Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Julius Graham, 43, Indicted For Stabbing Five People In Riverside Park South

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of Julius Graham, 43, for stabbing five people,  including an 18-month-old child,  in Riverside Park South on October 1st.


Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of JULIUS GRAHAM, 43, for stabbing five people in Riverside Park earlier this month. The defendant is charged in New York State Supreme Court with five counts each of Attempted Murder in the First Degree and Second Degrees, among other related charges.

“Julius Graham is accused of embarking on a stabbing rampage on a peaceful autumn morning when hundreds of New Yorkers were out enjoying a public park,” said District Attorney Vance. “He not only injured five people, including an 18-month-old child, but destroyed the sense of safety and respite that all New Yorkers have a right to feel in their city parks. Thanks to a heroic good Samaritan and the police officers who responded, more innocent bystanders were not hurt.”

According to the indictment and statements made on the record in court, at approximately 8 a.m. on October 1, 2013, GRAHAM attacked five strangers in Riverside Park near West 64th Street. Using two blades from a broken pair of scissors, GRAHAM randomly approached and stabbed five people in a matter of minutes. A bystander apprehended GRAHAM, and was able to hold him until NYPD officers arrived on the scene.

Assistant District Attorney Shanda Strain is handling the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kerry O’Connell, Chief of Trial Bureau 80, and Executive Assistant District Attorney Karen Friedman Agnifilo, Chief of the Trial Division. Assistant District Attorney Germaine Corprew assisted with the case.

District Attorney Vance thanked members of the NYPD’s 20th Precinct.
Defendant Information:

JULIUS GRAHAM, D.O.B. 9/10/1970 Bronx, NY

1 The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
  • Attempted Murder in the First Degree, a class A felony, five counts
  • Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, a class B felony, five counts
  • Assault in the First Degree, a class B felony, six counts
  • Attempted Assault in the First Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Assault in the Second Degree, a class D felony, two counts
    Additional news available at: www.manhattanda.com 

    Read More:

    A Walk In The Park - October 1, 2013 - By Geoffrey Croft

Friday, October 25, 2013

President Obama Lands In Prospect Park

Two Marine One helicopters (L) and a Marine Four copter on the baseball fields in Prospect Park this afternoon. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge. 


By Geoffrey Croft

All games were suspected today in the baseball fields in Prospect Park on account of the President of the United States.

Two Marine One helicopters - one carrying Barack Obama and the other a decoy - along with two other copters began ascending on the fields around 2:45pm this afternoon. 

Marine One touched down in the outfields of baseball field # 3 and # 4 kicking up large clouds of infield dirt and rattling tree branches.

Spectators strained to catch glimpses of the spectacle along the park's Long Meadow, pathways and through trees wrapped with blue police caution tape.

Marines in full dress uniform stood near the copters and Marine aviator personnel were also seen walking the grounds of the ball fields.

A contingent of emergency service personnel including NYPD ESU and FDNY were stationed near the landing area and along the park's drives.

A large contingent of unformed officers were spread out on the park grounds.

Visitors today found the park's drives closed to vehicle traffic but pedestrians were allowed inside with only the parameter around the ball fields closed off in a "frozen zone."

The West Drive near the ball fields were also closed for a short period of time. 

Earlier this week the Prospect Park Alliance announced on its website that the entire 585 acre park would be closed for six hours, however yesterday they clarified that saying only portions would be closed without providing addition information. 

The President was in Brooklyn to visit Pathways in Technology High School in Crown Heights. 

In the mid-1980s the future president lived a half a block from Prospect Park in a town house on Second Street in Park Slope after he graduated from Columbia.

Marine Three and Four parked on the baseball fields flanked by an NYPD ESU truck.

Spectators along the park's Long Meadow watch Marine One land.

Marine One lands in Prospect Park.

Spectators near the West Drive. 

Marine Four and Three. 

Marine Four 

FDNY standing by.

Marine Four. 

Marine One standing by.

Police guard the entrance to Prospect Park along Grand Army Plaza.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

DA Announces Indictment Of Jason Carroll, 23, For Sexually Assaulting 2-Year-Old Girl In Riverside Park Bathroom

Jason Carroll, 23 of West 56th Street,  has been indicted for sexually assaulting a 2-year-old girl in the bathroom at Neufeld Playground in Riverside Park near West 75th Street on September 24th.

A good Samaritan reportedly spotted him abusing the 2-year-old girl and alerted a Parks Department employee, who called the police.   Carroll was watching the child for a few minutes. During that time he  inappropriately touched the girl and exposed himself.

Carroll reportedly told police his sister usually babysat for the child but was not available on that day, according to WCBS 880.

The girl’s mother asked him to take the little girl to the park instead.  Carroll told police he’d been arrested once before for a similar incident with a child, but that he didn’t commit a sexual assault previously.  He has admitted to the sexual assault but has pleaded not guilty. 


District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of JASON CARROLL, 23, for sexually assaulting a 2-year-old girl in a bathroom stall in Riverside Park last month. The defendant is charged in New York State Supreme Court with two counts of Predatory Sexual Assault against a Child.

“This attack on a 2-year-old girl in one of New York City’s most heavily-trafficked parks was brought to the attention of law enforcement by two good Samaritans,” said District Attorney Vance. “New Yorkers must protect one another and alert authorities immediately when they see something suspicious, particularly involving a young child.”

According to the indictment and statements made on the record in court, on September 24, 2013, CARROLL sexually assaulted a 2-year-old girl left in his care in a bathroom stall located in Riverside Park near West 74th Street and the Hudson River Promenade. Two park goers witnessed suspicious behavior inside the bathroom and, along with other bystanders, called 911. NYPD officers responded and arrested the defendant.
Assistant District Attorney Robert Hettleman, Chief of the Child Abuse Unit, is handling the prosecution of this case with the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Caroline Rubens, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Audrey Moore, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau, and Executive Assistant District Attorney Karen Friedman-Agnifilo, Chief of the Trial Division.
District Attorney Vance thanked members of the NYPD’s 20th Precinct, including Officer Anthony Giambra.
Defendant Information:

JASON CARROLL, D.O.B. 6/25/1983
New York, NY


·       Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child, a class A felony, 2 counts

Read  More: 

Man Arrested For Sexually Assaulting Toddler In Riverside Park Playground Bathroom
A Walk In The Park -  September 25, 2013 - By Geoffrey Croft

WCBS 880 - October 24, 2013 -  By Irene Cornell 

Video Could Be Key In Trial Of Crip Charged In Deadly 2011 Brighton Beach Boardwalk Shootings

Iloune Driver, 19, of East NY, Brooklyn, was charged with shooting five people on the Brighton Beach Boardwalk last week, killing a young teenage girl and wounding the others. He is walked out of the 60th Precinct in Coney Island.
On June 9th, five people were shot on the Park Department's Brighton Beach Boardwalk including 16-year old East Harlem girl, Tysha Jones who was tragically killed. Iloune Driver, a 21-year-old Crip from East New York, Brooklyn, shown here being arrested, was charged and is on trial for second-degree murder for the shooting  that killed the innocent teenager and wounded four others.  (Photo: Todd Maisel/New York Daily News) 

Over the twelve weeks leading up to that incident there had been twelve shootings, including five deaths, and more than a dozen stabbings and muggings and numerous sexual assaults in parks. And since  January there had been more than 150 arrests on park land including 98 in Union Square Park alone and the Summer had yet to begin.

"Frankly, I think it's a shame for people to sort of gin it up and try to panic people into believing that parks are not safe," then Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe embarrassingly stated as the public once again called for more protection in parks. 

 "They're safer than they've ever been," he said.


A few seconds of video evidence may determine the courtroom fate of a gangbanger accused of spraying bullets over a jam-packed boardwalk in Brooklyn two years ago, killing an innocent teenage girl and wounding four others, according to the New York Daily News.

Iloune Driver, 21, whose trial for second-degree murder began Tuesday, fired at a rival in Brighton Beach on a sunny day in June 2011, fatally striking a bystander, Tysha Jones, 16, who was hanging out with friends, a prosecutor said.

Chaos ensued at the Brighton Beach Boardwalk when a fight erupted into a shooting.
Chaos ensued at the Brighton Beach Boardwalk when a fight erupted into a shooting.
(Photo: Patrick Q. Barr for NY Daily News)

 “All she was doing was going to the beach,” prosecutor Janet Gleeson said in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

“But those were the last moments of her life.” 

No weapons or ballistic evidence tie Driver — an avowed Crip who has the words “True Blue” tattooed across his chest — to the crime.   

Tysha Jones, 16, an innocent bystander, was killed in the boardwalk shooting. 

Tysha Jones, 16, an innocent bystander, was killed in the  Brighton Beach Boardwalk shooting on June 9, 2011.  (Photo: Michael Schwartz/New York Daily News)  

Gleeson said two witnesses identified Driver as the gunman. She said shots were fired as a group of Crips taunted a rival crew of Bloods.

“That’s what it was all about — gang stupidity,” Gleeson said. 

But defense lawyer Mario Romano argued that video of the shooting’s immediate aftermath refutes the witnesses’ statements that Driver was on the sand when he fired; the video, the lawyer said, shows Driver on the boardwalk a few seconds after the crowd begins to scramble for cover.

Romano said Driver was “running away from the mayhem, like everybody else.” 

Driver was apprehended by police as he entered the subway. He wasn’t initially charged, but named others as the assailants, Gleeson said. A witness called a police department tip line a few days later and identified him as the shooter.     

Read More:

New York Daily News -
 October 22, 2013 - 
Oren Yaniv 

A Walk In The Park - 
June 15, 2011 - By Geoffrey Croft

A Walk In The Park 
- June 13, 2011 

A Walk In The Park - June 10, 2011 

Officials Closing Prospect Park On Friday To Accommodate President Obama

Two U.S. Marine Corps choppers practice landing on baseball fields in Prospect Park on Tuesday in preparation for President Barack Obama's visit to a nearby high school on Friday.  The park will be closed on Friday, October 25 from 12 – 6pm due to security associated with the President's visit.  (Photos: Tom Prendergast)
Authorities are closing a 585-acre Brooklyn park for six hours on Friday for security associated with President Barack Obama's visit to a nearby high school, according to WNBC.
Obama is visiting the Pathways in Technology Early College High School on Friday that he mentioned in his State of the Union address earlier this year. 
The school is about 2 miles away from Prospect Park, where several helicopters landed on a ball field earlier in the week in a security drill.
The park, which has seven playgrounds, horse trails, a zoo, a carousel, a boathouse and 150 acres of woodlands, attracts more than 10 million visitors a year. 
It will be closed from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday.
The park was closed for a few days after Hurricane Sandy last year, but the city could not immediately say whether it had ever been shut down for an event unrelated to weather.
In his yearly address, the president praised the school, also known as P-Tech, as a model for preparing students for the 21st century economy,the school's website says.

Read More:

WNBC - October 23,  2013  

South Slope News - October 22, 2013 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Washington Sq. Park: Remembering Shirley Hayes & Conservancy Concerns

1935-07-17_Bird's eye view with fountain at center, Washington Square Park
An aerial view looking south in the summer of 1935 shows doubledecker buses using the park for a turnaround and kids using the fountain for a swimming pool.  In the early sixties then Co-district leaders Ed Koch and Carol Greitzer symbolically pushed the last bus out of the park, a victory for the community.  (Photo: NYC Parks Department) 


By Carol Greitzer

Well, we’re all getting older. But while some of us gripe with our peers about our ailments, the newest octogenarian, The Villager, keeps going, as sprightly and energetic as ever. 

For this article, The Villager asked me about cars parked in Washington Square Park. I don’t remember such parking, though, of course I do remember cars driving through the park, and Fifth Ave. double-decker buses using the park as a turnaround.
And I particularly remember the night (about 11:45, 1962 or ’63) when Ed Koch and I symbolically pushed the last bus out of the park. Perhaps The Villager has the photo in its archive. I can’t find it, though I know it exists. Getting the buses out of the park was probably the last chapter in the fight to keep the park closed to traffic — a fight whose many battles made the front pages of The Villlager quite often back then.
All of which leads me to set the record straight on one aspect of that fight. I’ve noticed lately that people — elected officials included — attribute the leadership to Jane Jacobs. Jane, of course, participated in that effort, as did most activists in the community. But though she was undoubtedly the leader in the fight to keep Robert Moses from designating (and ultimately bulldozing) part of the West Village as a Title I urban renewal area, and though she was the acknowledged leader and inspiration in the campaign to stop the Lower Manhattan Expressway (a.k.a. the Broome St. Expressway,) from being built, she was not the leader in the Washington Square fight. That title indisputably belongs to Shirley Hayes, a park mother who, with Edith Lyons, back in the ’50s organized other mothers and started the loud — and, yes, sometimes strident — protestations about the cars, the fumes, the dangers of allowing cars and buses in the middle of a heavily used park. Once this campaign began to steamroll and look as if it had a chance to succeed, several other people (mostly men) formed their own group so as to present a more “respectable” approach to city officials, in contrast to Shirley’s stridency, which was what aroused their interest in the first place!
My goal is to make sure Shirley’s role is not forgotten. She didn’t raise money; you won’t see her name inscribed on some piece of park furniture, but she did something of major impact. Without her leadership and persistence, Washington Square Park would not be the place it is today. At the very least, there should be a plaque recognizing her efforts, like the plaque on the fence at Jackson Square acknowledging the Armani contribution to improvements at that park.
In the end, many Village groups united in obtaining park improvements, as chronicled over the years in The Villager’s coverage of park news, right up to the recent Oct. 3, 2013, issue, which featured an article on the park’s new conservancy. Perhaps an authentic history of the park could be compiled from the clips of these 80 years of your coverage. Or would you rather hold out for 100 years?
In reflecting on these past events it occurs to me that we’ve evolved, but not necessarily for the better. Back then, with three distinct political forces — an active Republican club, Carmine DeSapio’s Tamawa Club and the emerging Village Independent Democrats — we managed to get together, albeit heatedly, on community issues. Now, there are four women, well-intentioned though they may be, who appear to be in charge of the park, working officially with a park employee.
A major problem with conservancies is that there are no ground rules. Conservancies pop up suddenly, but with some connection to the Parks Department commissioner; they are said not to be really in charge — yet they have a status denied to other park users. There are hundreds, even thousands of people who feel passionately about this park, but now are confused about their role and the conservancy role. If there’s a problem, who does one go to? The conservancy? The community board? The Parks Department? Our elected officials?
It doesn’t have to be this way. Other cities enjoy a closer relationship between the public and park managers. Many cities have monthly meetings where people can tell park officials how they feel. Baltimore has a public advisory council; Minneapolis has direct election of park commissioners; Chicago is currently querying citizens as to what they like and don’t like about their parks and how they want park funds to be spent. Chicago, incidentally, pays for parks in a unique way, one we might learn from. There is a Chicago Park District, an independent taxing authority that raises money exclusively for parks. Chicago is said to spend more per capita on parks than any other city in this country. New York City, by contrast, spends less than one half of 1 percent of the budget on parks, even while acquiring more acreage to manage.
Bill de Blasio, who seems likely to become our next mayor, has said that he wants to empower individuals and to involve communities. The Villager can celebrate the start of its ninth decade by asking our next mayor whether he might implement these and similar ideas to give all park users more of a say about their parks.
So happy birthday! Let’s blow out the candles and make a wish.
Greitzer was a New York City councilmember from 1969-91, representing the Village and other Downtown areas. Prior to that she was the Village’s Democratic district co-leader with Ed Koch. 

Read More:

We won the battle for the square,  but now are we at risk of losing it again?
The Villager - October 17,  2013 - By Carol Greitzer 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Body Found Hanging In Markham Playground On S.I.

A body of a 52-year-old, Hispanic male was found hanging from a rope attached to a chain-link fence on a baseball field backstop this morning at 7:20 a.m. in Markham Playground on Staten Island.  The playground is adjacent to Markham Intermediate School  Graniteville school while police investigated the scene. (Photo: Irving Silverstein/Staten Island Advance)

Staten Island

Police have not yet released the identity of the victim found hanging from a fence in a playground adjacent to Markham Intermediate School in Graniteville early Thursday morning, an NYPD spokesman said, according to the Staten Island Advance.

An investigation is ongoing and the city medical examiner's office is determining the cause of death, the spokesman said. 

Police described the victim as a 52-year-old, Hispanic male.

Students were rushed into the school by the principal and several deans after the gruesome discovery was made in Markham Playground.

"The school is not closed for the day," said a spokeswoman for the city Department of Education. 

"We are providing counseling services at the school."

Brianna Fischer, a 12-year-old seventh-grader, said the day started like every other morning: She walked into playground, where students typically hang out before classes.
But what she found was anything but normal.

"I went around the block and I heard a group of kids screaming and shouting to call 911," said Brianna. "I looked up at the fence and there was [someone] hanging."

Brianna said she was brought to a guidance counselor's office, along with other students who saw the body before it was covered with a drape and removed by police.

Her father, Shawn, said he was called by the guidance counselor.

"None of the kids were allowed out without their parents," he said. 

One mother of a Markham student said students were using their cell phones -- or borrowing cell phones from friends or teachers -- to call their parents.
She said the students were not sent to their classrooms, but were instead spli
t between the auditorium and the gym, where there are no windows.

The body was hanging from a rope that was attached to a chain-link fence, which serves as the backstop behind home plate, according a witness account.

Streets around the school were closed during the morning to both cars and pedestrians.

Read More:

 Cops working to identify victim found hanging from fence in Staten Island playground
Staten Island Advance  - October  17, 2013 - By Stephanie Slepian and James Yates

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Central Park: David Mitchell Sentenced To 30 Years For Raping 73-Year-Old Birdwatcher - Called Sexual Terrorist

"Attacks on vulnerable victims in public places terrify all New Yorkers, who have the right to feel safe in our city’s parks.”  -  District Attorney Cy Vance

David Albert Mitchell was sentenced to 30 years in prison Wednesday for the rape of a 73-year-old woman in Central Park. (Credit: CBS 2)
The victim, a 74-year-old birdwatcher, called David Albert Mitchell, 43, a “sexual terrorist” as he was sentenced today to 30 years in prison.


A New York City woman had harsh words Wednesday for the rapist who victimized her while she was watching birds in Central Park, according to the Associated Press/WCBS.
The woman, 74, called David Albert Mitchell, 43, a “S” as he was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison.
She described the Sept 12, 2012 attack and injuries that included a damaged jaw. She told Mitchell, “May you rot in hell for all eternity.”
Mitchell, who hails from West Virginia and has a long criminal record, pleaded guilty on Oct. 1 to raping and robbing the woman last year.
According to his guilty plea, Mitchell approached the woman in Central Park, grabbed her from behind and forcefully hit her head on the ground. After assaulting and raping the woman, Mitchell fled with her camera bag.

David Mitchell being lead away in shackles after being apprehended by the police. Mitchell, 43, pleaded guilty to raping an elderly birdwatcher in Central Park near Strawberry Fields on September 12th in 2012.  He was arrested shortly after in connection with the sexual assault and the groping of two others in Central Park.  A grand jury charged him with rape, robbery, assault, weapon possession, forcible touching, and other charges.   Mitchell will be back in court on October 16th for sentencing.  (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)

The victim immediately reported the attack and her injuries to the police.
According to the Mitchell’s guilty plea, three weeks earlier on Aug. 20, 2012, Mitchell argued with a man in Central Park and pulled a knife on him. He was not injured.
The sentence includes being charged with but not convicted of sexually assaulting two women over age 70. He also went to prison in the abduction of an ex-girlfriend.
“This lengthy prison sentence ensures that David Mitchell, a sexual predator, will spend decades in prison and off our streets,” said District Attorney Cy Vance.
 “Attacks on vulnerable victims in public places terrify all New Yorkers, who have the right to feel safe in our city’s parks.”

The crime scene  in Central Park near Strawberry Fields on September 12, 2012.  (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)

As she faced the ex-convict who raped her in Central Park, a 74-year-old woman condemned him Wednesday with composed anger, calling him a "sexual terrorist" and an "evil infestation," according to the Associated Press. 

"You, David Albert Mitchell, for the pain you inflicted on me and, by association, my loving family and friends, may you rot in hell for all eternity," she said during his sentencing to 30 years in prison for attacking her as she watched birds in September 2012 — a week after authorities say he noticed her using a camera to document his lewd behavior.
Mitchell, who had previously been charged with sexually attacking other women over age 70, pleaded guilty this month to rape and robbery. His sentenced was settled then.
While the plea deal prevents her from having to testify about her ordeal at a trial, she made plain Wednesday that she wanted Mitchell to hear about it from her before the case was closed.
"Make no mistake: This is a sexual terrorist," the woman said, urging a judge "to do the right thing so that nobody else is every hurt or menaced by this evil infestation."
While the woman, 73 at the time, pursued her favorite pastime, Mitchell pounced on her from behind, slammed her to the ground and threatened to cut her throat when she screamed, scratched at him and tried to poke his eyes out, she said.
"I stopped fighting. I figured I was a goner," she recalled.
Mitchell raped her twice, told her to stay prone and count to 100 while he left with her camera bag, and admonished her to stay put when she looked up early, she said. The attack left her with injuries including a broken finger, a smashed tooth and a damaged jaw.
Roughly a week before, the birdwatcher had photographed Mitchell in a lewd moment, and he had confronted her, the Manhattan district attorney's office said.
Mitchell and his attorneys declined to speak at his sentencing, where he showed little reaction as his victim spoke.
The Associated Press generally does not identify sexual assault victims unless they come forward publicly.
Mitchell comes from tiny Jenkinjones, W.Va., where he was charged at age 18 with raping and killing an 86-year-old woman. Acquitted in that case, he was then charged with raping a woman in her 70s; the sexual assault charge was dropped as Mitchell pleaded guilty to other charges, his attorney at the time has said.
Later, Mitchell was suspected but never charged in the death of a 54-year-old woman. He served prison time in other cases, including the abduction of his ex-girlfriend. When he was released in 2011, some Jenkinjones residents bought guns to protect themselves from him.
His New York arrest, plus a convicted sex offender's arrest in a rape in another Manhattan park about two weeks later, led local officials to call for tougher penalties for sex offenders.

Read More:

74-year-old NYC woman to her rapist: 'Rot in hell' 
Associated Press - October 16, 2013 - By Jennifer Peltz  

WCBS -  October 16, 2013

A Walk In the Park - October 3,  2013

David Mitchell - Alleged Rapist Of 73-Year-Old Central Park
Bird Watcher - Pleads Not Guilty
A Walk In The Park - October 9, 2012

A Walk In The Park - September 13, 2012 

A Walk In The Park - September 12, 2012