Queens Lawmakers on the Move September 10, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Koo Holds Census Event at Food Distribution

City Council Member Peter Koo/via Facebook

City Councilmember Peter Koo (D-Downtown Flushing, Murray Hill, Queensboro Hill) and Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) joined with ICNA Relief on Wednesday at its weekly food distribution in Flushing to help community members complete their census questionnaires just 21 days before a federal deadline to end the count for the 2020 Census.

“This food pantry at ICNA Relief is just one of many in our community that could benefit from a full and accurate census count. Every week, people line the streets in our community for emergency food assistance that has been made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. Filling out the census will ensure the rights and needs of every person is counted when our government determines what funding will go to policies, programs and services. Far too many times in the past, immigrants, people of color, and particularly the Asian community, have not benefited from an accurate census count. As a result, our community gets short changed time after time. We need to make sure everyone is counted and our community is represented, and I thank all our AAFE, ICNA, and all our partners in advocating for a full count for Census 2020,” Koo said.  

Billions of dollars for critical social services, health care, education and transportation are on the line in the decennial census. Full participation is the only way to ensure that hard to count communities such as Flushing receive their fair share. The federal government abruptly decided to end counting on September 30, one month early, in spite of numerous challenges impeding a complete count due to COVID-19. A federal judge has blocked the government’s efforts to shut down the count until a September 17 court hearing.

Addabbo Thankful for Indoor Dining

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside and The Rockaways) released the following statement about the announcement that restaurants will be allowed to serve diner indoors at 25% capacity starting September 30: 

“I am pleased to see that New York City will be able to join our neighboring Nassau County and enjoy indoor dining starting on September 30th, allowing restaurants to continue to operate as the colder months approach,” said Addabbo. “This will allow many restaurant owners along vital commercial strips in my district like Cross Bay Boulevard, Metropolitan Avenue, Myrtle Avenue, Main Street, Grand Avenue and Rockaway Beach Boulevard to remain in business and bring employees back, providing an economic boost to the state. The strict restrictions put in place by Governor Cuomo — such as 25% capacity, temperature checks and more — will help keep New Yorkers safe as we enter this new phase of reopening and together practice our safety precautions. I look forward to monitoring how this unfolds and exploring how we can expand it if our COVID-19 numbers remain low.”

DA Katz Charges Man for Labor Day Stabbing Death

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Tuesday that James Williams, 51, is facing murder and weapons charges for allegedly stabbing a 29-year-old Brooklyn man to death on Labor Day. 

The two men encountered one another near a Far Rockaway nail salon on the Labor Day holiday and started arguing with one another.

“The defendant instigated a fleeting disagreement and allegedly turned it into a deadly tragedy. Acting out with violence is never the answer to resolve a dispute. This altercation ended with a man brutally losing his life. This defendant is in custody and will be held accountable for his alleged rage-fueled criminal attack,” said Katz.

Katz said that, according to the charges, shortly after 3:55 p.m. on Monday, September 7, police responded to reports of a fight across from a nail salon in a common walking path off Beach 20th Street. Upon their arrival, police found the victim, Massiah Berkley, of Brownsville in Brooklyn, lying face up and bleeding from his chest. The 20-year-old victim was rushed to a nearby hospital, but died from the injuries. 

According to the complaint, witnesses saw the defendant and the victim arguing. The heated dispute turned violent with Williams allegedly pulling out a knife and stabbing Mr. Berkley. Shortly after the bloody knife attack, police apprehended the defendant a short distance from the scene.

Williams, of New Haven Avenue in Far Rockaway, is awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on a complaint charging him with murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 25 years to life in prison.