2018-05-02 / Front Page

Officer Kamara Honored At 108th Precinct Meeting

By Thomas Cogan

Patrol Officer Magna Kamara holds the Cop of the Month plaque awarded to her for making a January arrest, even after being injured by the suspect she was pursuing. To the (r.) of her is Commander Captain Ralph Forgione of the 108th Precinct. Others include Diane Ballek (far l.), President Of The Precinct Community Council, and Frank Corrado (far r.), “Mayor” of Long Island City.Photo by Donald CorrPatrol Officer Magna Kamara holds the Cop of the Month plaque awarded to her for making a January arrest, even after being injured by the suspect she was pursuing. To the (r.) of her is Commander Captain Ralph Forgione of the 108th Precinct. Others include Diane Ballek (far l.), President Of The Precinct Community Council, and Frank Corrado (far r.), “Mayor” of Long Island City.Photo by Donald CorrThe 108th Police Precinct Community Council meeting on April 24 opened with a Cop of the Month award for action.

On Sunday morning, January 28, Patrol Officer Magna Kamara was on a “pay detail,” an off-duty gig that she was permitted to perform in uniform. While on the job, she reportedly was approached by a man who asked her some questions about religion and then grew increasingly agitated. Finally he allegedly attempted to grab the officer’s gun, managed to wrest it from her, then made a run for it. Officer Kamara pursued him, and at one point he turned and threw a mobile phone at her, striking her in the face with it and inflicting injury that later required eight stitches.

Wounded but determined, PO Kamara stayed in pursuit, drawing her Armament Systems and Procedures (ASP) baton and hitting him with it. It brought the alleged attacker down and at the same time another officer arrived. They fully apprehended the man, who was arrested as Kamara was taken to a hospital for treatment. She was selected for a Cop of the Month award that was at last awarded in April. Her marriage was also delayed, and took place in April.

Commander Captain Ralph Forgione read the crime report for the preceding 28 days. There were no murders committed in the precinct during that time, with the local murder occurrence for the same period of 2017 also being zero. There were no rapes this year, compared to one last year. Robberies were at four, down from five; felonious assaults were at six, down from eight. The burglary score was even: 10 this year, 10 last. Grand larceny was down to 33 from 41, but grand larceny auto was up six-fold, being 12 this year where last year’s total was only two. The Captain said that as of the evening of the meeting there had been four arrests relating to that large list of stolen autos, and among those arrested were a pair of brothers alleged to have stolen at least 25 vehicles. The grand total was 65 index crimes for the most recent four-week period, 67 for the same period last year.

At question time, a man asked the commander how many felonious offenses were committed in the precinct in the past three years.  Capt. Officer Forgione couldn’t speak for a three-year period, just the last two years. He said that crimes trended down for the last year thus far, though grand larceny auto looked to be trending up if the latest comparison (12-2) is any indication. He said that there have been no homicides for nearly two years now, which, he added, is the longest homicide-free period in the precinct since the 1950s.

He said that body cameras, now making their way into the command, should prove very useful, though “they work for us and against us.”  He wore one recently to trap a suspect on a “shots fired” charge originating in the 104th Precinct. There were a total of three suspects, two of whom were apprehended. The third was stopped for running a stop sign and found to have no license. The captain tried to link him to the shooting charge but the suspect denied everything. A search of the car yielded a sweatshirt that might have been photographed at the time those shots were fired. The suspect became angrily talkative and the captain let his camera and recorder run, picking up further information that might be used against him.

Two parents and their young son, along with his grandmother, were at the meeting to confer with the police about an ongoing incident in the play yard of All Saints Church on 46th Street and 43rd Avenue.  

On several recent mornings, the boy and many of his young friends had been playing in that yard, which is close beneath the rear windows of an apartment house at 43-15 45th St. The noise they made was disruptive to a woman who said she worked at night and in the morning found the loud children hard to bear. She let the kids know how bothered she was, until she became known as “the screaming lady.”

The matter was brought up to the pastor of All Saints and quickly became an official dispute. The police were brought in to mediate. On the night of the precinct meeting it had fallen to the parents and the grandparent in attendance to represent several other parents in negotiations involving them, their children, the police and the woman.  The boy’s mother said it had been determined already that the kids would not be let into the yard before 10:00 a.m. 

A meeting with the woman was on schedule for the next day, apparently to bring the incident to a conclusion.

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