Readers sound off on savages, illnesses and wrongs

Too hot to handle Woodhaven: Regarding the beatdown of a 15-year-old girl in a Brooklyn McDonald’s: What adult is going to step in? My sister tried to intervene in a beatdown by high schoolers, on school grounds, by just trying to separate the kids — and two sets of parents sued her! And even if an adult had jumped in, what are the chances those punks would have knives or even guns? In the heat of the moment, my instinct would be to grab a broom and smack some heads. Wrong move — go to jail. So society dictates that we just let the kid get paralyzed or die. Even teachers are instructed not to touch fighting students, only to call for police or security. You can’t touch the little angels as they maim each other. Mike Minerva What's in a word Brooklyn: Where was the front-page headline “Savage” (March 12) when authorities pledged to protect and serve stood around while a fellow civil servant choked Eric Garner to death? Saving that headline for a group of black kids whose brains aren’t yet even fully developed is hurtful and reinforces terrible stereotypes. Ajené Simmons Goetz on the cross Staten Island: I am 66 years old, and I will tell you why I will not get involved. I am an ex-military range officer, yet I cannot carry a pistol in New York City. I will not have my identity revealed by liberal morons who would demand a grand jury do so. I will not be sued for disturbing the feelings of some poor savage who should be in jail. I do not want to get involved with Al Sharpton. I will not be crucified like Bernhard Goetz. Good people allowed the lunatics to run the asylum. Now, they can live with what they have created. Anthony Siesto Out of line Brooklyn: This idea of rating teachers based on test scores is ridiculous. One year, with bright students, you would shine. Then the following year, when you have problem students, you’re deemed ineffective. Imagine being rated based on the Continue Reading

What’s gone so wrong with the McDonald’s girls

No girl ends up semi-conscious on the floor of a McDonald’s surrounded by a raucous mob, no girl repeatedly kicks another in the head, and no girls punch furiously as a group for three minutes without having traveled dead-end paths. The fight video that stunned New York, and information that has since emerged about some of its participants, point to severe social pathologies and failures by the adults and institutions responsible for raising the young. This melee was more than a flash-of-the-moment brawl. It was planned and sustained violence, the product of a gross adult abdication that left the moral development of children to children — like “Lord of the Flies,” but with smartphones. And, in other cases, guns. Youth and likely deprivation are no excuse for gang brutality. The NYPD is arresting the brawlers, including a girl who attempted to flee to the island of Jamaica. They must face the weight of the criminal justice system. That said, no matter how viciously the primary combatant behaved, it was astonishing and appalling to see 16-year-old Aniah Ferguson arraigned on charges that could put her away for decades, alone, without the support of a parent or guardian, and held on a half-million dollars’ bail. RELATED: More suspects held in McDonald’s beating as prosecutors say Brooklyn attack was planned for months Mr. Mayor, do you not see that you are presiding over communities that are the equal of Charles Dickens’ London? It’s time, Mr. Mayor, to stop talking about the tale of two cities and frankly confront the one where today’s other half lives. Recognizing the gravity of the forces that have captured the fighters and their cheering squad, a truly visionary progressive mayor would seize the moment to delve unflinchingly into the dynamics of home and neighborhood that have blighted the futures of all involved, as well as into the responses of public agencies. Bill de Continue Reading

Escape artist Spencer Horsman rescued from stunt gone wrong during rehearsal for Criss Angel show

There's no escaping the fact that something went terrifyingly wrong during a rehearsal Wednesday night for a major trick from illusionist Criss Angel's new show. Video leaked to the Internet shows Angel and his crew frantically scrambling to pull escape artist Spencer Horsman from a water tank suspended by chains about 30 feet from the stage. With his hands shackled, Horsman appears to be unconcsious in the video of the ill-fated rehearsal session for Angel's "Supernaturalists" show at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. Crewmembers could be heard screaming and yelling, "Get Him Down," for 15 seconds until Horsman, who rose to fame on "America's Got Talent," could be freed. FOLLOW THE DAILY NEWS ON FACEBOOK. CLICK HERE TO 'LIKE.' Angel, himself a famed illusionist, is one of the rescuers seen on the video clambering up the chains to unlatch the top of the tank, according to Fox News. Angel and Horsman have yet to publically comment on the near disaster. As Horsman recovers from an escape from death of the much too literal kind, though, Angel moved the opening of his Foxwoods show to Friday, two days later than originally scheduled. "In an effort to ensure the safety of the cast and crew, we will be moving the opening night of Supernaturalists to June 26th," Angel said in a statement. The stage show unites nine magicians with different specialities — with Angel appearing from Las Vegas for each performance via a video feed. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Continue Reading

New Orleans man shoots best friend with shotgun for bringing him wrong beer: cops

A New Orleans man shot his best friend in the elbow after he brought him the wrong brand of beer. Clarence Sturdivant, 64, allegedly gunned down years-long pal Walter Merrick, 66, after he handed over a Busch, reports The Times-Picayune. The younger man prefers Budweiser. They argued in the parking lot of their Harvey apartment complex about which brand was better on Saturday, March 7, before a shot was fired. Sturdivant then fled the scene. Merrick was rushed to hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries to his elbow, reports Fox 8. Deputies pulled Sturdivant over a short time later. They reportedly found 20-gauge shotgun cartridges in his truck. During questioning, Sturdivant confessed to arguing over the beer. But he alleged that Merrick had first pointed a gun at him, and that he'd fired in self-defense. Merrick was cited for aggravated assault, reports The Times-Picayune. Sturdivant was arrested on unrelated charges for failing to appear in court over charges of resisting an officer and interfering with police in December 2013. He was later released from the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center on a $1,000 bond. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Shia LaBeouf injured in stunt gone wrong: report

The set of Shia LaBeouf’s new dramedy turned into a scene straight out of a bloodyhorror movie Wednesday, when the actor was injured filming a stunt that went terribly wrong. Sources told TMZ that the actor was shooting a scene for “American Honey” that required him putting his head through a glass window. But the breakaway glass didn’t quite correctly, leaving LaBeouf with cuts to the left side of his head and right index finger. The 29-year-old “Transformers” star was rushed to a hospital near the film’s North Carolina set. He was released after receiving 20 stitches and 13 staples to his head, according to the report. Continue Reading

More than 1,000 mourners turn out for funeral of NYPD Detective Paul Duncan, who died in wrong-way crash

Rechelle Duncan, looking at the casket holding her NYPD veteran husband, expected the tears to flow. The thought of Detective Paul Duncan instead brought one more smile to her face before a packed funeral service Wednesday at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. “Surprisingly, I’m not crying,” the widow said during an upbeat eulogy for her spouse of 20 years. “And I think it’s because we all feel glad that we knew him, and so it really does become a celebration.” More than 1,000 relatives, friends and fellow cops filled the historic church on a gray morning to remember Duncan — killed Friday by a boozed-up wrong-way driver on the Sprain Brook Parkway. The fond farewell to the 46-year-old cop was marked by happy faces and raucous applause when Rechelle Duncan noted the huge turnout. “I can’t leave out that my husband sort of sold out Abyssinian Baptist Church,” she announced to loud cheers and laughter. “This is unreal.” More laughs followed when NYPD Deputy Commissioner Joseph Reznick recalled that Duncan’s preferred nickname was “Pauly D” — and that the sharp-dressed detective wore matching socks and ties. Earlier, hundreds of mourners stood in the March rain for up to an hour to claim a seat inside the church. A 90-minute viewing, with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton attending, preceded the 10 a.m. funeral. The widow unwittingly drove past the fatal crash scene hours after the 3:50 a.m. wreck in Greenburgh while taking their 13-year-old daughter Kayla to school in New York City. The girl, in a strong and unwavering voice, offered proud recollections of her dad to the audience. “We would always talk about how crazy this one was, or how crazy everybody was, except for us,” the poised teen said, flashing a smile at her mom. “He was my everything.” Duncan joined the NYPD Continue Reading

Phoenix woman choked stepson, 14, for picking up dog feces at ‘wrong time’: police

A Phoenix woman was arrested after choking her 14-year-old stepson because he picked up dog feces at the "wrong time," police said. Nicole Gamez, 35, grabbed the boy by the neck and hit his back because he picked up the waste March 19, a day before she wanted him to, police told KPHO. The boy blacked out, police said. When he woke up, Gamez was standing over him. She threatened that he wouldn't wake up next time, according to the police report. Gamez told cops she was sick of the teen "doing what he wants, when he wants." It wasn't the first time Gamez became violent with the boy, police said. Gamez often abused him and his younger brother and locked them out of the house at night, the teen told police. On Feb. 27, the boy stole Gamez's quarters and a poem that reminded the woman of her late mother, Gamez said. In return, she hit him with a belt, leaving marks that hospital staff would find two weeks later, police said. Gamez was charged with child abuse and booked into jail Sunday. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

San Diego cop kills service dog after knocking on wrong door: owner

A San Diego cop gunned down a man’s service dog after knocking on the wrong door, the heartbroken owner said. Ian Anderson claims he opened the door to two officers early Sunday morning, and his pet pit bull, Burberry, bounded out behind him. The first officer reached down as if to pet the 6-year-old pooch, but his partner danced away, drew his gun and unloaded, surveillance video revealed. “Boom. Shot right in the head, and he was done,” Anderson told NBC San Diego. “He was dead.” The officers were reportedly investigating a domestic disturbance call about 5:30 a.m. and ended up on Anderson’s doorstep by mistake. It’s not clear why they targeted his house. A police spokesman didn’t immediately respond to questions from the Daily News. “I know nothing will bring Burberry back, but it only seems necessary that this Officer is reprimanded for his disorderly actions, before this trigger happy Officer takes more lives,” Anderson wrote on Facebook. Burberry was a registered service animal, who helped the 24-year-old deal with anxiety following his father’s death, Anderson told NBC San Diego. “He was the best dog in the entire world,” he told NBC San Diego. “I would do anything to have him back right now. Absolutely anything.” The grieving dog lover is lobbying for better training for police officers who might deal with animals. An online petition started by a friend calls for police to take courses modeled after a Colorado law, designed to cut down the number of animals killed by cops. More than 4,600 people had signed on Wednesday. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

New Jersey cop driving wrong-way in fatal Staten Island crash was busted for drunk driving in 2011, when he smashed car into deli

The off-duty Jersey cop at the wheel during a wrong-way fatal accident on Staten Island had been busted for drunken driving after crashing into a deli in 2011, police records reveal. Pedro Abad Jr., a Linden police officer, swerved off the road in a black 2010 Audi A5 and hit a bus stop sign, a street sign and a stop sign before slamming through the side of New Way Supermarket in Roselle, N.J., at 3:46 a.m. on Jan. 22, 2011, according to a police report. His car ended up inside the store, causing heavy damage to the building. Ravi Patel, 26, who co-owns the deli with his dad, recalled getting a call in the middle of the night that the store’s alarms had been triggered. “We didn't know it was a crash,” Patel told the Daily News Wednesday. “It wasn't until we got to the corner. We saw the car inside — the whole car!” It took three months for all the damage to be fixed and the damage was so extensive the store was closed for the first three weeks of repairs. “Everything was messed up,” Patel said. “The register was on the ground, everything. The door doesn't even shut still because of the crash.” Reeking of alcohol, Abad, 27, was rushed from the scene to University Hospital in Newark, where he was charged with driving while intoxicated and careless driving. Inside the ambulance he admitted to having two mixed drinks at a local club, according to the police report. "He should have learned his lesson," Patel said. "You don't screw up again. That's just wrong. Look at how many lives he took." Investigators are continuing to probe whether Abad was drinking with his three passengers at Staten Island strip club Curves before Friday’s crash. Abad was driving a Honda northbound in the southbound lanes of the West Shore Expressway when he hit a tractor-trailer head-on at 4:50 a.m., killing two men in the car. Hours before the deadly crash, Abad recounted in an online post his Continue Reading

Family of Michael Brown to file wrongful death lawsuit against City of Ferguson

The family of Michael Brown is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Ferguson, Mo., nearly a year after the black teenager was shot and killed by a white police officer in a case that sparked enduring national outrage. The intended civil suit was announced Wednesday night by Parks & Crump, the Florida-based law firm that has been working with Brown’s family since last year. The suit will be filed Thursday morning, the firm said. The firm has yet to release any specifics on the suit or say why it is happening now. Attorneys did not immediately return requests from comment and a spokesperson for the firm, Adner Marcelin, told the Daily News Wednesday night he could not provide any further details. The lawyers for Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, and father, Michael Brown Sr., had alluded to an impending lawsuit against the city in a March press conference. The attorney said at the time the family would also sue Darren Wilson, the former police officer who killed Brown, but Wednesday's announcement did not mention him. Wilson fatally shot Brown, who was 18 and unarmed, after a much-debated confrontation Aug. 9. In November, a grand jury declined to indict Wilson for the killing. Brown’s death ignited seemingly endless racial protests in Ferguson and nationwide was a major influence on the Black Lives Matter movement. The lawsuit comes a month after a scathing Department of Justice report, which found widespread corruption and racial bias in the Ferguson's courts and police department, led to the resignation or firing of several top city officials, including the police chief and city manager. Earlier this month, voters elected two black candidates to Ferguson's City Council, leading to the first time the council will have three black members. A memorial tree for Brown planted in a Ferguson park last weekend was chopped down after one day by Continue Reading