New York City
New York City's Administation for Children’s Services left 4-year-old Myls Dobson in the custody of his father, Okee Wade, even though he was serving five months in jail.
Dobson was found dead and beaten while in the care of his father’s girlfriend, Kryzie King last week.
Wade, 37, was awarded full custody of Dobson in Aug. 2012, when the boy was three. The next month Wade was arrested on fraud charges.
City officials admitted Friday that the Administration for Children’s Services, which should have monitored the Dobson’s placement for a year, failed to consult with his father’s parole officer, as ordered by a judge.
Despite making nine visits to Wade’s Brooklyn apartment, the ACS says it never realized Wade was in jail. Wade’s girlfriend at the time, Addy Holmes, reportedly told caseworkers that Wade was “at work" when they visited.
“Every time we went to visit, we were told the father was working very long hours, 16 hours a day, and that’s why he wasn’t available,” ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrion said.
Carrion said caseworkers are not required to meet with a parent.
“Should we have done something differently? Yes,” she said.
When Wade was arrested on Dec. 19, he left his son in the care of 27-year-old Kryzie King.
On Jan. 8, Dobson was found dead in a bathtub.
The 4-year-old was beaten, starved, burned and tortured. King was charged with first-degree assault and first-degree reckless endangerment.
“It’s very, very painful to know that this child went through such agony. That a child was lost,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has launched an investigation into the handling of the boy’s case. He plans to announced a series of reforms to ACS to ensure another child can’t slip through the cracks.
More than 100 people were reported to federal authorities after submitting similar Social Security Disability claims citing “stress-related” illnesses.
The majority of the claims came from retired New York City cops and firefighters, according to the New York Daily News.
The Social Security Administration grew suspicious when it kept seeing the same diagnoses on claims stating the applicant was mentally or emotionally unfit to work.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office is expecting to announce arrests stemming from the scam next week.
Some of the beneficiaries are receiving 9/11 pensions, sources told the Daily News.
At least two doctors and other medical professionals could also face charges. Sources say that for each “patient” they helped scam the social security system they would collect a kickback.
Federal authorities initially refused to launch a full-scale investigation. The district attorney’s office looked into the claims and found at least one of the scammers still had a gun permit despite his mental health diagnosis.
Retired NYPD can’t possess a firearm if they are being treated for stress-related or mental health problems.
The Internal Affairs Bureau of the NYPD joined the investigation and discovered other retired cops scamming the system.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed a new police commissioner, William Bratton, on Wednesday. The 66-year-old Bratton has promised to reform the NYPD in the wake of the controversial federal ruling on stop-and-frisk.
The mayor referred to Bratton as a "progressive crime-fighter."
Most shoppers at Macy's flagship store in Manhattan do not know there is a black Santa Claus, because he can only be found with the help of the store's employees.
Amy K. Smith of AnimalNewYork.com recently went on a trek inside the store to find the black Santa, who is also referred to as the "special Santa."
Smith went through the Santaland exhibit in the store for the white Santa, but when it came to finding the black Kris Kringle, it took extra work (video below).
According to Smith, "Macy’s doesn’t reveal black Santa’s location the way they do the white Santa. It’s not advertised in any newspapers or even on their website in very small print next to an asterisk. Inside the dizzying Santaland maze, the walls are adorned with traditional (white) Christmas scenes... There is zero evidence the black Santa even exists."
When Smith asked the white Santa if there was a special Santa, the white Kris Kringle stated, "Well that’s me. I’m the special Santa, the everyday Santa, the good-looking Santa, the ugly Santa... to everybody.”
Smith asked an elf to help her find the “special” Santa, but he had to go find a woman not dressed as an elf who guided Smith through a maze of corridors to the black Santa who was greeting a black girl and her mother.
Moments after Smith met the black Santa, she says an "older white man in a suit stepped into the room. He said we needed to go through Macy’s publicity department in order to shoot video, and then he followed us out the door of Santaland until we arrived at the photo processing center."
The New York Daily News contacted Macy’s publicity department, which refused acknowledge the existence of a black Santa Claus.
“It is not Macy’s policy to have Santa speak about race or religion,” said Elina Kazan, Macy's VP of media relations.
Employees at Macy's Santaland said that shoppers have to tell an elf that they'd like to see the "special Santa."
A publicist for New York City firm IAC, the parent company of OkCupid, CollegeHumor, and Vimeo, found herself in hot water Friday, when she tweeted an off-color joke and ignited an epic backlash.
Just before getting on a plane Friday morning, Justine Sacco tweeted: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
When she arrived at her destination, she realized the tweet sparked so much controversy that the hashtag “#HasJustineLandedYet” was trending for a large portion of the day.
Her Twitter account has since been taken down.
IAC released a statement distancing itself from Sacco.
"This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC,” the company said. “Unfortunately, the employee in question is unreachable on an international flight, but this is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action.”
The inflight Internet provider Gogo even riffed on the incident.
“Next time you plan to tweet something stupid before you take off, make sure you are getting on a @Gogo flight! CC: @JustineSacco,” Gogo tweeted.
“I bet the Duck Dynasty guy could use a PR rep if @Justine Sacco needs a new job,” tweeted one man.
A self-professed lover of comedians like Louis CK, Lena Dunham, and Rob Delaney, this isn’t the first time she’s tweeted something controversial, On The Media reported.
In February 2012, she tweeted, “Someone get the rape kit ready for Tom Brady. Go Giants! #SuperBowl.”
Weeks later she wrote, “I had a sex dream about an autistic kid last night. #fml”
Comedian Patton Oswalt tweeted at her Friday, “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for @JustineSacco." -- Phil Robertson in MIRACLE AT QUEERDUCK CREEK (1943)”
Someone bought the domain name justinesacco.com redirected it to the organization Aid for Africa.
“To the person who bought justinesacco.com and redirected it to Aid for Africa... Well played. #HasJustineLandedYet,” tweeted one man.
Ralph Mercado reportedly fell in front of a subway train in New York City, but saved his life by laying down in a trench between the tracks.
After the subway rolled over him (and into Union Square), Mercado was hospitalized with only a bruised left hand on Saturday, noted Gawker.com.
A video shot from inside the subway train was posted to YouTube by user "Suzannah Artist" aka witness Suzannah Troy.
Mercado, 55, told police that he jumped on the tracks to save a woman, but witnesses didn't see anyone else. They claim Mercado was the one who fell.
“I heard screaming," Troy told the New York Post. "He was reaching out to the people reaching out to help him, but there wasn’t enough time to grab him. He went back to the middle. His head turned looking at the train. [Then] he’s right under the train! He’s right here!”
Mercado is currently being held at Bellevue Hospital for a psychological evaluation.
Sources: New York Post and Gawker.com
A bizarre brawl broke out in New York City on Saturday night between several Santas who slugged each other near Union Square.
The Santas were reportedly participating in a SantaCon event, in which Santas hit the bars in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
"We're looking into it," NYPD spokesman Sgt. Lee Jones told the New York Daily News. "We don't have any reported assaults right now. We know about it."
The fight included eight men dressed as Santa Claus at the corner of 17th St. and Third Ave (video below).
Many residents have complained about drunken Santas vomiting and fighting during SantaCon over the past few years.
According to USA Today, the NYPD asked local bars not to serve any of the Santas from SantaCon this year.
The NYC Santa Con website advised the Santas to behave: "Santa respects the city. Santa doesn’t piss on the streets, start fights, block streets, climb on cars, or deface property... Santa stays safe. Santa does not drink more than Santa can handle. Doing so endangers Santa’s self, Santa’s friends, and the future of Santacon."
Twenty-four Domino’s Pizza employees in New York City claim they were fired from their delivery jobs after they complained to management that they receive far below minimum wage as tipped servers.
Workers at a Washington Height’s Domino’s say they participated in the fast food worker’s walkout last Thursday in solidarity with other underpaid workers across the country.
The delivery drivers make $6 an hour, although minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, because they also receive tips when they make deliveries. Tipped workers in NYC can be paid as little as $5 an hour. However, the drivers say they do other work for many hours for which they don’t earn tips.
The group plans to protest outside the store on 181st Street until they get their jobs back. On Sunday, the protesters were joined by city council member Ydanis Rodriguez and New York State Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa.
“Standing w/ workers on 181 this morning to get their jobs back after they were fired 4 standing up for their families,” tweeted Rodriguez on Sunday afternoon.
“Having all these workers fired, not able to bring the food to their families, in part of a season when we are supposed to be able to give thanks and share with others, is really outrageous,” said Rosa.
“The national fast food strikes have brought the industry’s systemic mistreatment of its workers into the national spotlight, and we will continue to build momentum, continue to organize, until every employee receives the living wage of $15 wage that he or she deserves,” she added.
A Domino’s spokesperson told ThinkProgress, “we can’t confirm any of the allegations” because the store is run by an independent franchisee.
The Department of Labor found Domino’s franchises guilty of violating labor law in the past by forcing employees who work on tips to perform non-tipped tasks, according to ThinkProgress. Some franchises also forced workers to buy their uniforms and go without overtime pay.
This New York City Public School Teacher Lost His Job Because Police Thought His Cigarette Had Marijuana In It
In the summer of 2013, marijuana was decriminalized throughout the state of New York, making possession of less than 2 ounces punishable only by a fine of up to $100. This was enacted after years of harsh criminalization of the drug throughout the state.
An ACLU report earlier in the year had found that there were “more marijuana possession arrests in NY than in any other state,” an arrest record that was also unfairly skewed towards targeting minorities.
In 2011, the marijuana laws throughout the state of New York were not quite so lenient and one man, former New York City public school art teacher Alberto Willmore, became a face behind the aforementioned startling statistics.
In a new video posted by Buzzfeed, Willmore documents his story. The man was smoking a cigarette off school property two years ago when a police officer approached him and accused him of smoking marijuana. Although Willmore had flicked his cigarette into the street and therefore the officer had no proof of his marijuana use, his arrest led to his subsequent suspension and ultimate dismissal from the school. Because Willmore was employed by a state agency and faced an arrest due to drug use, he is now barred from participating in New York’s Department of Education.
The video documents Willmore’s former students and neighbors, who swear by his dedication to his art as well as his role as an educator. The video also explains the process involved with New York City’s controversial stop-and-frisk laws, which allow officers to search individuals which the police department deems suspicious, even if they have no criminal record or any reason to suspect that they may be participating in criminal activity. Critics of stop-and-frisk claim that it disproportionately targets minority individuals.
According to the Huffington Post, “more people are arrested for possession than any other crime” in New York City, and “85 percent of those arrested are black or latino.” Much of this criminalization has to do with the Bloomberg administration’s stronghold over the city throughout the past several years, a position of governmental control that is scheduled to switch over to the anti-stop and frisk mayor-elect Bill de Blasio at the beginning of next year. De Blasio is expected to be a much more liberal leader than Bloomberg, although it has yet to be determined how his policies regarding marijuana use are to play out.
A Jewish group in New York City is requesting that participants involved in current cases of the “knockout game” be taken into custody, and is offering a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of people who play the game.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, a group that coordinates activities among numerous Jewish organizations in the city, is willing to pay a bounty of $5,000 to anybody who can help local police stop the spread of assaults, which have made headlines across the country recently.
The game, which consists of attacking innocent bystanders and trying to knock them out with a single punch, has been reported in different cities like New York -- where most of the victims have been Jewish.
The group is now “offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators of ‘knockout’ attacks,” David Pollock, Director of Government Relations & Security at the JCRC, told The Jerusalem Post.
The organization has reached out to the New York Police Department, which has also increased patrols in neighborhoods where assaults have been reported.
“The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is also addressing school students in Brooklyn neighborhoods that hate crimes are not a joke that perpetrators of hate crimes could end up ruining their lives,” Pollock said.
Eli Leidner, a 26-year-old hasidic man, was walking in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood when a woman hit him for no reason.
“Two people came at me and the woman hit the front of my face like this. They just laughed afterwards and ran away, they didn’t say any words,” Leidner told the Daily Mail after the attack.
According to RT.com, officials in Brooklyn, N.Y., announced earlier this week that they would give a separate award of $1,500 for any information on those involved in the knockout game. In addition, Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield says that the NYPD is planning to install new security cameras in his borough to better prevent crime.
Skateboarder Koki jumped the subway tracks at the 145th Street stop in New York City back in March as part of a documentary film "Tengu: God of Mischief" by director Colin Read.
"We waited till about 5 a.m. to get this trick, but it was worth it," Read wrote on his blog. "I wasn't sure Koki was going to do it when we went down, but after a few run ups he landed it first try."
In a trailer (video below) for the film, Koki actually falls while trying to do the jump at the 24 second mark, notes Gothamist.com.
It should be noted that Koki was jumping toward the electrified third rail, making the attempt life-threatening and highly illegal.
"People online have been saying he should've come from the other side, so he wasn't going toward the third rail, but it would have been impossible," photographer Allen Ying told New York Magazine. "We had scouted the subway pretty well. This spot is probably the only one where that was doable."