree and second-degree Assault before Bronx Supreme Court Justice George Villegas. Remand was continued and the defendant is due back in court on October 2, 2019. 

 According to the investigation, the defendant was with the victim at a restaurant in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx before they headed to the defendant’s building at about 5 a.m. on June 1, 2019. Bishop allegedly took the victim to the building’s roof landing where he punched her, pulled her hair and raped her. After the sexual assault, while the victim was on the floor, the defendant allegedly kicked her about the body, and stomped on her head and body. Bishop also repeatedly slammed the victim’s face into the ground.

 The young woman suffered multiple injuries to her face, including broken teeth, a large, deep laceration near her eye that required stitches, a fractured nose and a swollen left eye. She also sustained multiple bruises and swelling to her body and head, and was also vomiting blood.

 District Attorney Clark thanked Detective Carolyn Tully of the Bronx Special Victims Squad for her assistance in the investigation.

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


With law taking effect today, the reach and impact of speed cameras has doubled, as hours and days of operation dramatically expand; DOT is installing hundreds of new cameras at an unprecedented pace, including along crash-prone East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx

  Mayor de Blasio announced today that New York City’s new speed camera law is now in effect.  To mark the first day of the expanded program, New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) officials were joined by advocates and elected officials at a new speed camera near P.S. 28 along East Tremont Avenue in the Mt. Hope section of the Bronx.  East Tremont Avenue is a Vision Zero Priority Corridor, which ranks in the top 10% of Bronx corridors for number of people killed or severely injured (KSI).  Despite the location’s crash history and proximity to a school, it had not previously qualified for a speed camera.

“This is a major step toward our goal of achieving Vision Zero,” said Mayor de Blasio.  “Speed cameras are an invaluable tool that help us save the lives of countless children every year.  We’re sending a message to all our motorists: drive at a safe speed or pay the price.” 

“There is no better place to kick off the new speed camera law than outside a school on a busy street like East Tremont Avenue,” said DOT Bronx Borough Commissioner Nivardo Lopez.  “East Tremont has seen far too many crashes, and at the same time, we know schools like PS 28 are busy throughout the summer -- and so having a camera that protects kids here year-round will be invaluable.   We once again thank the Mayor, the Governor and our legislators for getting us here today.”

“Speed cameras have proven to be an effective tool for reducing speeding and ensuring that drivers operate their vehicles at safe speeds, which in turn reduces the likelihood of collisions,” said NYPD Transportation Chief Thomas Chan. “The new speed camera on East Tremont Ave near PS 128 will therefore help increase the safety not only of students and teachers at the school, but of all road users as well. This expansion of the speed camera program is another step towards reaching our Vision Zero goals. I am grateful to the Mayor, Governor, our lawmakers in the City Council and in Albany, the Department of Transportation, and all our Vision Zero partners for bringing about this expansion.”   

“Nothing is more important than student safety, and the expansion of this effective tool means our kids and our schools are safer. This is a life-saving law for our schools and communities and I thank Mayor de Blasio and Albany leaders for their steadfast leadership on behalf of our students, staff and families,” said School Chancellor Richard A. Carranza.

In May, Mayor de Blasio had announced that over the next two years, DOT would rapidly scale up its speed-camera program, activating new school speed zones Citywide at a rate of about 40 per month through 2019, and 60 per month in 2020, expecting to reach each of the law’s maximum 750 school zones by June, 2020 (zones are permitted to have multiple cameras). 

A Stronger Speed Camera Law: Authorized by state law, school-zone speed cameras have been in operation in New York City since 2014, with data showing that speeding in zones with a camera declines by more than 60 percent, with over 80 percent of violators not receiving a second ticket. The new speed-camera law was passed by the state legislature in March and was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on May 12th. The new law taking effect today expands the maximum number of school zones from 140 to 750. Other major changes to the law include:

·         Doubling Speed Camera Hours: Speed cameras will now operate year-round on all weekdays between 6am until 10pm, including summer and school vacations. Previously, cameras’ hours were variable, and they could only operate during a given school’s active hours. DOT estimates that the law’s expansion today will double the overall number of hours when speed cameras can issue summonses.
 ·         Extending Camera Zones: Cameras’ maximum distance from schools was expanded to a ¼ mile radius from a school, rather than the previous restriction that the camera be no more than a ¼ mile of a school along an abutting street. This change to the law allows cameras to be installed near hundreds more schools, including today along East Tremont Avenue at the corner of PS 28. In coming months, new cameras will be installed on other high-crash corridors across the five boroughs.

Fines for speed-camera violations remain unchanged at $50, issued to those who exceed posted speed limits by more than 10 MPH.  The notices of liability are issued by DOT via mail to the owner of the vehicle – and are adjudicated at the New York City Department of Finance.

P.S. 28 and East Tremont Avenue:  Public School 28, the Mount Hope School, the site of today’s event, is active year-round; over the summer, the building is host to a breakfast/lunch program and summer school.  At the same time, East Tremont Avenue is a high-crash corridor known for speeding.  From Jerome Avenue to 3rd Avenue, East Tremont Avenue ranks among the top 10% of Bronx corridors for people killed or severely injured. From 2013-2017, this stretch has seen almost 500 traffic injuries, 34 of them serious. In September 2018, a cyclist was fatally struck on East Tremont Avenue at Bathgate Avenue, less than half a mile from the new speed camera.

Speeding remains the leading cause of fatal crashes in NYC.  Speeding drivers are often unable to brake in time to avoid crashes, and the speed of the driver in any given crash increases its severity. The speed limit along East Tremont Avenue is 25 MPH, which means that as of today, drivers will receive notices of liability for traveling at speeds of 36 MPH or higher.

Public Education Campaign:  Mayor de Blasio also announced in May that a public education campaign would alert New York City drivers of these major changes to the law.  On June 11th, DOT launched LinkNYC displays, ferry ads, billboards, and drive time radio announcements airing during traffic reports.  Digital ads, newspaper notices, and bulk mailings  began this week.  DOT also posted banners at municipal parking facilities. As it prepared for the rollout of the new speed camera law, DOT began a 30-day social media campaign and distributed an electronic communications kit with flyers, postcards, and other shareable content to help build awareness.

About Vision Zero: In 2014, New York City became the first City in the United States to implement Vision Zero.  Through a combination of enforcement, education and engineering, New York City made dramatic changes that have helped drive down fatalities for five consecutive years, bucking national trends.  To maintain progress, since the beginning of 2019, New York City has released a Vision Zero Year 5 Report, as well as a major update to its Pedestrian Safety Action Plans.  

For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see