Monday night’s meeting of the 113th Precinct Community Council started the way it typically does.
There were welcoming remarks by council members to the several dozen residents who attended the meeting at the Baisley Boulevard stationhouse.
Deputy Inspector Miltiadis Marmara, commanding officer of the precinct, went over the monthly and annual crime statistics, with promising trends, particularly with shootings and other gun crimes.
And not quite midway through, Marmara and the council did, as planned and promised, address the huge white elephant standing in the room — the arrests on April 5 of a suspected drug dealer and his brother that culminated in a march of about 50 people from the Baisley Park housing project to the precinct.
Marmara said it began in a somewhat routine but always dangerous way.
“One of my sergeants saw a drug transaction,” he said.
He explained that as the sergeant and an other officer approached the vehicle occupied by Corey Crichlow, 33, of Jamaica, Crichlow allegedly swallowed containers of crack cocaine, and began to struggle with officers as they attempted to remove him from the car.
“Then the suspect’s brother came running over from a nearby basketball court, and the officers called for backup,” he said.
Both Crichlow and and his brother, Raynard Fields, 27, also of Jamaica were arrested as officers were pelted with rocks, bottles and debris.
He said a group of about 50 youths — some known to the precinct from prior arrests — began walking from the site on Foch Boulevard to the 113th on Baisley Boulevard.
“They were overturning garbage cans, going into stores;” he said. “One woman had them get up on her car as she was driving. We knew they were coming and we met them with riot gear.”
No further incidents were reported and no further arrests were made.
Civil rights leaders in Jamaica visited the area the next day and attended a rally in Flushing the following week calling for more oversight of the police.
Marmara assured the audience that if anyone in the community remains concerned about the April 5 incident or any in the past or future, that the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies have existing checks in place.
“If there is a complaint, we have Internal Affairs; we have the Civilian Complaint Review Board,” he said. “Complaints are always thoroughly investigated and always will be.”
Resident Dymita Taylor, who first raised the issue at the council meeting, said she was satisfied for now with the response to the April 5 incident.
But she still feels there has to be more positive interaction between the NYPD and local youth — particularly those who are considered at risk — before they get into trouble with long-term consequences.
“I can’t even tell you all that should be done,” she said. “But I think we have to do something for our youth.
Marmara, though not privy to Taylor’s remarks, nevertheless agreed with them. He said they are always looking to receive input from community leaders to do just that.
“The $1 million question is how do we move on? Where do we go from here?” he asked.
He said the department and the precinct have programs such as the Police Athletic League, which offers sports and multiple other activities.
The precinct is expecting to begin a computer training program where local youths will receive training from NYPD personnel in sophisticated skills, such as web page design.
“Where do we go from here?” he asked.
But he also did not hesitate to defend his officers for doing their jobs, saying those who are arrested are arrested for valid reasons.
“We don’t fight crime by arresting good kids on their way to the library,” he said.