Along with the rise in popularity of Brooklyn Bridge Park has come an increase in crime in the park, but a pair of police officers from the 84th Precinct were honored on Tuesday for their part in helping stem that rising tide.
Officers Michael Chapman and Maged Ibrahim were honored by the 84th Precinct Community Council during its monthly meeting at the Brooklyn Law School on Tuesday after they arrested Lateef Odusanya, who was charged with robbery stemming from an incident in the park back in May.
“This happened at the end of August at around 5:30 in the evening,” Community Council President Leslie Lewis explained. “These officers were patrolling on Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park when they recognized an individual on the pier who was wanted for a robbery. When he recognized the two officers approaching him, he suddenly ran off the pier headed toward Furman Street.
“He was taken into custody without further incident,” Lewis continued. “He was arrested and charged with a robbery stemming from the theft of unattended property back in May of this year and two other robberies [that] occurred in the 78th Precinct earlier this year.”
Odusanya is currently in jail awaiting trial. The 84th Precinct’s Capt. Sergio Centa noted that even though Odusanya was arrested with only one charge connected to the pier, crime has dropped overall in the area since his arrest.
“We’ve only had one theft on the pier since then,” Centa said. “It’s only been three weeks, but we were taking thefts on that pier twice a week. I think we have the guy who was responsible for a lot of the crime that was occurring on that pier.”
K2 Rears its Ugly Head in Downtown Brooklyn
Capt. Centa also reported at the monthly meeting that he has seen a troubling rise in the availability of K2, or synthetic marijuana as the NYPD refers to it, within the 84th Precinct.
“K2 is more of a brand name,” Centa explained. “Synthetic marijuana is a synthetic cannabis that is created in labs that mimic the effects of the main ingredient of marijuana. It has been known to cause seizures, tremors, high blood pressure and violent behavior. It’s been associated with cases of what we call excited delirium syndrome.”
Centa explained that synthetic marijuana comes in both leaf and liquid form and is often sold in bodegas or at newsstands in colorful cartoonish looking packages. In the last two months the precinct has found it available in three newsstands, including one on Nevins Street just off of Flatbush Avenue.
Officers often find it while policing bodegas and small newsstands for untaxed cigarettes. Currently the punishment for selling or carrying synthetic marijuana is similar to that of regular marijuana, but Lewis noted that many precincts are working to find harsher penalties for the drug.
“Each precinct that I talk to about this, they’re talking to counsel, they’re working on a way to do something more serious about this,” Lewis said. “It’s hot stuff because parents are concerned about this.”
Community Affairs Officer Retiring
Anybody who has been to 84th Precinct Community Council meetings or been to events in the Downtown Brooklyn area are likely to have met community affairs officer Det. Fred Mitchell, but those days are coming to an end.
After more than 20 years working with the NYPD, Mitchell is expected to retire in February 2016. The community council will have a special meeting where it will give thanks to Det. Mitchell before his official retirement.
“A commanding officer in the precinct can’t work without his community affairs officers,” Centa said. “I can’t tell you how much these guys help me. Without them I’d be lost. I’m losing Freddy and it’s going to be a big loss. Whoever replaces him has big shoes to fill. It means a lot to me and I just want to thank him in front of the council tonight.”