Following the July 17 death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner while he was resisting arrest for allegedly selling single cigarettes, an already-existing campaign to dissuade police from enforcing the law on some minor crimes and violations picked up steam. Enforcement of such laws, what is known as the broken windows theory approach to policing, is one target of the protest led by the Rev. Al Sharpton that is set to take place on Staten Island Saturday.
According to activists such as Sharpton, as well as some elected officials including three members of Congress who represent parts of Queens, broken windows policing has an unfair impact on minority communities, such as the one where Garner, who was black, died.
Leroy Gadsden, left, receives his award from NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks.
Leroy Gadsden, president of the Jamaica Branch of the NAACP, was honored by the organization’s national leadership last month at its 105th annual convention in Las Vegas.
Gadsden received the Benjamin Lawson Hooks Keeper of the Flame Award for leadership and service. Hooks was a lawyer, minister, businessman and civil rights advocate who served as executive director the NAACP from 1977 to 1992.
Roslin Spigner, center, helped kick off an NAACP initiative to sign up residents of Southeast Queens for New York State of Health, the state clearinghouse for insurance coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act. Also on hand were state Sen. Malcolm Smith, second from left, Congressman Gregory Meeks, NAACP Jamaica Branch President Leroy Gadsden, behind Spigner, Assemblyman Bill Scarborough and Carolyn Phillips of the NAACP.
Obamacare is the term used by both the president’s supporters and critics when discussing his signature legislative initiative, the federal Affordable Care Act.
And with the March 31 deadline for those without health insurance to apply without paying a penalty, the Jamaica Branch of the NAACP is pulling out all stops in its effort to get residents of Southeast Queens to sign up.
NYPD Commissioner William Bratton was quoted recently in published reports as saying that the city’s stop and frisk problem has been solved, given the dramatic drop-off in the number of stops in 2013.
The numbers do appear to bear Bratton out — the NYPD reported 194,000 stops citywide in 2013, down from about 533,000 in 2012 and more than 694,000 in 2011 — but local leaders who called for changes to the NYPD’s procedure told the Chronicle that they still are taking a wait-and-see approach.
The NAACP and law enforcement have had some high-profile differences in New York City in recent months.
But with the New York State Police force offering a test in October as it does every four years for men and women looking for careers in law enforcement, the state and the Jamaica Branch of the NAACP are teaming up to encourage minority participation.
Leroy Gadsden, left, president of the Jamaica Branch of the NAACP, and Trooper Herrera of the New York State Police announce a joint minority recruitment effort outside the branch’s Linden Boulevard offices in St. Albans.
Residents and officials from Southeast Queens appear to be through asking the city for action to alleviate flooding from groundwater levels that have been rising since the mid-1990s.
Now they are demanding it.
Ken Cohen, president of the NAACP Queens Northeast Branch, called for an end to the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy during a rally in Flushing on Monday evening. Leroy Gadsden, president of the Jamaica Branch, center left, also condemned the practice.
The rally held in Flushing on Monday evening was billed by local chapters of the NAACP as a generic call for an end to the police practice of stop and frisk, and to the alleged use of racial profiling and excessive force.
But Ken Cohen, president of the NAACP Northeast Branch in Queens, acknowledged that the location and the timing — a street corner about 20 feet from where Robert Jackson has accused multiple NYPD officers of beating him on Jan. 8, and three days after a tense standoff between Southeast Queens residents and officers from the 113th Precinct — were not accidental.
They have gone through years of damaged homes, destroyed possessions and tens of thousands of dollars in costs that may never be recoverable.
Now there’s a Category 5 storm brewing up in Southeast Queens, and both elected officials and residents in and around Jamaica vow that the Department of Environmental Protection has placed itself squarely in its path for landfall on March 22.
In his acceptance speech in November, President Obama asked the country for its support in his second term.
And members of the Queens community, with the assistance of the Jamaica Branch of the NAACP, were happy to oblige him on Monday.
This past weekend we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln on Sept. 22, 1862, which took effect the following Jan. 1, known to millions as the day that freed the slaves of the South.
But as we commemorate that mark in history, many African American leaders in Queens want people to know that the fight for equality between white and black is far from over. While there is much to celebrate, there remains much to still hope for.
The race for the 10th Senatorial District keeps getting uglier with campaign materials that make reference to lynchings, fried chicken and a jolly lawmaker who is more like Santa Claus than a man with a cause.
City Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) is taking on embattled state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) in today’s Sept. 13 Democratic primary. She was recently indicted on corruption charges, stemming from an allegedly bogus nonprofit group that she funded with taxpayer money.
There is no shortage of events in Southeast Queens to decry gun violence — rallies, marches, meetings, safety events, gun buybacks — but the shootings continue. Some community leaders insist these programs serve a purpose, while others are at a loss for what else they can do.
The latest such event was held Sunday in Jamaica, and its aim was to promote “unity in the community.” Among those in attendance was Leroy Gadsden, president of the Jamaica NAACP.
After much public outcry from residents and elected officials, the police commissioner and the Queens borough president are sponsoring a gun buyback event on Saturday, June 23. All weapons must be operable and no questions will be asked.
Those who turn in a handgun will receive a $200 bank card and those dropping off a rifle or shotgun will get a $20 card. The weapons should be brought to St. Benedict the Moor Church at 171-17 110 Ave. in Jamaica from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
It’s been 20 years since the police officers involved in the beating of motorist Rodney King were acquitted, sparking the Los Angeles riots. Although the violence did not spread to New York City, which was relatively quiet at the time, it still raises questions about whether the relationship between the police and minority communities has improved and whether a similar scenario could be repeated.
If you ask Police Commissioner Ray Kelly whether he thinks police-community relations have improved, and the Chronicle did when he came to the office for an interview June 7, his answer was that they are better than ever.
Ads promoting Arizona Iced Tea have raised questions in the Queens community over whether they are offensive to women because of their dual meaning.
The signs proclaim “I love big cans,” with a picture of the tall drink. But “cans” is also slang for breasts, or, in its singular form can refer to a person’s behind. The ads can be found in downtown Jamaica and other parts of the borough.
Rain and cold weather couldn’t deter the hundreds of people participating in the “March for Justice” on Saturday morning in St. Albans.
The event was organized by Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and the Commission on Social Action to protest fatal gun violence that has taken the lives of black men including Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell and most recently Trayvon Martin.
Queens leaders are demanding justice for the family and the memory of Trayvon Martin, unarmed 17-year-old black Florida high school student who was shot to death last month by a volunteer community watchman while walking through a suburb at night.
The gunman, George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old who is half latino, has since gone into hiding and has not been charged.
Rita Frazier, left, her husband, Ray Normandeau, and Jamaica’s NAACP president, Leroy Gadsden, are among Queens’ social activists who are relating the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida to racial profiling by the NYPD.
As legislators were poised to pass redrawn lines for Assembly and state Senate districts on Wednesday, as this paper was going to press, Queens elected officials and civic leaders were urging Gov. Cuomo to do what he has been threatening for months — veto the lines many argue split apart communities and were gerrymandered to favor incumbents on both sides of the political aisle.
“All along we stood by the governor and said, ‘Veto these lines because of the process,’” state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) said. “He said he’d veto them, and now we hear that he might not because of this compromise with redistricting reform that would take place 10 years from now. I’m voting no — not because of the lines, but for the process that created the lines.”
Leroy Gadsden, president of the NAACP’s Jamaica chapter, and other civil rights and civic leaders protested the lines proposed for new Assembly and state Senate districts.
The group of state legislators that drew the proposed district lines for the Assembly and Senate should be exiled to New Jersey after creating areas resembling Rorschach ink blots that split apart communities and dilute minority voters’ power — or, at the very least, be sent back to the drawing board — irate residents and legislators said at a hearing in Queens this week.
Hundreds of people packed a room at Queens Borough Hall on Tuesday for a hearing held by the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment, often referred to as LATFOR.