The man who hit an NYPD detective with a stick while he probed a robbery was pictured appearing in court on Tuesday and was ordered to receive a psychiatric evaluation as serious crime has spiraled in New York City.
Akeele Morgan, 25, appeared in Queens Criminal Court for an arraignment relating to a brazen daytime attack on Monday in which he allegedly hit an NYPD detective over the head with a stick. However, the arraignment was delayed when he failed to cooperate with the court.
Morgan, of the Bronx, had been arrested on Monday morning and was questioned by officers with the 109th precinct before he was brought to the courthouse early Tuesday morning. He wore the same clothes he was in when he was caught on video during the attack.
He was uncooperative with court officials the entire morning and refused to talk to his lawyer or anybody else. When Morgan finally did appear to agree to talk to his lawyer, he said he would only talk directly to the judge – who initially declined his request but decided to allow it as long as his lawyer was present.
When Morgan appeared before the judge, he continued to remain silent – and when asked questions, he would both shake and nod his head indicating the answer as both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ while refusing to answer verbally.
Eventually, the court gave Morgan two weeks to complete a psychiatric evaluation to determine if he is fit to stand trial and, depending on the results, he will either finally be arraigned or committed for psychiatric treatment.
Akeele Morgan, 25, appeared in Queens Criminal Court for an arraignment relating to a brazen daytime attack on Monday in which he allegedly hit an NYPD detective over the head with a stick
However, the arraignment was delayed when Morgan failed to cooperate with the court on Tuesday – which ordered him to complete a psychiatric evaluation
On Monday afternoon, a detective in Queens was hit over the head with a plastic baton by a man believed to be Morgan as he investigated a scene. Morgan was arrested not far from the scene on 39th Avenue, near Prince Street in Flushing.
The Sergeant’s Benevolent Association (SBA) – which represents more than 11,000 current and past NYPD officers, tweeted ‘Welcome to the city of violence’ while attacking Mayor Bill de Blasio for investing $30 million on boosting tourism instead of tackling crime.
They spoke out as an unnamed 20-year-old man was shot and killed in broad daylight near Manhattan’s Park Avenue on Monday.
Jason Rivera, 35, was shot and killed in the Bronx on Friday night after he helped a disorientated man, asking: ‘Are you OK?’ and helping him onto a bench in the Parkchester area
Monday’s shooting – said to be linked to a cannabis deal gone wrong – came at the end of a week that saw 50 people shot across the city.
That is a 257 per cent spike from the same time last year, when the pandemic forced New Yorkers into their homes.
From 12am on Friday until midnight on Sunday, 31 people were wounded in 28 shootings, and six killed.
Among those who lost their lives was Jason Rivera, 35, who shot and killed in the Bronx on Friday while asking a man sat on a bench if he was okay.
On Saturday, an unnamed former NYPD cop was hit by a stray bullet after leaving a party a group of men had been turned away from, prompting them to open fire.
The 30 year-old was struck in the stomach, and is expected to survive her injuries.
A man in an orange hoodie, named by police as Akeele Morgan, 25, of the Bronx, hits an officer on the head
The officer, working in Queens, recoils in pain and Morgan looks on, before running away and being arrested
A New York police officer inspects the car where a 20-year-old man was killed on East 95th St near Lexington and Park Avenue on Monday during a suspected drug deal gone wrong
Police cordon off the scene of Monday’s fatal shooting. Park Avenue is visible at the top of the hill. The leafy neighborhood is full of multimillion-dollar homes
A police officer stands guard in the Upper East Side on Monday afternoon after the shooting, just across the street from a Honda belonging to the victim
The dented front of the Upper East Side victim’s car. It’s unclear if the damage is connected
The neighborhood is home to famous faces including Bette Midler, with the SBA union claiming Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policies have cause crime to rocket
Earlier this month, a concerned Brooklyn mother called Nicole confronted under-fire Mayor Bill DeBlasio during a radio phone-in about shootings in New York, and asked him ‘What’s being done?’
The mayor blamed COVID-19 for the crime spike, saying: ‘I think it comes back to this horrible combination of things we saw, you know, people didn’t have jobs, almost a million people lost their jobs, schools were closed, houses of worship were closed. Things really were falling apart.’
DeBlasio went on to hail reopening measures, which he claims will cut crime as people return to work, and also cited his ‘community based solutions to gun violence.’
He went on to cite two anti-gun crime initiatives, called Cure Violence Movement and Crisis Management System.
Cure’s website claims it ‘leverages young men of color’ to act as ‘credible messengers of an anti-violence message’ in areas hit hard by gun crime.
Crisis Management System deploys mediators to try and cool down brewing conflicts before they spill into violence, and connect ‘high risk individuals’ to services aimed at stopping them from offending.
De Blasio oversaw in June a $1 billion reduction in New York Police Department’s $6 billion budget, at the height of the ‘defund the police’ protests.
The deal involved moving school safety agents, who are unarmed but wear police uniforms, into the Department of Education; canceling a July class of roughly 1,100 police recruits; and shifting certain homeless outreach operations away from police control.
Critics say it has made the city less safe. De Blasio has been met with widespread disdain by New York’s officers, and will complete his second and final term as mayor in office in November.
Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, is accused by critics of ignoring gun violence in the city
On Tuesday, to combat gun crime, he announced that the NYPD will reassign 200 officers to areas where New York has seen the highest rates of gun violence as part of their annual Summer All Out program.
Rodney Harrison, the NYPD Chief of Department, said the ‘bulk’ of those officers would be moved to East New York and Brownsville, which have seen gun violence upticks of 67 per cent and 88 per cent, respectively.
He also noted Bronx neighborhoods, Mott Haven, Highbridge and Crotona, would get some additional patrols.
However, critics noted that those areas were singled out for additional policing last year, but with 300 additional officers.
De Blasio has tried to downplay the crime, insisting: ‘Everything’s interconnected, bringing back the city, bringing back the jobs, bringing back the schools.’
Yet this month alone a five-year-old was shot in Brooklyn, a tourist shot in crossfire in Manhattan and a 66-year-old Asian man sucker-punched in the Bronx.
On Wednesday, a 51-year-old woman was shot dead by another woman in broad daylight on a Brooklyn street in the affluent Park Slope district.
The wealthy Manhattan enclave was taped off on Monday afternoon following the shooting
This week the NYPD has also detailed plans to discuss additional patrols, in areas of midtown Manhattan where business owners are concerned.
Dan Biederman, president of the 34th Street Partnership, a business-improvement district covering parts of midtown Manhattan, told The Wall Street Journal that increased numbers of aggressive panhandlers and people experiencing mental-health crises have made some office workers and shoppers cautious about returning to the area.
NYPD statistics show that assaults, robberies, auto thefts and burglaries have risen this year in the Midtown South police precinct, where the 34th Street Partnership is located.
‘Really our biggest problem right now is erratic behavior from people on the street,’ Biederman said.
‘We have complaints of emotionally disoriented people, or people on drugs, yelling at the top of their lungs.’
So far this year 416 people have been shot citywide, compared to 242 by the same time last year – a 72 per cent increase, according to Fox News.
Murders are up by nine per cent, with 120 recorded through April 25, compared to 110 over the same timeframe last year.
The Upper East Side shooting happened at 2:10pm on Monday afternoon, on East 95th and Lexington Avenue – an area that Bette Midler, Jimmy Choo founder Tamara Mellon and late artist Mark Rothko all called home.
The unnamed victim was shot in a parked car.
Police suspect that it was a marijuana deal gone wrong, and say a large bag of it was found inside the victim’s car. Possession of the drug is legal in the state, but selling it is not.
‘There is a considerable amount of marijuana in the car. They haven’t gotten to it yet because they need a warrant,’ a police source told the Daily News.
The victim was sitting in the back of the car when he was shot.
The gunman got inside the car, and shot him in the heart, then got out and ran away.
The driver of the vehicle, and the front seat passenger, were questioned by police.
The victim was taken to Mount Sinai Morningside, but could not be saved.
The weekend began with another shooting, of a 35-year-old who stopped to ask if a man was OK, before being shot and killed.
Jason Rivera, 35, pictured with his wife Shantay White, 30. White said she was not surprised he died helping someone
Jason Rivera was shot and killed in the Parkchester area of the Bronx at 11:42pm on Friday
Police have released an image (above) of the man they are seeking in connection with Rivera’s murder
White has three children with Rivera, and is currently pregnant with twins
Rivera lived in the Bronx before moving to Staten Island around two years ago, White said
Jason Rivera, a father of three whose wife is expecting twins, was murdered in the Parkchester area of the Bronx at 11:42pm on Friday.
His last words, caught on security camera, were him bending over a man slumped on a bench.
‘You good?’ he asked the man, described by the New York Daily News as a 43-year-old disturbed man, who had been seen behaving erratically in a nearby park. ‘You OK?’
The cameras caught sight of a man walking past them, having arrived in a Mercedes SUV.
He then doubled back, and shot and killed Rivera.
Rivera, who had recently relocated from the street where he was killed in the Bronx to Staten Island, was described by his wife as having ‘a good heart’.
Shantay White, 30, told the Daily News that his death while helping someone else did not surprise her.
‘He’s always been like that,’ said White. ‘People know him over there for that. People just know him, period, for that.’
Rivera and White are parents to a seven-year-old girl, three-year-old girl and two-year-old boy.
White, who met Rivera on the block where they lived until two years ago, and where he was killed, said he had issues with some people in the neighborhood.
But, she added, she did not believe it was anything serious.
‘It wasn’t to where it had to be something like this,’ she said.
‘His beef was minor beef, like guy beef stuff, you know. It wasn’t something for somebody to have that much hatred, to take their time to sit and actually wait for him.’
She said she was shocked at the crime.
‘There were kids in the park.
‘The block that it happened on seemed kind of busy at the time. It seemed like people were outside.
‘And for the person to just walk away and go back the same way.’