2000-04-29 / Columnists

From The G-Man...by Gary Toms

From The G-Man

Poor Construction In ‘Brickman’ Case

Hey people! There was an article in the New York Post this week about the man who was arrested for the brick assault on Texas native Nicole Barrett. If the facts stated in the article are accurate, Paris Drake, who was facing a 75-year sentence, will be yet another innocent man who was the victim of poor police work, overzealous police and prosecutors anxious to make a case.

It is because of incidents like this one that the public is continuing to lose confidence in the New York City Police Department. While there are many good and upstanding police officers within the department, their credibility suffers because of these embarrassing situations. For every jackass that deserves to be arrested, there are those who do not belong in jail for any reason at all, and this circumstance supports my statement.

Over the years, many people have been released from prison because of appeals that determined there was a lack of evidence for conviction, or some of the tactics used by law enforcement officials, and prosecutors, proved to be unlawful. The mess with the Los Angeles Police Department is a prime example. Still, in other cases, the use of DNA samples were crucial in overturning convictions of men falsely accused of rape. For some men, it took many, many years before they were finally vindicated.

The incident with Paris Drake illustrates two major facts about the justice system in this country. Checking all of the facts, proper communication between police brass, and prosecutors, and appropriate follow up procedures are often overlooked in order to obtain a conviction. The cases are there to prove this. Moreover, there are many innocent people in prison serving life sentences who will never be as fortunate as Paris Drake was. In his case, it was a police official that came forward to validate his alibi. Can you imagine how many people are suffering because evidence was not introduced at the trial or because people who knew the truth never came forward? It happens, and it almost happened to Drake.

There are people who are probably wondering why Drake never made these claims when he was arrested. How do you know he didn’t? He may have, but remember folks; the goal is to come up with a suspect and a motive. Drake had a criminal past, and he was alleged to have been a crack addict. If he was anywhere near the location of the attack, he’s one of those likely to be picked up. If you really want to be honest about it, what are the chances that police and prosecutors are going to believe an alleged crackhead anyway?

The other thing to consider is the timing of this story. If the NYPD knew that Drake had a solid alibi, at the time of his arrest, why didn’t they release him and this information earlier? Now, before I get a ton of e-mails and letters from police officers, let me state that I am not alleging any cover-ups by the NYPD. With that said, I think the reason that the public didn’t hear about this, until now, was because of the inflamed tensions that existed between police and the public over the last several months. What do you think would’ve happened if the NYPD had released this information hot on the heals of the Diallo or Dorismond cases? They would have been viewed as bumbling idiots that don’t know what’s going on within their ranks, and they would’ve only looked worse in the public eye.

Speaking of looking bad in the public eye, I would like to take this opportunity to make the 101 Precinct, in Far Rockaway, aware of something. Many people who live between Mott avenue and Gipson street feel that they are being unfairly ticketed, and they have expressed their outrage to me. I have also been ticketed, and I was not happy about forking over $110 to the PVB after I had submitted photos to support my argument. There is a "No Parking" sign on the right side of the street, but the wording on the sign is not legible. It appears to be old, warn and rusted, and there are no other signs on either side of this street for blocks! As a result, many people do not adhere to the parking rule. I had parked there at two o’clock in the morning, and there was no way that I, or anyone else, would’ve been able to read that sign. Also, I have seen patrol cars pass the location and not place a single ticket on cars parked beyond the sign. I assume they do this because they can’t read the damn sign either! I don’t think this is fair at all. Why are some ticketed and others aren’t? Trust me, people are getting pissed about this sign.

I do not know who is responsible for correcting this problem because I get passed along from agency to agency when I call for information and assistance. Something has got to give. A position should be taken that ticketing this area is unfair, or have the appropriate people get their lazy "duffs" down here to change that stupid sign so people can read it! Otherwise, it will continue to look like a "ticket trap" for the local precinct and the administrative drones who ignored me at the Parking Violations Bureau.

I have to get one more thing off my chest. You know, some people just enjoy their jobs too much. I say this because of my experience with the New York City Department of Finance, in Jamaica, after paying the stupid fine. Most of the people, who are there to pay fines, are not in a good mood. It does not help the situation when some employees offer a smirk or snide comment when people are paying these fines. The guy I had seemed to take great pleasure in the fact that I had an interest charge of 14-cents on my ticket. I was not laughing. One man, who didn’t speak English well, was trying to explain how he was unfairly ticketed, and the woman’s response was, "Obviously you’re guilty, or you wouldn’t have to pay a fine." Such comments are unwarranted, and a true professional does not treat people in this nasty manner. I guess some people get a position, and a little title, and they don’t know how to act: especially when it comes to city agencies and bureaucracies.

You can contact me at

GeeMan1025@aol.com if you like. Make sure you catch me next week because I plan to drop a bomb on a local politician! I’m coming for you dude.

See you next week!

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