Two weeks after Eric Garner died in police custody as a result of an illegal chokehold, police precincts across the Southeast Queens area participated in National Night Out. National Night Out is an annual summer event at which police precincts and communities organize as a means to fight back against crime.
The 101st Precinct held its event at O’Donohoe Park located on Beach 17th Street. Their Night Out event wa preceded by a resource fair comprised of local organizations. These organizations connect with residents to inform them of available resources. The resource fair also included various events and fun for the kids. It was also a way for residents to come out early and get a good spot, even picnic, in anticipation of the evening’s event.
“It’s a wonderful way for our local precincts to develop and rekindle relationships with the local organizations, civic community groups, and most importantly, community residents. They are there to serve and protect,” said Kevin Alexander, President of Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation. He was on site signing up residents for its new credit initiative and connecting people in need to resources.
“Good for the community. Everybody seems to be enjoying themselves. Safe environment,” said Officer Ascione from the 101st Precinct who was patrolling the event.
The 101st Precinct put on a good show. There were tee shirt giveaways, a bouncy-house, carnival games, train rides and free food that had participants waiting in a long lines! Residents young and old came out for the event. The stage hosted all types of singers: gospel, rap artist, roller skater and a DJ.
“I like it for the community,” said Kindu Brown a resident who picnicked at the event.
Captain Valerga of the 101st Precinct was busy working the event! He did a meet and greet with residents, helped a woman who lost track of her daughter, accepted a proclamation from the Queens Borough President and welcomed Assistant Chief Barrere of Patrol Borough Queens South as check-in to the event. Many folks didn’t notice his juggling act, as they were too busy having a good time.
“The best part is the bouncy house and music!” This quote came from a group of children: Nilegiz, Evelyn, Daniela, Samantha (and their dog Sandy), as they enjoyed the event.
Over at Baisley Pond Park, the 113th Precinct held their event. The park was filled with families and children enjoying the many activities and events offered: dancing, bouncy house, free food and a dunk the policeman booth! For the cost of dollar, children had two chances to sentence an officer to a watery prison. An anonymous donation from a fellow officer had a long line of kids waiting for their turn at justice. Officer Tiernan was soaking wet, full of smiles and in good spirits throughout it all.
Overall, this was a great community bonding event and a move forward from the tragic events surrounding the death of Eric Garner.