The Ballad Of Frank James

Frank James had had enough

New York, New York

Two weeks ago, a lonely and angry man took the morning Manhattan bound rush hour N train from southwest Brooklyn. He came on board dressed for safety measures wearing a helmet and  MTA safety vest and lugging a hand rolling cart filled with firecrackers and smoke bombs. In between stations, this man was muttering to himself and started fumbling with the cart’s contents, then he put on a gas mask and ignited two smoke bombs and pulled out a 9mm gun and shot 33 rounds at his fellow commuters. During the fusillade he managed to hit 10 of them as 19 other people sustained injuries while trying to flee into the next car. Shockingly and luckily no one died from the incident, only because the man’s gun jammed and also because he wasn’t aiming for vital organs.

Like something from the beginning of an action movie or t.v. show, the man walked away from the chaos he caused after dumping the gear he was wearing and the cart in the train, then walked past people lying injured and bleeding on the 36th St. Station platform, past commuters fleeing for safety and walked across to the arriving R train and got off that train at the next station. Then he took a stroll to nearby Park Slope where he got on a bus to transfer to an F train station and got off in the Lower East Side while eluding hundreds of cops and FBI agents deployed to the scene of the crime.

Once the NYPD and the legacy local news media identified the shooter as Frank James, he was roaming around Brooklyn and Manhattan for over 30 hours until he got to his last destination in the East Village, where he stopped at a couple of high end restaurants and walked around and rested on a bench by a restaurant shanty in plain sight, all while the NYPD were in a frantic search to find him. When James went into a McDonalds on 1st Avenue, a man working at a shop next door recognized him and call the cops to pick him up and they finally collar him (it also turned out that there were four other witnesses who made reported calls, which also included James).

There hasn’t been much of a follow up about what motivated Frank James to start blasting people. In fact, we would know a lot more because he had a youtube channel with videos of him ranting about the rising crime and dysfunctional lack of public services that has turned NYC into its current dystopian state. In other words, James gripes mostly jibed with a vast majority of opinions of New Yorkers (according to Mayor Adams, who guesstimates this amount to 30 million every time he gets asked a question) including yours truly of this blog your reading here. But we will never ever know because youtube abolished his channel and banned his videos from public view (Although the NYPD actually could have that footage to use against him during his trial).

The last time a man committed a mass shooting on a New York transit line was when Colin Ferguson shot up a LIRR train also with an semi-automatic handgun and killed six people and maimed 19 others and during the morning rush.  The distinction about is not this that James didn’t kill anyone or that he was not of sound mind when he maimed his fellow commuters like Ferguson, but with the predominance of social media and networking, his motives were out there for all to see and his vulgar and racist social media disturbingly had validity to them which served as a portent for his own mass shooting in regards the myriad crises that are dominating New York City society. In a way, this actually resembles the Bernard Goetz shooting of four Black men back in 1984 when he decided to pack heat because of the relentless crime wave during the worst era of the bad old days. It even bears an unsettling resemblance to the cult horror classic movie “God Told Me Too”, where people also engaged in mass shootings and responded by getting their orders by man who lives in the clouds. This also was recently revealed by current Mayor Eric Adams who claimed that God told him to run for mayor(funny I thought it was Real Estate Board of New York who told him to).

Another aspect from the mass shooting is that the Bernie Goetz of the New Bad Days probably did it to become a viral sensation by manifesting his bloody fantasies. But what he actually did do was expose the kakistocracy that has overwhelmed NYC municipal services, the NYPD and the mass transit system as well. Because what pushed Frank James over the edge derived from the dearth in mental health services which Bill de Blasio and his tax boondoggle wife laundered a billion dollars from that still hasn’t been accounted for and the homeless service providers that James felt short changed him and left him despaired, anguished and furious. Plus it was recently exposed that one of the non-profit service providers James went to is a million and a half dollars in the red as it’s top executives continue to make six figure salaries. If James found out that the city has dedicated more funding for mental health services to nite club owners and their big spending patrons, he probably would have aimed higher.

There’s another disturbing aspect about James’ senseless hate-filled attack; the fact that he knew he could pull it off and with ease, despite his mishaps. Because the reason why James was able to trudge around two boroughs for a day and a half is that the cameras at the two stations were he got on and got off malfunctioned and the NYPD didn’t get a good description of him. At first James was described as being just 5 and a half feet tall instead of the over 6 ft. man that wound up plastered on cellphone screen social media apps, which enabled him to walk in public in plain sight as cops and federal agents headed to his crime scene. The NYPD claimed they didn’t have his description because the fiber optic cables didn’t transmit the footage fast enough.

The MTA’s own ass covering for this deficiency being that those Sunset Park station cameras happened to be the only ones that were out of service even though the other 10,000 that are in the transit system were working just fine that day. If only there was something the transit system bosses could have done to make sure those cameras were still working, like allocating money to keep them running 24/7/365 instead of pissing it away on marketing and advertising their minimally used OMNY pay and travel ads…

 

It’s laughingly ironic that the MTA would spend more expense and effort for these promotional gimmicks to be seen than for people behaving suspiciously. But this is the worst fucking transit system in the universe with a top brass that thinks it’s normal to keep a paper transit map up after putting up a digital screen map right next to it.

 

Frank James also made a mockery of N.Y.’s finest, who are collectively suffering an horrendous year as felonious crimes collectively rise nearly 50%.  Like when NYPD Commissioner Sewell praised her officers for tracking him down, it turned out James actually called the cops himself and told him where he was going to be, which Frank gleefully scoffed at them during his arrest by asking them what took them so long.

Mayor Adams was spared the embarrassment of this indignity mostly because he was holed up in Gracie Mansion with COVID-19 with a “rasbie” throat (his mangled words not mine). But still, James made Adams look like an idiot even more since he was able to smuggle a gun and ordinance into the transit system when three weeks earlier the Mayor and Governor Kathy “Clown” Hochul announced new units of extra cops and health professionals (basically subway orderlies) to be deployed to the stations to prevent criminal behavior, stop criminals and aid mentally disturbed folks. Then Mayor Adams proceeded to make an idiot out of himself by blaming social media for allowing him to post his vitriolic uploaded videos and posts on their platforms, even after they already deplatformed them. Even though the NYPD counter terrorism squad already has a unit to monitor terror threats domestic and international and used it very diligently tracking protesters during 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests. Too bad this dedication wasn’t present when Frank James mimicked a mass shooting attack on a subway train and promoting extreme measures and final solutions for his targets of indignation and frustration.

Another thing Frank James mass shooting exposed was obnoxious preening by the city’s fauxgressive establishment Democrat elected officials making dickhead self-promoting photo ops feigning to project strength while pathetically trying to muster inspiration for people to continue to use the subway and stay put in the city that is getting less safer every day.

It didn’t take that long for media’s interest in the subway mass shooting to vaporize, because “regular” shootings on the city streets continued to escalate, there were 15 shootings just days after his arrest and there was also a gory fatal attraction murder in Forest Hills that took over the news. But leave it Frank Adams to also make a gory mockery of Mayor Adams continuing failure to prevent gun violence by waiting months to get the NYPD anti-gun units out on the streets following rebranding them as “neighborhood safety teams” and making sure they get re-educated on constitutional rights for future stops and seizures. Which is something they should have learned in school and been reeducated during their academy training when stop and frisk was determined unconstitutional by a judge five years ago. It should also be pointed out that Frank James used a registered gun and not a ghost gun, the latter which is getting the most media attention and has become the weapon of choice on the streets.

So Frank James’ arraignment went down without even much of a peep or even a followup, which doesn’t provide any closure for his victims, one of whom lost the feeling in his legs and lost his job or genuine security for millions of commuters still wary of taking the subway again, but it’s provided solace and security for the kakistocracy that continues to fuck up New York City.

Obviously Known: The COVID Tombs In Industry City

Here are the trailers containing the corpses of over 750 people who died of COVID-19 in the high end hipster community worksite and foodie consumption and wellness culture wonderland Industry City’s backyard hidden lot in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

The bodies have been stored there for nearly a year. Although it’s possible that some could have been recently shipped and left there because the deceased has no one that can claim them.

But to those people who have relations to the dead in these cryonic tombs have to continue to navigate through the city’s kakistocratic red tape to have their relatives moved and finally rest in peace…

THE CITY

The city still has the bodies of about 750 New Yorkers who died during the pandemic in refrigerated trucks at Brooklyn’s 39th Street Pier, with no timetable for when their remains will be moved to Hart Island or elsewhere, officials disclosed this week.

The city will try to reduce the number of bodies being held on the Sunset Park pier “in the near future” and let families know about the transfers, Dina Maniotis, a deputy commissioner with the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, told a City Council committee Wednesday.

Hundreds of bodies have been stored in trucks since April 2020, fluctuating between 500 and nearly 800, according to various medical examiner estimates compiled over the past 13 months by Columbia’s Stabile Center for Investigative Reporting and THE CITY as part of the MISSING THEM project.

Several Council members criticized the slow burial process for those in storage, while others questioned whether state and FEMA funeral assistance programs would meet the growing demand from families.

“Why do we have these temporary storage facilities?” asked City Councilmember Mark Gjonaj, a Democrat whose largely Bronx district includes Hart Island. “If there is capacity and those families have already expressed the willingness to have their loved ones buried in a public burial at Hart Island, why are we delaying that any longer than we have to?”

It’s hard to notice the bleakness with all the hipness, creativity and vibrancy going on here.

 

Turns out even Industry City has two cities…

A Police State Grows In Brooklyn And Permeates The News Coverage.

002Militarized local cop in tank aiming automatic rifle at a rolled-down gate just an hour after the sun rose.

Sunset Park and Crown Heights, Brooklyn, N.Y., America

This was some week in Kings County (that’s Brooklyn to all those only familiar with the brand) for high profile encompassing police activity.

It all started early Saturday morning in Sunset Park last week when 5 men ganged up on another man on the street and one of the perpetrators hit the victim with his gun. The goons ran into a motorcycle club with beat cops on pursuit and hid out there amongst revelers as a party was still raging from the night before.

As the suspects refused to come out, the NYPD came back with a warrant and extra backup to dredge them out. Which is actually understating  it, because they came with a virtual army.

(Photos by Theodore Presirienne, NY Daily News)

In what looks like a real-time embedded report by the NY Daily News, the militaristic deployment of local cops dressed in helmets, shields and toting automatic rifles which usually shows a presence at major transit hubs, parades and civil assembly protests crashed the party and emptied out the club of everyone inside and detained the suspects,who actually came out by themselves and surrendered, as they scared the shit out of the citizenry in the vicinity in a scene that looked like it was raid of a suspected hideout of a terrorist group in Fallujah or Gaza or a invasion by President Assad’s own armed forces in a town he would consider gassing in Syria.

Residents including students on spring break in nearby apartment buildings with views of the dramatic raid were told by the cops to stay away from their windows when they were about to film it on their phones, supposedly for their safety in case there was a shootout. Which makes no goddamn sense considering the ratio of firepower the militia outside was packing to the single gun the thugs used to bash a guy. The suspects eventually came out and surrendered and managed to get everyone inside detained and held in a paddy wagon for hours for their little street crime.

What gives this a high level of intrigue, especially considering that people were being discouraged/ordered by the cops not to film the “standoff”, is how the story was published by Tronc on the Daily News website and the city’s hometown newspaper.

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Although the digital version has the complete story, the print edition just went with a photo montage and a eerily positive headline:

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The online story also underplayed the role the militarized cops from the Emergency Services Division as the print version shows the presence of a armored personnel carrier, or what is more commonly known as a tank.

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What the hell is this cop aiming at anyway? There has to be a wider resolution picture that this derived from. And what the fuck is a tank doing there on a local street in Brooklyn that you would normally see in NY Times international section of military incursions in a local town in Syria or Yemen. And again, what the fuck is a tank with a cop pointing his rifle at a steel roll down gated storefront when there were snipers on the roofs of buildings where people lived who were told not to film anything. The same can be asked for this grandiose and pointless use of military hardware and ordinance for a what is basically a typical arrest attempt of a group of hoodlums.  Unless the point is to show dominance and intimidation to the citizenry to accept a misleading sense of security and safety and a disturbing and risky new method to detain suspected criminals. Clearly the only people who were endangering the public weren’t only the thugs hiding out in some dank club for a few hours but the excessive frightening display of a militarized police force that looked like they were about to throw a coup against a dictator.

The potential for someone getting hit in the crossfire in the chance of any of these weapons being utilized in a dense local area is not being considered at all by N.Y.’s finest, mostly from the orders of the high brass in the precinct in that area or even from One Police Plaza (eh, Commissioner?).

Well, it’s fortunate it didn’t come to that. This time. Since the raid was confirmed to have come to a peaceful end.

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Not so peaceful is the fact that there is absolutely no footage from the militaristic raid, when everything these days is instagrammed, facebooked and twittered by the public.

After this raid reached it’s peaceful end, it might have been safe to assume that some cops might stick around and canvas the area for the rest of the day to protect the public from other street fights or any other random criminal act or more likely to deter sexual assaults since reported rapes are up 25% in the city (no thanks to Harvey Weinstein). But somehow later in the evening there were no cops available by a karaoke club in Sunset Park, where a man inside was stabbed three times in the chest and died after he hailed a cab to take him to a hospital.

But this contradictory coverage of this raid pales in comparison as the vertical integration of journalism imposed by the police reached a nadir a few days later.

https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/saheed-vassell.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=618&h=410&crop=1

In Crown Heights, a man named Saheed Vassell was roaming around the streets holding a metal object pretending to shoot at people. He stopped at a corner in front of a fruit market when 3 patrol vehicles rolled up after 3 911 calls were placed. 5 cops, three plain clothes and two in uniform came out and immediately fired as they exited their cars after Vassal raised his arms holding the object. In less than 10 seconds, 4 of the cops shot him 10 times, 9 bullets hitting vital organs, instantly killing him as he bled on the concrete.

The metal object was a disassembled welding torch.

https://www.usnews.com/dims4/USNEWS/0eb49a2/2147483647/thumbnail/640x420/quality/85/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fmedia.beam.usnews.com%2F48%2Fa36424a3c9fe86e3beb82f5f12241f%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fmedia%3Aec50536c7b81485f8ad11af6d95cfb5bPolice_Shooting_Brookly_78246.jpg

Video footage of Vassal of menacing passerby from store and street cameras was released by the NYPD a day after the shooting interspersed with dictated 911 calls (it’s swift release which CBS News website found to be unusual) . The video has no audio, making it impossible to determine the reactions of the callers or the operators.

 

 

A lot has been written more about Vassell than the 5 cops who showed up and gunned him down. Saheed was a former welder suffering from bipolar disorder, he lived with his family in a two-bedroom apartment and was well-known and beloved by the community there who knew about his mental condition but did not consider him threatening, had a friend who was shot dead by a cop as he tried to steal a car, he had 23 prior arrests.

But as for the 5 cops who gunned him down, no info at all but what the NYPD chose to release. Particularly the alleged fact proffered that the 5 cops assigned to the scene that they never shot at anyone before on duty, have all served on the force for about 6 years (all of them?) and the racial makeup of the officers were two white men, two black men and a southeast Asian man, this being the most specifically transparent of all the information the NYPD released so far. All of the cops were not equipped with body cams. The three plainclothes cops come from the anti-terror and anti-crime units. After shooting him down, the cops cuffed him.

Video footage of when the actual shooting took place was released just a day ago in the NY Post five days after the initial video above showing people running from the scene of the incident and a group of men walking towards Vassell across the street. The video like the others has no audio.

When Saheed’s father went to Kings County hospital to see his son in the medical examirer’s lab, he was turned away by “officials” there, refusing to let him see his son’s body.

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The NY Post assisted the NYPD’s narrative by taking witnesses claims of Vassal as unhinged and terrorizing citizens before the shooting and a story in the NY Daily News describing one witness opinion that it was a clean shoot. The shooting went down less than 10 seconds, during that brief period according to the NYPD, cops exited their vehicles and ordered Vassell to drop it 3 times, Vassell aim his object and the cops shot him down. Although CBSNY interviewed two witnesses  that claimed no one said a word or even a warning that they were cops, which runs counter to the alleged claims of the NYPD’s source, also an unnamed cop, being that they will not release the names of the officers who fired the shots making it difficult to determine who actually gave the warning since no one knows who these cops are.

In the NY Daily News another witness who also never heard any verbal warnings from the cops described the swift reaction to the shooting by describing it as a hit. But judging how quick the cops were to shoot and how precise their shots were to bring him down (with the exception of one bullet that missed and hit a chicken restaurant nearby) and the fact (of the few available) that three of the cops came from special divisions conveys that it was something that the CIA would pull on a suspected terrorist or a foreign adversary. Which makes this incident just as similar and frightening as the militarized police deployment in Sunset Park.

Even though this has shooting has ignited outrage from the community in Crown Heights, the NYPD has meticulously macro-managed the incident. Even though it’s being covered in the daily papers, it has barely made news on television. (And for some reason, it has not been covered by progressive news sources like The Young Turks, as their youtube channel has not made any videos discussing this tragic and preventable shooting even though they have been meticulous in covering every story regarding excessive police force throughout the nation.)

Press conferences following the shooting from NYPD brass have been startling, starting with cop still calling what Vassell was holding a gun even after it was verified it was a piece of junk. Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce stressed how the cops did not have time for other options so they had to fire giving the immediate threat of Vassal’s stance. Even Mayor de Blasio, who was quick to the punch to prosecute a cop for firing his gun and killing Deborah Danner in her apartment when she swung a bat at him, defended this erasatz professional street killing by citing the split second decision the cops assigned there had to make.

Which flies in the face of the neighborhood policing campaign the city has been promoting for the last month. Vassell was a familiar fixture in the neighborhood and everyone knew he was mentally ill but not a consistent threat. Vassell was also well known by the cops in the precinct there so why the necessity to send undercover cops in unmarked vehicles instead of utilizing the neighborhood policing policy and sending precinct cops instead. (Maybe the two uniformed officers were from the precinct covering that area? Everyone is going to have to wait for that.)

And if there was only a split second to predetermine that Vassell was a danger to citizens and to the cops who rolled up, why couldn’t they take another second to determine that he was wielding a piece of junk so to avoid a tragedy and endangering the citizens and children around there? Considering that even in those 911 transcripts that no shots were fired and people couldn’t tell it was a weapon. Or maybe take another second to utilize a pair of binoculars to see what Vassal was actually holding. Because what he was pointing at them with was garbage. It didn’t have a trigger or a handle to grip on.

Apparently what was utilized instead was the precision policing program that is normally used to neutralize gang violence and gun dealing on one disturbed individual.

And what about those 911 calls. In every heavily publicized policing incident, the audio is readily available. The rationale for not disclosing these calls equally makes no sense and is open to interpretation and cynical suspicion. Is it to prevent people from telling what races the callers are? Being that Crown Heights has seen a rising racial makeup change because of rapid gentrification in the town. But why should that matter because these three callers were only worried about the safety of the people on the street at the time. How are could they or more particularly their voices be culpable for the death of Saheed?

Despite constant reassurances from high brass and our mayor, Vassal’s family and the people of Crown Heights as well as every other citizen demanding answers and full accountability and full transparency are being undermined by the machinations of the NYPD of what is ostensibly to build their case to justify the shooting as the investigation by the A.G. is in it’s nascent stage. As all the conflating descriptions of the shooting by the anonymous cops is set to assure their acquittal or even file a case against them at all.

If there are conflations to be made relevant to this killing of an innocent though mentally disturbed man, the manufactured justification for it to go with the media manipulation of the evidence and the coverage, look no further than any of the shootings resulting from excessive force in the midst of an arrest or an escalation during a routine stop or suspicion in the widespread publicized killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castle, Tamir Rice and Ramarley Graham, whose mother joined the Vassal family in solidarity to protest in front of City Hall on Friday.

And in eerily similar cases last March when Stephon Clark was gunned down in his grandmother’s backyard in a fusillade of bullets and also handcuffed as he bled out on the grass and Danny Ray Thomas, a mentally disturbed man who was shot to death by a cop after he approached him with his pants down to his ankles.

It’s like there’s a proclivity to shoot immediately under the slightest perceived or arbitrary threat. It might not only be from lack of training to handle situations with mentally disturbed people but from a pragmatic policy. Because video footage from 12 years ago surfaced last week of a sheriff who’s running for re-election was asking and answering a rhetorical question on a hot mic to reporter on how it’s more frugal for government finances to kill a suspect than it is to wound them.

“When a deputy shoots somebody, which way is better financially? To cripple them or kill them for the county?”

“Kill them?” someone off camera asks before Youngblood answers “Absolutely.”

“Because if you cripple them you have to take care of them for life and that cost goes way up,” he said.

Since we don’t know anything currently about the cops who shot down Vassel on a street corner in cold blood, something like this theory this asshole sheriff blathered out loud 12 years ago could be kind of an open secret or unofficial policy to enact swift lethal justice on people deemed to be expendable.

But for now we all have to wait till the investigation is final to know the intentions and names of the four cops and even for the entire footage that the NYPD has released in scant selective drips. This media whitewashing of the killing just might be under the influence and gamesmanship of recently appointed NYPD spokesman Phil Walszak, whose previous duties were to make de Blasio look good and act as an editor-in-chief to the press by demanding of them to only ask questions only about the topic the Mayor was discussing or interested in. His presence and the city’s (current) exploitation of the 50-a civil rights law protecting criminally incompetent and corrupt cops from the public’s demands of prior offenses while on and off the job.

Despite all the care being utilized to mollify the public of these situations, which is being met with hardened cynicism considering recent history and the fact that the handling of this shooting is straining credibility, compounded by the fact that Mayor de Blasio has no credibility at all, this is truly only the beginning. For now it appears that the integration of beat and militarized cops is now being implemented with regular crime-fighting, (d)evolving from the initial use of them for the free assemblage of protesters and exhibitions of defense from unconfirmed terrorist threats.

Which will inevitably lead to more unfortunate events like the street killing of Saheed Vassell and who knows what else since every citizen is being kept in the dark just so the Mayor and his NYPD can look competent and caring. Which will lead to more anger and confusion among the constituency, more protests that will lead to clashes between the people and the heavily armored cops and more expensive lawsuits and settlements against the NYPD, all of which definitely will not result in a-

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Update

A video made by a citizen Jose Lasalle of the community activist group CopWatch was released by news magazine The Indypendent of the scene possibly minutes after the shooting of Saheed Vassell by four police officers:

The video shows a police vehicle blocking the intersection and two cars in the middle of it, a woman confronting the cops who are motioning for her to back away but she still is able to get at a cop’s face. Cops surrounding the body and the two plainclothes cops standing on the corner where Vassell is lying dead on the sidewalk.

One of the plainclothes cop’s is wearing a T-shirt of The Punisher logo. The Punisher is a superhero comic book character who metes out justice by shooting and killing his foes and criminals on sight.

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The Patch website for Crown Heights has the entire texts of the 911 calls.

The city has still not released the audio of the 911 calls nor the names of the cops.