Family members of the 15-year-old girl who was beaten and robbed of her Air Jordan sneakers by a group of young men say they are horrified by the broad daylight attack in their community.
Local leaders gathered Saturday at Utica Avenue and Sterling Place in Crown Heights, where on Thursday, the young girl was beaten and robbed. The rally was attended by Councilman Robert Cornegy, who represents the area, and led by community activist Tony Herbert, who is also the victim’s uncle.
“We are here to talk about violence in our community, not police-on-police violence, but black-on-black crime,” Herbert said. “That’s the problem for us now because our community has to step up and understand we are our own worst enemies when it comes down to this kind of stupidity.”
Cops say the young girl was walking along Utica Avenue at around 4 pm Thursday when the group of young men attacked her. The assailants were caught on camera punching and kicking the victim in the back of the head until she lost consciousness, after which one of the suspects robs the young girl of the Air Jordan sneakers she was wearing. Police believe up to a dozen teens or more were involved in the attack. According to authorities, five suspects have been arrested so far, all of them juveniles.
Emily Leitch, the godmother of a 14-year-old suspect, apologized to family members at Saturday’s event.
“His mother didn’t raise him to come out and do these things,” Leitch said. “I stepped up to apologize to this family, to the young lady because it was not right.”
Leitch said the suspect’s mother walked her son into the precinct following the attack. “She [was] one of the first to step up and have him deserve the justice for whatever he did,” the godmother said. “We will work together with the cops and the community to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
One eyewitness, who identified herself only as June, said she and others who watched the attack unfold are still in shock. “I said ‘Get off her, get off her,’ but they wouldn’t get off her,” June said. “I screamed until I lost my voice.”
“Nobody should have to witness that,” Cornegy said.
Jacqualine Hamilton, the victim’s aunt told the crowd her niece is “traumatized.”
“It’s a sad situation and we have to take control as a community — enough is enough,” Hamilton said. “Young black people are dying every day and hurt every day. Young people in general — black, white, Spanish — are being affected. It’s important that we pray. We have to pull together as a community.”