It’s My Turn
I am writing this “It’s My Turn’ to you in reference to the Bellamy case. As you know, the judge ruled in favor of Kareem Bellamy in his last proceeding on January 14.
I wanted to address a few comments that were noted in several articles published in your paper, but felt it was best to wait for the judges decision in Kareem’s proceeding to be announced. I would not want to jeopardize Kareem’s much deserved freedom, taking a chance of being misquoted on something.
I have been keeping up on all the assorted press releases, and was a bit disappointed to say the least, by some of the news reports that were published by the Wave.
In one of the Waves’ articles, you mention that I was unable to be contacted because my phone number was changed. The comment was written in an article published on April 24, 2009, which contained the Levon Ishmael Melvin interview.
I would first like to inform you that at no time were my phone numbers ever out of service, or changed, for at least the past five years. The number is still my active cell number, and it’s the primary number for my business. Unfortunately this error prevented me from rebutting the slanderous comments made by Ishmael Levon Melvin.
Another comment in the same article made reference that I knew Anna Simmons’ brother and family, and that I had spoken with them. I was never able to locate an Anna Simmons, nor do I know her family.
The primary objective of my involvement in the Abbott/Bellamy case was to determine if in fact there was an Anna who worked in the Laundromat at the time of the James Abbott murder. I did locate several people who knew an Anna that worked there, however I have been unable to locate or contact her. I was also unable to gain complete cooperation with the people who allegedly know her, which I believe is out of fear. Unfortunately, I do not have the legal resources to obtain any further information regarding Anna at this time. I truly believe that there was in fact an Anna employed at the Beach 54 Street Laundromat.
The reason for my attempting to locate this Anna was due to the fact that a follow-up report contained in the Abbott/ Bellamy case folder mentioned a female caller who identified herself as an Anna Simmons. The caller claimed that an Ishmael Levon Melvin and Rodney “Turk” Harris killed Abbott, and the caller further advised of other relevant information.
When I was asked to assist in the investigation as a private investigator, I noticed some obvious procedural and legal problems with the case, and decided that I would assist the attorneys. After careful review of the Abbott/Bellamy case folder, I felt I had a moral obligation to assist them. In my opinion, Bellamy never received a fair trial, and certain evidence and information was never investigated. I agreed with the attorneys, that if the jury or even the District Attorney were aware of some of the discrepancies, Bellamy’s fate might have been different.
The comments regarding Anna being a “figment of my imagination” is quite humorous. Ms. Simmons’ report that Melvin was a suspect was made to a detective at the 101 Precinct 15 years ago, and not to me.
As for Kareem Bellamy, I have never known him personally and would not jeopardize my licensing, reputation, or anything for that matter, for him or anyone. I felt a strong obligation to add my experience to a team of attorneys whom I felt was trying to right a wrong.
As to the original Bellamy investigation, I had no involvement whatsoever, and was assigned to the Housing Police at the time. The Abbott murder did not occur on the Housing Authority property or adjacent Housing property. The Abbott murder investigation was handled entirely by the NYPD 101 Precinct. If I recall the dates correctly, the NYPD and the Housing Police merged sometime after the Abbott murder. It wasn’t until after the merger that I was assigned to the 101 detective squad.
As to the comments made by Melvin in which he claims I had it in for him for years, I would find this entertaining if it were not such a serious accusation.
Melvin makes mention in the article of a murder that supposedly occurred in the 70’s and claims I called the 100 Precinct to tell them he had something to do with it. I graduated from High School in the late seventies and then finished college in the early 80’s.I was not assigned to the Rockaway area until mid-May 1988. Prior to the Rockaway’s, I was assigned to the Housing Police in Brooklyn’s Fort Green and Coney Island areas for several years.
As mentioned on the record at the court proceeding, one of my prior contacts with Melvin was an incident that occurred in the early 1990’s, while I was investigating a homicide. Melvin ran off with a sawed-off .12 gauge shotgun that another male had passed to him on the corner of Beach 54 Street when they saw me approaching. I proceeded to Melvin’s residence and demanded the shotgun he was trying to hide so as to obstruct my investigation. I made a deal with Melvin that if he turned over the weapon immediately without my obtaining a search warrant, I wouldn’t charge him with the possession of the weapon. Melvin complied with my request and I kept my end of the deal, and I did not arrest Melvin for that weapon possession. I guess you can say, “I really didn’t have it in for him” or I would have arrested him at that time which I had every right to do. Actually, Melvin was cooperative at the time, and it later helped the Alabama authorities and me to secure a conviction regarding three of Melvin’s friends who were members of the “Regulators” in the Edgemere Projects.
The three friends of Melvin’s had shot a store owner through the neck, wounding him seriously, and then executed the store owner’s son, the father of three young girls, during a botched robbery in a meat market located in the Birmingham, Alabama area.
During the trial in Alabama, Melvin made an appearance at the Jefferson County Courthouse on behalf of his friends and fellow gang members. It was learned immediately that Melvin was NOT TELLING THE TRUTH, and the court dismissed him with the threat of arrest if he continued his UNTRUTHFUL STATEMENTS. All three “Regulator” friends of Melvin were sentenced to a term of 30 years to life. Is one to believe this is also a “figment of my imagination?”
As to “having it in for Melvin,” I saw him frequently hanging out on the corner of Beach 54 Street all hours of the day and night, and on some occasions we spoke briefly. I never had any type of a personal vendetta against him.
I would like to mention that for the majority of tenants in the Rockaway Housing Projects, I was well respected and referred to as a “very fair detective.” If I had occasion to arrest someone, I treated them with respect. My motto was always, “if you act like a lady or gentleman, you would be treated accordingly.” I never took the job personally. If you recall the many episodes of Court TV in which I appeared, the tenants always spoke highly of me.
As you very well know, I was one of the most active Police Detectives in the Rockaways. I always made it a point whenever I arrested someone; I did a complete investigation as to the circumstances of each incident.
I firmly believe that if there is evidence of a person’s innocence, you as a law enforcement officer have a legal and moral obligation to pursue that evidence.
In the case of Kareem Bellamy, for some reason all investigative avenues that should have been pursued were for reasons unknown, neglected. It was never my intention to ever point a finger at others for what should have been done. I will also note that if I thought for one second that Kareem Bellamy was guilty, I would not have even gotten involved. I will not take a case where I even remotely think the person is guilty.
While America’s criminal justice system is not without flaws, it is the best system the world has, and I think we could agree on that.
For those who sit and judge; Something to ponder, if it were your child, or yourself sitting in prison for a crime you didn’t commit, would you not want to pursue justice?
Unfortunately, there are people in certain positions of power that allow their ego to cloud the truth and the obvious.
The position for anyone in these instances should be to seek the truth and not the win, win mentality.
The job of a Police Officer/Detective is a very complex one. The overwhelming majority of men and women who enter the New York City Police Department, join with the hopes of helping citizens and work to make New York a better and safer place. NYPD is not without its problems like any other organization in this world, but the members of the NYPD are without a doubt the “cream of the crop!”
Thanks for your time Howard. I’d like to sit and work with you one day, to write a complete, accurate, and honest story about the Kareem Bellamy case.