public safety

Fighting a Solitary Battle

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Correctional officers brought Tama Bell’s mentally ill son to the brink of suicide for throwing a rag on a table, she says.

Bell’s son, Masai, was at Mid­-State Correctional Facility in Marcy, N.Y., in 2014 for a psychiatric evaluation and had gotten a job there. Inmates and officers were making fun of him when he was cleaning tables and told him to redo it, she said. He grew resentful of their prodding, threw the rag on the table and walked away.

The officers then made the other inmates leave the room. They beat him up, Bell said, and sent her son to solitary confinement for 23 hours a day at Auburn Correctional in Auburn, N.Y. He stayed there, wallowing for three months. By the time he entered his second month of 23-hour-a-day solitary, he started talking about suicide, she said.


G Train Growing Pains

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

For decades, commuters in Brooklyn relied on the G train primarily to connect them to Manhattan-bound trains. In recent years, ridership of the G has risen with the influx of new residents into Williamsburg and Greenpoint, as well as with the extension of the line, connecting riders to booming Brooklyn neighborhoods like Carroll Gardens and Park Slope.

Statistics released earlier this year show subway ridership at levels not seen since the 1940s, with Brooklyn leading the spike. Two G train stops – Flushing Avenue and Court Square – were among the top 10 stations in logging increased MetroCard swipes.

But the G train boom has brought growing pains in the form of frequent service and maintenance issues, commuters say. For many riders, a derailment Thursday caused by a crumbling wall underscored the G train’s mounting importance – and vulnerability.


Friday, June 19th, 2015

Search for a Lost Son

Friday, June 19th, 2015

Brian Gewirtz, a 20-year-old man with autism, went missing from his Brooklyn home the morning of February 17, 2015.

His parents, Kathy and Steve, along with an extended family of volunteers launched a weeks-long search for him, with every minute chipping away at hope.

“It’s not knowing that’s difficult for the family,” said Kathy Gewirtz, 48. “It feels like a funeral without the funeral, because you don’t know.”

According to a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2012, almost half of all children with autism are prone to wandering. For people with autism, who have difficulty communicating and understanding danger, leaving the safe confines of home can too often end in heartbreak for all concerned.


Friday, May 29th, 2015


Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

SPECIAL REPORT: Without a Badge

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Private Eye Aims For Answers

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Baltimore Unrest’s Local Echoes

Thursday, April 30th, 2015