Queens DA visits Sunnyside to discuss the Trespass Affidavit Program

Sunnyside Shines organizes luncheon for Sunnyside business owners

By Yasin Akdag 

Last month, the Queens DA, local Police Department, and local business owners convened at Tangra in Sunnyside for a business luncheon event.

Organized by the Sunnyside Shines, the event featured presentations by the District Attorney of Queens County, the New York City Police Department, and AT&T.

“We’re delighted to bring together everyone to hear about the Trespass Affidavit Program and appreciate the Queens District Attorney’s office and the 108thPrecinct making presentations. We are grateful to AT&T for sponsoring this luncheon and to Tangra for hosting it”, said Dirk McCall de Palomá, Executive Director of Sunnyside Shines.

“Sunnyside Shines wants to create a more safe and welcoming community, and the lunch-in event helps in contributing to a more dynamic environment by bringing business owners together, empathizing and sharing similar values, thus enhancing the experience of the Sunnyside neighborhood,” McCall de Paloma added.

The event opened with remarks from Executive Assistant District Attorney, Theresa Shanahan, who talked about what values the Merchants Business Program brings to the Borough of Queens. 

“We’ve received a great deal of positive feedback from the merchants on the pilot programs”, she said. 

NYPD also led the event by explaining further on the purpose of the program, designed to discourage illegal and disruptive activity inside of local shops and stores.  

Mohamadyah Patwekar Executive Captain spoke on the recent crime stats in Queens and explained the crime rate has decreased by 60%. He specifically emphasized the Merchant Business Improvement Program that serves the purpose of helping fellow Queens residents who’ve been a victim or witnessed a crime. He elaborated on how the program works and ideally, when a resident experiences a crime the person should dial 911 and NYPD officers will respond and serve the individual crime offender with a trespass notice. The trespass notice serves as a conduct that provides a warning for the concerning criminal. A criminal served with a trespass notice will be held accountable for committing a second crime at that location, whilst copies of the served notices are kept at each precinct and provided to the merchant. 

AT&T also presented at the event, and their team reinforced their goal of continuing to  invest in the Sunnyside neighborhood. The company is keen to sponsor and serve local business owners with coverage for business phones and hotspots. Members of AT&T will receive benefits like member’s employee discounts, also covering for emergency purposes with FirstNet availability. 

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and connectivity has become the backbone of so many small businesses. We are proud to sponsor the Sunnyside business luncheon, and to work closely with small businesses to find the right connectivity solutions that can help them grow and thrive in today’s connected economy,” said Timothy Tapia, Director of External Affairs at AT&T. 

The company has invested nearly $2.7 billion in its network infrastructure in New York from 2019-2023 to connect more people to greater possibility 

Local business owners in the Sunnyside neighborhood also participated in the event. 

Among the participants were Erika Gilliard from the Sunnyside Community Services, Leon Dubov from QBK Sports, Daniel Yildirim from Chakra Café, Nelson Michell from Supreme Team Boxing, and Rapid Shrestha from Newa Chhe restaurant. 

The business owners actively participated in the meeting discussions, voicing their concerns and posing questions that sparked ideas for addressing community issues

The NYPD addressed people’s inquiries and discussed the implemented program, emphasizing their rights when witnessing a crime. 




Grasso Officially Makes Ballot for Queens DA

By Alicia Venter



Retired Judge George Grasso is officially running for Queens District Attorney along the Democratic line, filing 9,500 signatures to run for the position on Monday.

Immediately after leaving City Hall, Grasso hopped on the train to Queens Borough Hall where he shared updates with the campaign, many times delving into fervent monologues about an increase in crime in Queens.

Shooting CompStat statistics off at a whim, Grasso claimed Katz was “too little, too late” in addressing the crime sprees across Queens, particularly Flushing, and called on the current District Attorney to debate him before the primary on June 27.

“We have a crime wave in Queens right now. Crime in Queens is out of control during the tenure of Melinda Katz,” he said.

According to the most updated CompStat information, Grasso passionately stated, NYPD’s Patrol Borough Queens South has seen an increase of major felony crime of over 40% in two years.

“You think that’s bad?” he questioned. “How about Patrol Borough Queens North?” According to CompStat, major felony crime is up over 68%. The 109th Precinct, he said, is up over 126%. While currently running on the Democratic line, Grasso shared that he has begun the process to run independently should he lose the party’s nomination.

Herb Woods, who worked with Grasso in the NYPD, shared a few words in support of his old friend.

“If you don’t acknowledge a problem, you can’t fix a problem,” Grasso announced.

The Grasso for Queens Campaign received 11 endorsements from local law enforcement agencies on Monday, including from the New York 10-13 Association, the Retired Lieutenants Association and Retired Police Association of New York State.

“If you want to bring back safety, security and sanity to the county of Queens, it is so important to vote for Judge Grasso,” said Bob Valentino, the President of the New York City Retired Transit Police Officers Association, which has endorsed Grasso. “With him, you will bring back Queens like it used to be in the old days.”

Herb Woods, former NYPD Assistant Commissioner, Department Advocate, who led police discipline, has known Grasso for 35 years after meeting as police officers of the NYPD. Seeing him rise through the ranks, Woods claimed to be a first-hand witness to Grasso working diligently within the department to create strategies to reduce crime when he was the first deputy commissioner of the NYPD.

“He wanted to immediately create a disciplinary system that was fair, that was transparent, would enforce due process and brought everyone to the table equally,” said Woods. “He made it doubly clear to me that whether you are a police officer or a civilian, no one is above the law.

The first step in Grasso’s plan, he explained, is quality of life enforcement. It is the small things — not enforcing misdemeanor assault and trespassing, or those who avoid tolls — that must be enforced to avoid repeat offenders.

Current district attorneys, he feels, are too muted across the city, citing State District Attorney David Soares as a role model of how all district attorneys should speak out.

“This is real now. I consider this the official first day of my campaign,” Grasso said. “We are going to win on June 27… this is coming. This is happening.”

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