Herkimer Mobbing – Joyce Barton, Sgt. Tall, Officer Short

by Stephen Ames Berry

 

It’s been quiet along Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue. We’re keeping busy remodeling and writing posts that we hadn’t gotten around to, besieged as we were the last several years by neighborly attacks on ourselves, our pets and our home. As Herkimer has a new police chief, we’ll be having posts about past incidents involving some of his officers. We’re beginning with the Herkimer mobbing incident of June 15, 2015.

Herkimer criminals lend new meaning to homesteading
Outpost 330 – Herkimer Criminal Neighbors Give Fresh Meaning To Homesteading

It’s obvious that deprived of work hustling product from now-absent meth cookeries and crack makers, many of South Herkimer’s once abundant scrotes  have moved on. Pleasant Avenue is down to two homes owned by career criminal families, either in their own names or through proxies, and one homeowner who consistently rents her property to various members of a well-protected regional crime family.

State and federal law enforcement, augmented by surveillance drones, have swept the streets of Herkimer Village clear of its traditional  in-your-face wholesale drug trafficking. Attempts to move narcotics trafficking into the woods near the village were reported and crushed. 

Herkimer Police Stand Fast

Yet one Herkimer institution that’s endured unchanged through all the tumult of our three years on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue is the Herkimer Police. In our experience, they’ve never heard a complaint worth taking, though some of its officers have proven quick to respond to the needs of well-monied criminals. (We do like several of the Herkimer cops, who do the best they can, boats against the stream.  My naming them probably wouldn’t help their careers.)

333 Pleasant Avenue Herkimer mobbing – June 15, 2015

One of our first experiences with a Herkimer police response was on June 15, 2015. The below is from my email of 6/22/15 to Herkimer Mayor Anthony Brindisi, supplemented by later information. (Mayor Brindisi is reportedly a former Herkimer police officer.)

My entire touchingly naive email to Mayor Brindisi follows at the end of this post. It was written before we realized that Herkimer enjoyed a wide reputation as pirate haven, it’s booming cash economy driven by well-protected, interlaced networks of criminals, protected by a co-opted local government. The orchestrated mobbing incident below is a typical ploy used by drug gangs to maintain turf control. (I’ve added the bracket information.)

Herkimer's Joyce Barton and Douglas Barton
Herkimer’s Joyce Barton and Douglas Barton in happier days

From my letter to Mayor Brindisi:

This past Wednesday evening,  we were the focal point of an obviously preplanned and terrifying outpouring of mob hatred triggered when my wife asked ball playing children in front of our home to please stop throwing objects at our house, notably a ball at the side, and rocks at the security camera covering our driveway. About 40 people stood watching from the opposite sidewalk and the porch of 333 Pleasant Ave.

Joyce Barton's 333 Pleasant Ave Herkimer NY
Barton Residence 333 Pleasant Avenue Herkimer

Within less than 30 seconds of her polite request of the ballplayer children, who were quite polite, the adults poured off the opposite sidewalk and the porch of 333 Pleasant Ave. and into the street, screaming at my wife, with one of them (Joyce Barton of 333) coming  within inches of my wife’s face and screaming that my wife was “crazy” “all cracked out” and “stupid.” The invective continued, with others, notably the red-faced male in his twenties (see below) repeatedly coming up to within inches of my wife’s face, showering her with similar invective.

Hearing the din, I rushed outside. People came up to our faces, taunting us.  Out of the raw chaos and tumult of the mob, we recall such distinctive phrases as: “Go back to Florida!” “Stay on your side of the street! “Don’t yell at my daughter!”(Joyce Barton again—very much a ringleader. We never raised our voices.) “Punch me! Punch me!” (This last screamed said by several as they thrust their faces into ours, notably again Joyce Barton, of 333.)

Former Herkimer Deputy Fire Chief Douglas Barton's Former Helmet
Following his garage fire, Douglas Barton is no longer a deputy chief

And, most frightening of all twice,
“We’re going to burn you out!” (This from a man in front of Deputy Fire Chief Douglas Barton’s 333 Pleasant Ave, whom my wife believes she can identify.)

I called 911.  [911 was utterly disbelieving.] Before the police arrived, I was assailed by a red-faced male in his twenties who told me inches from my face to “get off our fucking street!” and when asked who he was, said “None of your motherfucking business.” He appeared to be either drunk or high. Our exchange continued for a moment. (A former behavior teacher, I never raise my voice in a volatile situation.) He concluded by spitting at my feet and storming back to the porch 333 Pleasant Avenue. The moment before, he’d subjected my wife to the same treatment, complete with spit.

Herkimer Police Response – Sgt Tall and Officer Short

Herkimer Police
Herkimer Police Sgt Tall & Officer Short

Two Herkimer police officers  responded. In the chaos we didn’t capture their names, but have since referred to them as Officer Short and Sergeant Tall.  As they appeared, about ten people scuttled from the street, leaving about 25-30 people there, notably those from 333, headed by Joyce [Barton] and reinforced by the red-faced chap, who were the most vocal and aggressive. The sergeant went to [amiably] question the people congregating across from us on and around the porch of 333 Pleasant Ave, leaving us in front of our house with Officer Short. [later revealed to be  Officer John Scholl.]

Officer Short-Scholl took our names and asked my wife if we could have precipitated events by crossing “to their side of the street,” seemingly affirming our assailants in their belief that they owned a public area.  She said no. My wife asked [Officer Scholl] if he was familiar with what’s been happening on this street to us over the past year [see letter below], given the numerous police responses. He said no. She attempted to brief him, but after about three sentences his eyes and his attention wandered and he appeared overcome by boredom. He told her to contact the landlords of our assailants and perhaps, after multiple complaints, they’d evict them. “You never know.” She then asked him how many people are allowed to congregate in a public street and if there’s any statute governing this? He said there was no limitation or statute, adding that “Herkimer’s very casual about it.”

New York Penal Code – Article 240 – § 240.10, Unlawful Assembly, clearly defines what was happening on Pleasant Avenue as “an unlawful and tumultuous activity likely to cause alarm,” a Class B misdemeanor. [The mob members were also committing First and Second Degree Harassment.]

Things having quieted down somewhat in front of 333 Pleasant Ave, Sergeant Tall then rejoined [Officer Scholl] and us.  My wife…told him twice of the man from 333 threatening us with arson, which the sergeant twice ignored. [As with much else in Herkimer, it’s wise to hear nothing.]

herkimer ny government
The 3 Wise Monkeys of Herkimer

Then, shockingly, the officers departed without dispersing the remaining 20-30 still hostile belligerents once again lining the sidewalk across from our home.

herkimer-ny-pleasant-avenue-visual-motif-june-2015
What the Herkimer Police Left When They Skedaddled-Visual Motif-Herkimer Pleasant Avenue Mob 6/17/15

Aftermath

Later that evening, my wife was taking the trash out to our tote in the driveway, when hecklers on the porch of 333 Pleasant Ave began taunting her. To demonstrate that they were mistaken that they owned the street, she crossed over to their porch and attempted to humorously engage them in conversation. It didn’t go well. Insults were exchanged. (“Go inside and take a nap, granny.”) The same man as before threatened [from the Bartons’ porch] “We’re going to burn you out.”

The rest of the evening, the occupants of 333’s porch shined several large halogen lights at our bedroom window. Two cars of teenagers the age of those resident in 333 pulled up in front of our house several times, rap music blaring, screaming, “We’re gonna make you call the police!” (They sounded high or drunk.) Feeling we’d already trouble our police enough for one day, we didn’t bother calling them again…

Mayor Anthony Brindisi Responds to Herkimer Mobbing Incident

Mayor Brindisi called me the day after receiving my email. He seemed quite upset and said he’d look into it.

Two months later, Mayor Brindisi responded to his officers’ dereliction of duty by promoting Officer Scholl to sergeant–sending a clear message to his police, the community and its cash-heavy criminal enterprises.

Following a later Herkimer Police incident, Mayor Brindisi encouraged me to “play offense,” which we’ve done, though not in the way he meant.

Where Are They Now?

Sergeant Tall we never saw again. The Herkimer Police have some part-time officers; he may have been one of them.

Sgt. Scholl and I meet occasionally, most recently when I was attacked by a young meth tweaker on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue. (The lad’s since disappeared, leaving open the position of Keeper of Herkimer’s historic crack house.)

Herkimer Police officers and district attorney
Herkimer police officers and District Attorney: Left to right: Officer J. Crippin, Herkimer District Attorney Jeffrey Carpenter, Sgt. John Scholl II, Capt. Jeffrey Crim

Joyce Barton and Douglas Barton appear to be having lean times–this following their cameo appearances in our posting and videos of drug trafficking on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue. This was followed by our forensic video analysis of Fire Chief Barton’s garage fire, and videos of the Bartons’ harassment of our pregnant daughter. 

Both Bartons seem to be employing their vocations elsewhere, notably Douglas Barton, who leaves early, comes home very late and is sometimes gone overnight. Also absent are the fast food wrappers laughingly gifted our lawn by the some of the Bartons’ kids and their chums.

The Bartons threatened us with a lawsuit last year, alleging that our widely-viewed videos of their activities had caused them to “suffer[ed]damages to their reputation”  and “exposed the Bartons and their family members to contempt and ridicule.”  We were heartened. Apparently we aren’t the only ones who believed their conduct depraved and despicable.

The Bartons appear to have dropped the matter, perhaps after being told the amount of the required retainer and their chances of success.

More Herkimer crime and police postings to come. It’s a snowy day here in Upstate NY. Great day to edit videos and write.

Toodles.

 

Author:

This blog is my perspective on dwelling in our small village nestled among beautiful forests, farms and open landscapes. Educated in Israel and the US, I have an MS in Computer Science. My viewpoint has been shaped by world travel, friends and benefactors both strangers and people I know. Linda Kaidan