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Column: Brooklyn’s J’Ouvert could be a recipe for bloodshed

for Brooklyn Paper
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Unfortunately, more shootings, injuries, and death are virtually guaranteed at the annual J’Ouvert festival in Crown Heights on Sept. 2.

Some will accuse me of fear-mongering, but I pledge to publicly say in this column next month that I was wrong if all is peaceful. If I am right, Mayor de Blasio and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez should similarly pledge to admit their policies had a lot to do with the violence and finally reverse course on them.

J’Ouvert now begins at 6 a.m., prior to the beginning of the West Indian Parade along Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. The parade is an outstanding celebration of Caribbean culture.

Let’s review the recent history of J’Ouvert — which translates daybreak in French. In 2015, Carey Gabay, an aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was killed during a shootout between rival gangs.

The following year, Mayor de Blasio assured us that the festival would be “safer than ever.” However, two people were shot dead — 17 year-old Tyreke Borel was struck in the chest with a bullet as he innocently sat on a bench and soon died at Kings County Hospital, and Tiarah Poyau, a promising 22 year-old St. John’s student who was the daughter of a Trinidad cop, was also killed.

Despite the presence of 3,000 police officers, the violence still occurred because the Mayor has handcuffed the police with his policies for the sake of “police-community relations.” His continued anti-cop rhetoric has made it crystal clear that he does not, and will not have their backs in a crisis. Therefore, not surprisingly, police are hesitant to act.

Remember “the talk” he announced that he had to have with his son about being fearful of our police shortly after his first election. If you forgot, Mayor de Blasio just reminded the nation of it a few weeks ago on the Democratic Presidential debate stage to prove his progressive bona fides in his quixotic White House bid.

At the 2016 J’Ouvert, alcohol was openly consumed and gangs took over the streets when they realized cops were ordered to act as scarecrows. Stop, question, and frisk – fuggedaboutit!

Curtis Sliwa — founder of the Guardian Angels, who was there during the mayhem — said gangs of 40-50 were told by their generals to put their “Flags Up,” which covered their faces, a clear violation of the law.

Specifically, New York Penal law 240.35 prohibits groups from “being masked…in a public place with other persons so masked or disguised.”

Arguments and fighting to settle old disputes among gangs broke out while cops were told to stand down instead of enforcing laws that could have avoided tragedy. Soon, shots soon rang out and lives were lost.

Can you imagine police officers sitting on their hands like this under Bloomberg or Giuliani? Do you think cops would have sheepishly walked away when buckets of water were dumped on them? This is the sad reality of law enforcement under Bill de Blasio and this new progressive movement.

In 2017, one man was shot and suffered serious injuries; last year, three more were wounded by gunfire during the festivities.

In addition to no longer fearing searches by cops, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez’s “reforms” have also emboldened some to carry guns. His go-soft on crime policies, including agreeing to lenient plea agreements for those carrying, were called out by the NYPD this month.

During the July crime briefing, Chief Terence Monahan, the department’s highest ranking officer, put the blame squarely on Gonzalez for the increase in shootings in northern Brooklyn.

“Our police officers are out there takings guns off the streets… we are still seeing pleas that result in little or no jail time,” Monahan said.

Many DA’s have seemed to forget that their job is to enforce the law and protect law-abiding New Yorkers — not act as a second defense attorney for criminals.

The effect of the de Blasio and Gonzalez policies are being felt. Shootings in northern Brooklyn are on the rise. In the 77th Precinct — which covers Crown Heights where J’Ouvert is held — shootings are up a whopping 87.5 percent this year compared to the same period last year as of Aug. 3. This is not good news for this year’s J’Ouvert.

Gonzalez’s policy to put many gun toting criminals into “diversion programs” rather than prison should not surprise us. He told us in March when he unveiled his “Justice 2020” initiative that “non-jail resolutions would be sought at every juncture of a case,” except “most often” in murder and rape cases.

With the violent recent history of J’Ouvert, police being legitimately afraid to lift a finger, the trending increase of shootings in the area, and a DA’s reluctance to fully prosecute those carrying guns a recipe for bloodshed looms.

Bob Capano has worked for Brooklyn Republican and Democrat elected officials.

Posted 7:56 am, August 17, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble Hill says:
This just in: White guy from Bay Ridge with an Italian last name for some reason thinks that J’Ouvert is gonna be totally dangerous all the time because... obvious reasons. Wonder if he holds the same opinion of St. Patty's Day or Santacon.
Aug. 17, 8:53 am
Barry from Flatbush says:
You had me at Curtis Sliwa.
Aug. 17, 9:47 am
Bob from Bay ridge says:
Jim Last I checked people weren't shot and killed every year at St. Patty's Day or Santa Com
Aug. 17, 10:25 am
Tyler from pps says:
No, just violent brawling with Emergency Rooms full of red and green.
Aug. 17, 10:43 am
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Don't forget the rape and sexual assault.
Aug. 17, 10:46 am
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
Here is another example of mob rule in this city. We have a group of people that emigrated here from one of the most corrupt, violent islands in the Caribbean for our safety and freedom and instead of embracing our way of life, no, they cry discrimination and freedom of speech because the city of objects to them demonstrating the very same things that drove them to this country to begin with.
Aug. 17, 8:11 pm
Jeff from Prospect Heights says:
JFC. You have a short memory and do zero research. https://www.foxnews.com/us/31-people-shot-in-48-hours-in-new-york-city-mayor-calls-violence-unconscionable
Aug. 17, 10:45 pm
David from Bay Ridge says:
Bob from Gerritsen Beach, your post almost makes this article seem level headed (almost).
Aug. 17, 10:48 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
I stopped reading when I saw "Fox News" Not a big fan of poorly written repetitive fiction.
Aug. 18, 8:44 am
Tyler from pps says:
Bob not in Gerritsen Beach -- Have we thanked you lately for moving to Florida? Brooklyn still has a lot of problems, but it's a little better since you left.
Aug. 18, 10:40 am
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
David from Bay Ridge I have many friends who are retired police officers who worked many years in that area also some have children still on the force that also work in that area and they told me enough stories to fill a book and how they were forced to keep quiet to maintain "peace" in that community. Illegal Dollar vans are the least but is a blatant indication of how the city looks the other way. Tyler from pps I have over seven decades of history in Brooklyn and it will always be my home and I will be up there in a few weeks to visit friends and relatives that are still left in the city. If you'd be kind enough to tell me which garbage pale you live in I'll take the time to look you up and said hello.
Aug. 18, 1:18 pm
Slamdonkwa Jones says:
To all the above commenters who don’t seem to think black on black violence doesn’t matter - you’re racist! Why do you insist that crime only matters if a white person is involved?
Aug. 19, 8:27 am
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
Slamdonkwa Jones, that's a good question Jones, why do you think why people don't care? Also, how do you feel about white on white crime? Which is usually white collar crime. I was born in Brooklyn in 1943 and I was raising my family in the 70s and 80s while the crack epidemic was in full force. For over 20 years we were averaging over 2,000 murders a year approximately 5 a day. Mostly black on black crime but plenty of whites was sucked into it also. Speaking for myself it's not so much that I don't care it's more that I become immune to this tragic behavior.
Aug. 19, 9:13 am
John Q from Bay ridge says:
Thank you Bob Capano for once again having the courage to say things others wont for fear of being politically incorrect & thank you Brooklyn Paper for allowing opposing points of view to be published, which unfortunately almost unheard of these days
Aug. 19, 11:15 am
Tyler from pps says:
Oh, yes, John Q. Bob Capano is so courageous. It's truly a sight to behold. Does he also have the courage to say Merry Christmas? I how I hope so. Where would we be without heroes like Bob Capano?
Aug. 19, 3:28 pm
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
Tyler from pps.........SAD
Aug. 19, 3:38 pm
John Q from Bay ridge says:
Tyler You are right. Capano is the only common sense Columnist in brooklyn! Kudos to the brooklyn paper
Aug. 19, 4:59 pm
Non racist and slim says:
This guy is a fat greasy racist scumbag. End of story!
Aug. 19, 7:42 pm
Benny from Park Slope says:
I'm a lifelong liberal Dem (like my decorated WWII vet dad) and proud of it. But I despise de Blasio, and would love to see cops actually allowed to police this chaotic joke of a "celebration," so that the 95 percent of the community who are decent, wonderful NYers can enjoy the day. What f$%& is the matter with that 5 percent who ruin it for everyone? And why doesn't the community stand up and take out the trash?
Aug. 26, 2:37 pm
Jay from Bay Ridge says:
This is overtly racist and ignorant. It diminishes Brooklyn Paper and insults its readers. Capano swipes at two favorite targets, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, for the terrible violence happening between Capano's ears. Time for Brooklyn Paper to cancel Capano.
Aug. 27, 9:44 am
Joe from Dyker says:
Jay from Bay Ridge Let's suspend judgment on the column until Sept 3 to see what happens.. If Capanobis correct, your comment is worthless
Aug. 31, 1:50 pm
Marty G from Bay Ridge says:
John Q from Bay Ridge, you're a dang fool. Get back to cleaning out my office.
Aug. 31, 10:17 pm
Marty G from Bay Ridge says:
#CancelCapano
Aug. 31, 10:18 pm
Leo from Bay Ridge says:
Liberalism is a mental disorder.
Sept. 1, 2:07 am
Dan H from Bay Ridge says:
To quote the top of the article: "Unfortunately, more shootings, injuries, and death are virtually guaranteed at the annual J’Ouvert festival in Crown Heights on Sept. 2." It's September 2nd. No shootings, no injuries, no death. This article used J'Ouvert as an excuse to dramatize an otherwise poorly researched, poorly thought out article about gun violence. Perhaps Mr. Capano could have, y'know, reached out to the NYPD for comment on their security measures this year, but that'd have been too much to ask before guaranteeing blood in the streets. Looking forward to the apology article he promises in the first paragraph.
Sept. 2, 9 pm

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