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Brooklyn pols speak out against racial disparity in murder cases

Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams speaks at a press conference about the racial disparity in allocating resources to unsolved murder cases. At right is Public Advocate Letitia James. Photo courtesy of Councilman Williams’ Office

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Brooklyn politicians held a press conference last week to bring awareness to and discuss solutions regarding amount of unsolved murder cases in Brooklyn and New York’s other outer boroughs.

A report by the New York Daily News revealed that outer-borough homicide cases have received less staffing and resources than those cases in precincts throughout Manhattan. Brooklyn leads the unfortunate way in understaffed homicide cases.

According to the report, the three outer-borough neighborhoods with the highest number of open cases, according to reports, are East Flatbush, Crown Heights North and East New York. Last year there were 77 open murder investigations in Brooklyn — Manhattan only had 15.

Despite having a higher number of open murder cases, Brooklyn North’s homicide division — by way of example —has five cases per detective, while Manhattan South’s ratio is one case per detective. The Daily News report also factored in race, stating that roughly 86 percent of homicides involving a white victim have been solved, compared to 45 percent involving a black victim and 56 percent involving a Hispanic victim. The races of 34 victims are unknown.

At a press conference held at New York’s City Hall, Council Members Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn) and Daneek Miller (D-Queens) and Public Advocate Letitia James were joined by some victims of gun violence to speak out against the information contained in the Daily News report.

"There are many of us who have pointed out these disparities, there are many who have routinely said that there is a feeling that Black and Latino lives are not viewed the same and given as much weight as other lives across the city,” Williams said Thursday.

James commented that “[a]lthough we recognize the strides that the NYPD has made in decreasing crime throughout the city, the disproportionate number of unsolved homicides in outer-borough precincts is deeply disturbing. It is evident to me that precincts in the outer boroughs need additional officers assigned to homicide,” James continued.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams also joined the conference, addressing the issue as specific to Brooklyn. “It's clear the previous administration put value on real estate, not New Yorkers in need,” Adams stated. “I believe that Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner [William] Bratton will address these inequities head-on in the weeks and months ahead. It is my hope that the clearance rate in Brooklyn precincts will rise as a result, bringing criminals to justice and providing families and loved ones with much-needed closure."

Donna Rayside, who lost her son, Dustin Yeates, on May 27, 2013, in Brooklyn, spoke about the personal effect the disparity has in the real world, as opposed to the theoretical. "[My son] was just 31 years of age and had dreams of become a law enforcement officer,” she said. “Finding my son's killer and bringing him to justice would be much more a reality if more resources are allocated to doing just that."

January 13, 2014 - 8:30am


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