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LeFrak forum tackles NYPD officer tactics

Crime is lower, but residents of LeFrak City still shared complaints of police harassment and skepticism of the NYPD as Police Commissioner Ray Kelly joined elected officials at a forum in Corona Monday night.

Speaking at the event organized by City Councilwoman Helen Sears (D−Jackson Heights) and U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D−Bayside) at St. Paul the Apostle Church, Kelly said the department was shaken by the fatal shooting in the Bronx last week of an off−duty officer by a plainclothes cop and assured the mostly black community that the case was being investigated.

“The Internal Affairs Bureau is working with the district attorney and this information will be presented to a grand jury,” he said.

As they continued to receive questions from the crowd of roughly 50 about why a white officer shot a black officer, Sears urged her constituents to take the Civilian Police Academy course offered by the police department.

“After three hours a week for a month, you’ll come away with a whole different perspective,” she said.

Kelly also praised the work of police in the 110th Precinct, where major index crimes are down 15 percent so far this year without any significant personnel increase.

“Their headcount has certainly not gone up,” he said.

But some residents of the neighborhood complained about their experiences with police, claiming they were subjected to unnecessary stop−and−frisks. Kelly advised one woman to submit what she claimed was videotape footage of officers harassing residents to the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

When confronted with questions from Elmhurst resident Lucy Schilaro regarding the future of the aging, dilapidated 110th Precinct station house, Kelly said he had no objections to placing it in Flushing Meadows Corona Park as then−Councilman Hiram Monserrate suggested last year.

“We know that we need a new 110th Precinct, no question about it,” Kelly said, but noted that the city continues to postpone funding for the project.

Residents also heard from Capt. Richard Dee of the Queens gangs unit, who said the investigation continues into the double murder of two young men on 56th Avenue in Corona last month, but noted that gang violence in the 110th was down 57 percent overall for the year.

Still, Dee warned, 15 percent of all reported gang incidents in Queens occur in Corona.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

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