Mine is a second generation love affair with Bed-Stuy. As a toddler I can still remember the thrill of receiving my first library card at the Macon Branch BPL. Now I help create memories as a gardener, tree steward and volunteer throughout the community.
My garden boasts a hand-built mailbox née bulletin board with changing quotes. One neighbor calls me the “Shakespeare Lady,” because sayings from the Bard appear regularly. It was constructed by my beloved and recently deceased carpenter, Mr. William Williams. The community I am a part of in Bed-Stuy is important to me.
Maybe this is why I cannot grasp why I was refused assistance when I went to the 79th Precinct seeking help. It began with my broken water heater and diminished to the contractor sabotaging the work in an attempt to get me to take out a major home loan. In addition, he exhibited delusional behavior and made sexual advances.
Two weeks later, work still incomplete, I decided to take the tools he refused to move from my home to the 79th Precinct. When the officer on duty refused my simple request — to allow me to call the contractor and wait for him to come pick-up his tools, I was stunned! She insisted that I file a report (leading to the contractor’s arrest) ignoring my fears, after hearing him speak of being “glotched,” which I assumed referred to a gun. When I asked what else I might do she said, “Change your phone number.”
Annoyed and frustrated I left the tools at the Precinct and informed the contractor. Ten minutes later he left a message saying the Precinct knew nothing about me ever coming there or his tools. Not only had the Precinct refused to help me, they further endangered my safety with their lie.
Googling 11216, I contacted every elected official listed. Help from the mayor’s office was a 14-day wait, Stringer’s office only deals with money, the public advocate said it was a legal matter and could not help, 311 said to call 911, the borough president’s office said they would get back to me, the DA’s email bounced back, while City Councilmember Robert Cornegy’s office and Community Board 3 have yet to respond.
The next day there was a written message in my door from the contractor stating he would return. Desperate, I posted on Twitter in threads about dirty cops, Shortly after my tweets, I received a call from the public advocate’s office. They said I must call 911. So, feeling like I was making a crank call, I did as directed.
“Hello, this is not an emergency; 311 and the public advocate’s officer directed me to call.”
Ten minutes later, three officers from the 79th Precinct were at my home. There were no pleasantries, nor anything said to put me at ease. They stated there was nothing they could do to help because I refused to make a report. One officer stated, “We just can’t run up on him and light him up because you said he was threatening you!”
Thinking of Sandra Bland, I allowed Spirit to take over. Calmly, I stated that I wanted peace and unity in my community, not to have anyone “lit up!” Continuing, I stated the saddest part of this ordeal was being refused help because I wanted to resolve the issue without an arrest, and not make it a legal matter for the courts. Rhetorically, I asked why the police did not attempt to help until violence occurred?
Then, I did what I initially wanted to do: I called the contractor. Letting him know I was in the presence of three police officers, he agreed never to come to my home again. Two stressful days of telephone calls, emails, 311 requests and one 911 call later, I was finally supported by my local precinct. The response from the Mayor’s office on which I still await… is why?
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