Big Red News
July 26, 1986
Tenants Say Police
Act As Landlord Goons
By Paul DeRienzo
According to a group of Harlem residents, on May 7th, members of the New
York City Police Dept. used sledgehammers to illegally enter their homes,
seeking to evict them.
Tenants of 36 West 130th Street, part of the historic Harlem district
called Astor Row, charged that officers from the 32nd Precinct working
with Helen Daniels, the landlord, came into their home without a search
warrant, with name tags obscured and guns drawn.
According to Dolores Shepard, who has lived at 36 West 130th Street for
twelve years, officers went into an apartment and placed a gun at a tenant’s
head. "The landlord wants you out by Friday" the officers said.
The next day according to supporters from Harlem Reclamation Project,
three of-the officers returned and repeated the warning. However, when
supporters went to the 32nd Precinct to complain, they were told there
was no record of the visits.
Ensia Akuffa-Bea, a representative of Harlem Reclamation Project, said
the harassment continued on May 21st when plainclothes police showed up–asking
for Dolores Shepard. One of the officers, a white man, introduced himself
as Marvin Blue.
Later when tenants and supporters visited the 32nd Precinct they discovered
that Marvin Blue was a Black community affairs officer.
I. Akuffa-Bea said the man who earlier had said he was Blue happened to
be at the precinct. He was a narcotics division Lieutenant named Farrel.
On the basis of this incident and the earlier visits to 36 West 130th
Street, Harlem Reclamation Project filed a complaint with the Police Civilian
Complaint Review Board for the tenants, charging officers from the 32nd
Precinct with "abuse of authority."
A tree lined oasis among the housing projects and dilapidated buildings
of central Harlem, West 130th Street between Lenox and 5th Ave. was designated
a landmark district by New York City in 1981.
However, despite the blocks outward tranquility tenants from 36 West 130th
St. have been without water and electricity since June when pipes and
wiring in the basement were found vandalized. They charge the damage was
done by crack users employed by a neighbor, Robert Acres, who claims to
be the building's superintendent.
Shepard says that Acres 4ho lives nearby at 22 West 130th Street began
accompanying Daniels on visits to the building shortly after-she purchased
the building four months ago. She alleges that Acres pays drug addicts
who stole ‘the building’s electric meter cut phone lines and
then shut off water valves.
Shepard also says she fears Acres who she says has threatened her for
being what he called, a "ringleader" of the other tenants. According
to officers at the 32nd Precinct, Robert Acres’ home at 22 West
130th Street is under investigation for narcotic sales. When informed
of the police inquiry, Helen Daniels said She was unaware of any investigation
of Acres’ house. Contrary to Acres’ statement that he was
her super, Daniels insisted that Acres is a friend but has never worked
On June 29th, Harlem Reclamation. Project, Harlem Fightback and several
other organizations organized a rally of 50 people in front of 36 West
130th Street. Speakers denounced gentrification, police corruption and
linked the police intrusions at the house with the violent repression
of Blacks in South Africa and the massacre of Move members in Philadelphia
The rally marched to the 32nd Cont. p. 25 Precinct where protesters demanded
LA. Farrel from narcotics meet with them. While he didn’t appear,
precinct Captain Thomas Walsh said7he was aware of a Civilian Complaint
Review Board inquiry of officers in the precinct and an ongoing investigation
of narcotics sales on 130th Street.
According to the Civilian Complaint Review Board a report on the charges
of police abuse of authority must be released by September.
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