Shooting at Clinton Hill cleaners raises complaints of ‘drug-prone corner’

The Brooklyn Paper
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Police are after a gunman who shot up a dry cleaners on Grand Avenue near Clifton Place on Thursday.

The barrage of bullets kicked off after a customer got into an argument with an employee of the Clean Society Cleaner at 2:30 pm, officers said. The customer whipped out a firearm and let off multiple shots at the 56-year-old worker, grazing him once on the neck, police said.

The victim was taken to Brooklyn Hospital Center where he was listed in stable condition.

The shooter, described as standing 5-feet-10 and weighing 155-pounds, got away, according to police. He was wearing a black skullcap, blue jeans, and a blue shirt, cops said.

Law enforcement officials claimed the shooting was not drug related, but neighbors and the local police precinct said the immediate area is a hotbed of illicit transactions.

“The corner there is a drug-prone corner,” said a spokeswoman from the 88th Precinct. “We’ve had reports that it’s a shady joint,” she said about the cleaners.

She added that Public Advocate Letitia James, who lives close by, has complained about it.

“She’s said, ‘You should look into that place,’ ” the spokeswoman said of James.

District Attorney Ken Thompson also resides in the neighborhood.

Neighbors and nearby businesses complain that drug sales are a constant occurrence in and around the store.

“It’s picturesque and quiet except for the small band of people that are hanging out on Grand and Clifton at all hours selling drugs in the open,” said a neighbor who asked that his name not be used for fear of reprisals.

The neighbor said he saw officers carrying cash and drugs out of the business in clear plastic bags, but police would not confirm that a drug investigation was under way or that any contraband was confiscated.

The drug activity has long gone on under the noses of police, and the pols who walk the same blocks, and the shooting should spur them to action, the neighbor said.

“The police are aware, the [politicians] who live in the community are aware, and the 88th Precinct is aware. Now Ken Thompson is aware,” he said. “I just don’t see anything being done. But, it’s blatantly taking place as we speak.”

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John from Bay Ridge says:
Spike Lee and the anti-gentrification crowd will point to the complaints about the drug sale activity as another example of the gentrifiers failing to respect local culture.
April 25, 2014, 2:48 pm
Epiphany from Ex- Brooklyn says:
Yeah, but who knows, one of those "illicit" transactors in that area could be turn out to be the next Jay Z, Brooklyn's favorite business, man. And he only sold crack, not heroin to neighborhood kids (but you'd have to ask him yourself). Heck, he shot up his own brother over "illicit transactions," but later became part owner of the Nets. So don't worry, Brooklyn, that's how you raise your heroes!
April 25, 2014, 2:57 pm
jay from nyc says:
well apparently our joke of a D.A. is not going to enforce the drug laws so I expect people need to just get used to this kind of thing at least until the next election when they can vote the guy out.
April 25, 2014, 5:56 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
This is exactly where i used to live back in the early 90s. Its used to be pretty bugged out back then but still it was home to me once upon that time. Lots of good times as a kid on that block.
April 25, 2014, 6:29 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
I know damn well some of the very same people complaining about the dealers over there are most likely customers also lol. What are they really gonna do, put up a camera?? Guess what, they'll STILL be on that corner no matter what. Surveillance cameras are absolutely useless. It may scare them off at 1st, but they'll eventually come back around & it'll be business as usual.
April 25, 2014, 6:34 pm
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
^^^^^i remember this cleaner fellow. If you don't mind my chiming in, perhaps he doesn't deserve to be shot at with a gun. Maybe a hard game of checkers would have been sufficient?
April 25, 2014, 10:56 pm
Resident from South Slope says:
Heroin dealing in the south slope has been an issue for years, particularly for the long-time residents who have been subjected to the junkie culture dealers help create. Gentrification here has finally started to tip the balance in favor of the homeowners, and the cops have systematically busted many of the dealers. However, there are still junkies lurking about, remnants of the bad old days, like Joey the 45ish heroin addict who hangs out around 16th St. Anyone who defends this 'culture' as 'authentic' is delusional, and doesn't appreciate the damage a professional heroin dealer can do to a neighborhood. Both the long-time residents and newcomers want these people gone.
April 26, 2014, 9:46 am
jay from nyc says:
I wish we were like some countries that execute drug offenders, they don't have these kinds of problems in those countries, because it actually works.
April 26, 2014, 9:59 am
bkmanhatman from nubrooklyn says:
Time to get these thugs outta here! There should be patrols like its Kabul & Baghdad. Turn our DA & Public Advocate's neighborhood into a green zone
April 26, 2014, 6:41 pm
enough is enough from C HILL says:
It is time for the police to do their job. This corner has been a problem for a very long time. It has been OBVIOUS for a very long time.

April 26, 2014, 8:49 pm
Joe from CH says:
It's not just the corner. It's more complex. Those who hang out there are associated with a nearby drug house that was in business long before Clean Society even opened, with gunfire at that location as well. None of this is a big secret, and the 88th has been aware of the situation for years.
April 26, 2014, 9:33 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
Believe me, the 88th isnt gonna do anything. The projects are right across the street from the precinct & all types of stiff goes down over there so i don think they're worried about 1 corner.
April 27, 2014, 12:20 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
did you ever think that maybe he wasn't shot over drugs, but over the fact that he didn't pick up his dog's poop on the sidewalk?
April 28, 2014, 2:26 pm
Mark from Cinton Hill says:
And yet this block continues to stay the same, drug dealing everyday on the corner, fights and tonight two people being shot When will the 88th precinct crack down on this corner or are their pockets getting lined? Nothing has changed when the Laundry Matt guy got shot. What will change it?
July 26, 2015, 12:35 am

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