By Rich Bockmann
Tensions at the Baisley Park Houses were high over the weekend after police arrested two men outside the southeast Queens public housing project Friday night, prompting dozens of angry residents to march to the 113th Precinct where they were met by police in riot gear, community leaders said.
Police said that around 7:15 p.m. Friday, officers from the precinct suspecting a drug deal attempted to stop a 2008 Chrysler 300 near Foch and Guy R. Brewer boulevards.
When the officers tried to remove 33-year-old Corey Crichlow from the car, they allegedly saw him swallow what was believed to be crack cocaine, according to the NYPD.
Crichlow then pushed one of the officers to the ground and as sergeants struggled with him a second man, 27-year-old Raynard Fields, stepped in and got involved in the confrontation, police said.
The NYPD said an unknown person began throwing rocks and bottles as additional officers arrived on the scene, and one officer was taken to Elmhurst Hospital for back and hand injuries.
A group of 40 protesters then marched nearly a mile to the precinct house, where they were met by police in riot gear. The NYPD said the protesters were orderly outside the station.
A.U. Hogan, president of the Baisley Park Houses tenant association, said he led the march in an effort to keep the residents from breaking out in violence.
“I figured if I walk with them and calm them down, they’re not going to fight the police officers,” he said. “It was a struggle to calm some of the residents down and to make sure there were only two people arrested. I made sure that the same amount of people I brought down to the precinct returned.”
Police said Crichlow was taken to Elmhurst Hospital for possible ingestion of drugs and charged with disorderly conduct, assault on an officer, tampering with evidence, obstruction and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Raynard was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstruction, police said.
Hogan said the two were released Monday afternoon and the incident exemplified the strained relationship between police and the community.
“Baisley Park Houses was not the one in the wrong that evening,” he said. “They’re not going to roll on St. Albans or the Rochdale Village Co-op like that.”
Leroy Gadsden, president of the Jamaica branch of the NAACP, said there was a second confrontation the following evening when he was conducting a workshop with some of the residents.
He said police showed up with hats and bats claiming they got a call about people blocking the sidewalk.
“People feel like they’re getting picked on again. You’ve got an army of officers coming across the street trying to calm people down coming with clubs like they want to bust people’s heads open,” he said. “How come at 6:30 you had 10 cars and 10 vans there in less than five minutes? What caused this? That’s what we need to find out.”
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.