Page 3 - Queens Times Edition #12
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THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2023                                   THE QUEENS TIMES                                                            PAGE 3

            Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar’s                                                     33 Reputed Gang Members

          Statement on Fatal Shooting at Illegal                                                   Indicted on Murder, Gun

                  Smoke Shop in Richmond Hill                                                              Violence Charges

                                          The robbery that ended in a fatal  robbery, which now cost one man   (Continued from page 2)  Officer of the Queens County
                                     shooting this week at Plug Smoke  his life in my district.                              District Attorney’s Squad under
                                     Shop in Richmond Hill is a wakeup       These shops must close now.  miller,  Sergeant  Jeff Liu and  the supervision of Deputy Chief
                                     call for the need to shutter illegal  Warnings, fines or permission to  Lieutenant Jonathon Zocchia of  Jerry O’Sullivan Commanding
                                     smoke shops. Each of our city’s  keep operating pending a hearing  the New York Police Depart-  Officer of Detective Borough
                                     estimated 1,400 illegal smoke shops  are not going to stop these tragic  ment’s Violence Reduction Task  Queens South and the overall
                                     is a powder keg for criminal activity,  incidents. We must force the shops  Force, under the supervision of  supervision of New York City
                                     putting all of us at risk. When they  to cease operations, the same as  Captain Ryan Gillis and Deputy  Police Department Chief of De-
                                     are not being robbed, these shops  our city would force a restaurant  Chief Jason Savino, Command-  tectives James W. Essig.
                                     are selling illegal cannabis products,  to close for health code violations.  ing Officer of the NYPD’s Gun       Assistant District Attorney
                                     some marketed to children and  I applaud Mayor Eric Adams for  Violence Suppression Division;  Barry Frankenstein, Deputy
                                     some containing fentanyl or deadly  his ongoing work to shutter these  Detectives Carlos Segovia and  Chief of the District Attorney’s
                                     contaminants. Of note, there was  shops, and as a state representative  Daniel Sjoberg of the New York  Violent Criminal Enterprise Bu-
                                     another fatal shooting last month at  I will push for the resources and  Police Department’s Queens  reau along with Assistant District
                                     a smoke shop in Harlem. The cash  expanded enforcement powers the  South Violent Crime Squad, un-  Attorneys Diana Schioppi and
                                     and drugs filling these shops create  Mayor, the NYPD, and the Sheriff’s  der the supervision of Sergeant  Charles Dunn are prosecuting
                                     an irresistible two-for-one combo  Office need to close these shops  Matthew Lewis and Captain  the case under the supervision
                                     for anyone looking to commit a  once and for all.          Robert D’Andrea; as well as De-  of Assistant District Attorneys
                                                                                                tectives James Richardson and  Jonathan Sennett, Bureau Chief,
                                                                                                Christopher Cruzado, under the  Michelle E. Goldstein, Senior
         Senator Gillibrand, Representative Meng &  supervision of Lieutenant Sean  Deputy Chief and Phillip An-
          Advocates Lead Call For Action to Address                                             Finnegan, Commanding Officer  derson, Deputy Chief, and under
                                                                                                of the 113 Detective Squad; and  the overall supervision of Senior
                The Underreporting of Hate Crimes                                               Det. Nicholas Sofokles, under  Executive Assistant District At-
                                                                                                the supervision of Lieutenant  torney for Investigations Gerard
                                                                                                William Negus, Commanding  A. Brave.
        Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and  compliance with NIBRS will help  ing, to metastasize threatening not   Consumer Alert: AG James Reminds
        Representative Grace Meng call  capture accurate and timely crime  only the Jewish community but
        on the Department of Justice to  data that both local and federal law  the fabric of our democracy,”   Veterans and Servicemembers to File
        provide an overview of National  enforcement agencies can use to  said Elana Broitman, Senior Vice   Claims to Receive Refunds From
        Incident-Based Reporting System  evaluate and identify solutions to  President, Public Affairs, Jewish   Harris Jewelry Settlement
        compliance by law enforcement  mitigate further hate crimes and  Federations of North America.
        agencies throughout the nation  incidents.                 “We believe government has        New York Attorney General       Harris Jewelry used decep-
                                          “Keeping up-to-date data for  a critical role to play which is   Letitia James today issued an  tive marketing tactics to lure
             U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand  these incidents is imperative for  why Jewish Federations applaud   alert reminding servicemembers  active-duty servicemembers to
        and U.S. Representative Grace  law enforcement agencies to be  Senator Gillibrand and Congress-  and veterans to file claims to  their financing program, falsely
        Meng (D-Queens) were joined by  able to do the work needed to com-  woman Meng for leading this call   receive refunds  from  the  Har-  claiming that investing in this
        community leaders in calling for  bat hate crimes,” said U.S. Senator  for action, and have supported   ris Jewelry settlement before  program would improve service-
        the Department of Justice (DOJ)  Kirsten Gillibrand. “While we  the passage of the Jabara-Heyer   the April 15th deadline. In July  members’ credit scores. Instead,
        to look into the compliance of law  commend the steps local law en-  No Hate Act, advocate for annual   2022, Attorney General James  servicemembers were tricked into
        enforcement agencies with the  forcement and the Department of  NO HATE appropriations, and are   and the Federal Trade Com-  obtaining high-interest loans on
        national system to report data on  Justice have taken in responding  working every day with local law   mission (FTC) recovered $34.2  overpriced, poor-quality jewelry
        hate crimes.                 to such incidents, reporting, col-  enforcement across the country to   million for servicemembers and  that saddled them with thousands
             Senator Gillibrand and Rep-  lecting and maintaining the most  accurately identify, prevent, and   veterans who were scammed by  of dollars of debt and worsened
        resentative Meng led their col-  accurate data available is crucial  respond to antisemitism - espe-  the jewelry retailer. The agree-  their credit. Attorney General
        leagues, Representatives Don  in evaluating and responding to  cially against individuals who are   ment required Harris Jewelry to  James and FTC co-led an 18-state
        Beyer (D-VA), Dan Goldman  hate-related crimes as well as  more visibly Jewish and likely to   provide more than $12 million  agreement that requires Harris
        (D-NY), Ritchie Torres (D-NY),  keeping our neighborhoods safe  be harmed.”             in refunds for more than 46,000  Jewelry to refund tens of thou-
        Nydia  Velázquez (D-NY), and  from such reprehensible attacks.       “Anti-Asian hate is widespread   servicemembers who paid for  sands of servicemembers for
        Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), in  Hate has no place in New York  and bias crimes continue to impact   lifetime protection plans. Eligible  warranties they were tricked into
        sending a bipartisan letter to the  and it takes everyone, working  all marginalized communities   servicemembers and veterans  purchasing, stop collecting mil-
        Department of Justice (DOJ)  together, to defeat it.”      at alarming levels. It has always   should file a claim online for a  lions of dollars of debt, correct
        requesting an overview of the       “There is no place for hate in  been difficult for victims to come   refund before April 15.  bad credit scores, and dissolve
        status of National Incident-Based  New York or anywhere in our  forward and report what has hap-       “I encourage active-duty ser-  all its businesses.
        Reporting System (NIBRS) com-  country, and to help combat hate  pened to them,” said Asian Ameri-  vicemembers and veterans who       Through the agreement, Harris
        pliance among law enforcement  crimes, we need accurate and  can Federation Executive Director   were misled by Harris Jewelry to  Jewelry has stopped collecting
        agencies across the country. The  updated data to help law enforce-  Jo-Ann Yoo. “What shouldn’t be   apply for a refund from our settle-  $21,307,229 in outstanding debt
        letter also requests recommenda-  ment keep our communities safe  difficult for our communities is   ment,” said Attorney General  held by 13,426 servicemem-
        tions to increase participation in  from these despicable and heinous  getting accurate insights when our   James. “This is an opportunity for  bers. The agreement required
        order to ensure the accuracy of  acts,” said Congresswoman Grace  community members do report on   servicemembers and veterans to  the jewelry retailer to provide
        future federal hate crimes data.  Meng. “We look forward to re-  what has happened to them. We’re   get the justice they deserve after  $12,872,493 in refunds to 46,204
             The Federal Bureau of Investi-  ceiving answers from the Justice  grateful for Senator Gillibrand’s   being defrauded. Our military  servicemembers who paid for
        gation’s (FBI) 2021 Hate Crimes  Department to better understand  and Congresswoman Meng’s   members put our protection above  lifetime protection plans. Eligible
        Statistics  report, originally  re-  the status of law enforcement  leadership in inquiring on this   their own and my office will  individuals can file a claim online
        leased late last year, found that a  agencies transitioning to NIBRS,  matter and look forward to bet-  continue to protect them from  on  Harris  Jewelry’s  website  to
        significant number of law enforce-  and I thank Senator Gillibrand for  ter compliance when it comes to   predatory businesses.”  obtain a refund.
        ment agencies had failed to report  partnering with me on this crucial  reporting on the hatred impacting
        hate crimes through the FBI’s  effort to better protect people from  our community.”
        NIBRS data collection system,  bias crimes.”                    “The Asian American Founda-
        resulting in unreliable data and       “Senator Gillibrand, Congress-  tion (TAAF) joins Sen. Gillibrand
        artificially low numbers of hate  woman Meng and members of  and Rep. Meng in calling for accu-
        incidents as compared to previous  New York’s Congressional delega-  rate data collection of hate crime
        years. 2021 was the first year that  tion are advancing crucial work to  incidents,” said Norman Chen,
        the FBI fully transitioned from  confront hate crimes and the fear  CEO of The Asian American
        its original reporting mechanism,  they cause in our communities,”  Foundation. “These issues have
        the Summary Reporting System  said Karol V. Mason, president  been decades long and we fear
        (SRS), to NIBRS. While SRS  of John Jay College of Criminal  that without immediate action, we
        allowed agencies to aggregate  Justice. “Their efforts will ensure  will continue to have incomplete
        totals of several categories of  that our researchers, practitioners  data. Without the full picture, we
        crime, NIBRS captures greater  and the public have a vital tool  cannot build effective strategies
        specificity and context about  -- accurate and robust data -- to in-  to protect our communities from
        each individual crime, including  form solutions, including victims’  future hate crimes. Impacted com-
        victim and offender demograph-  services, that support safety for  munities need to see full participa-
        ics, location and timing,  and  all the residents of a community.”  tion by law-enforcement agencies
        information on separate offenses       “We cannot allow antisemitism,  with the National Incident-Based
        within the crime incident. Bring-  a pernicious hatred based on con-
        ing law enforcement agencies into  spiracy theory and fear monger-  (Continued on page 10)
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