Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams demanded that New York City’s police department should find out why its response was too tardy to save an 18-year-old girl from gang rape at the hands of five men at a Brooklyn playground. Adams is himself a police veteran, having served as a captain. On January 10, Adams expressed befuddlement over the NYPD’s response time. “We need to listen to the 911 call,” said Adams. “We need to find out…the response time from the time it was reported. This baffles all my police experience. Something is missing.”
The attack occurred on January 7 at approximately 9 p.m. at near the handball courts at the Osborn Playground in the Brownsville district of Brooklyn. Five male suspects approached the girl and her father. One of them pointed a pistol on the father and ordered him to leave. That perpetrators is described as a black man in his 20s or 30s who was wearing a red jacket and black trousers. According to the police, he told the father “Get the f--- out of here.” It was then that the five men took turns violating the girl, said NYPD. The police continue to search for the culprits. The playground is pitch-black at night since there are no functioning lights. There were no police patrolling the park at the time, prompting public criticisms.
The victim’s father fled the scene and called emergency services. He soon returned with two police officers. The suspects fled in turn. The girl was treated at Kings County Hospital.
Police have since revealed a surveillance video taken of the men at a nearby store. They can be seen smiling.  “They looked happy, like they didn’t care,” a deli worker told the Daily News on January 10. “They are bad guys.” Law enforcement sought the public’s help to identify the suspects. 
The NYPD dismissed claims of any tardiness in the response time. “The police officers immediately responded and located the victim,” the NYPD said. “The suspects had already fled. ... There were no 911 calls associated with the attack.” Police detectives were not immediately able to interview the girl, who at first needed treatment for her existing medical conditions. She then needed care for wounds sustain in the attack. A source said that she was initially combative with police and refused an EMS exam and hospital transport. She allegedly tried to get out of the ambulance, and also bit an officer.
Borough President Adams questioned why the NYPD had not publicized the rape until two days afterwards. “Something is not right,” said Adams. “The community needs to be notified immediately when we have such a savage attack with a handgun and a rape.” He argued that if the rape had occurred on the much wealthier on the Upper East Side, the assault would have gotten more attention. “People should be protected,” he said. “People should be aware.”
Four of the five alleged perpetrators have been apprehended. Two are aged 15 years, another is 14, and one is 17 years old. Two of them were brought to the police by their mothers. One assailant remains at large. None have been charged as yet.
A clerk at the deli counter in the store near the scene of the crime had refused permission to the victim’s father when he asked to call 911 just moments after the rape commenced. The clerk said he did not believe the father’s story, arguing that many people ask to use the phone. The desperate father was able to summon two uniformed officers nearby. He told them that he had been walking with his daughter when the five assailants approached them. 
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio professed dismay at the attack. “I am disgusted and deeply saddened by the horrific attack that took place in Brownsville Thursday evening,” he said. The Democrat mayor vowed the police will “take every step possible” to solve the case. “We have been working closely with the NYPD to bring the violent sexual predators who committed this horrific gang rape to justice and will not stop until every one of them is held accountable,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson.



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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