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Queens Chronicle

Accusations fly at community council

Claims of discrimination against Polish witnesses made by resident

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Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:40 am, Thu May 8, 2014.

Monthly precinct community council meetings are normally calm and informative.

But a portion of Tuesday’s 104th Precinct Community Council gathering at Christ the King High School in Middle Village resembled the racist phone calls made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Taking questions from the audience of about 25 people, Capt. Christopher Manson, the precinct’s commanding officer, appeared to be steaming as Ridgewood resident Adam Gawronski accused his officers of discriminating against Polish people in regards to an assault earlier in the month.

Gawronski claimed that, after two Polish men were attacked by a group of around a dozen men, police refused to interview multiple female witnesses who were of Polish descent, instead hurling foul language at them and telling the women to “shut up.”

“Is it true that your officers responded to the scene … interviewed the attackers and the witnesses were not allowed to testify?” Gawronski said, with a sprinkling of his own swear words mixed in. “Do you have people in the precinct … who have a problem with us?”

Manson responded by saying arrests were made through good police work and the assault was investigated thoroughly, and he vehemently defended his officers from Gawronski’s claims.

“For some reason, you feel it’s important that you stand in a public forum and basically accuse my officers,” Manson said. “I’ve been in this precinct for 15 months and I’ve never seen one complaint come that said my officers said anything racial.”

In front of surprised audience members, the back-and-forth continued for a few minutes, with Gawronski claiming one of the victims went to the precinct the next day to make a complaint.

Manson tossed the notion aside, saying if that were true, “we would have taken them upstairs and showed them photos.”

When it comes to general crime throughout the precinct, the captain reported a 13.6 percent increase in crime over the last month and a 4 percent jump compared to this time last year.

“It’s not primarily due to crime being out of control,” Manson said. “It’s because for the first several months, we had a major crime decrease last year.”

There has been a notable increase in burglaries, car thefts and car break-ins, according to Manson, but he expects the 10 new police officers who will join the precinct next week will help bring those numbers down.

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