Herkimer New York’s a picturesque crime-ridden village along the Mohawk. It’s cursed by a booming drug trade abetted by a rich history of failed governance. Our video-enhanced posts document a vivid public rape threat, drug trafficking, malicious trespass, child abuse, drug abuse, public drunkenness and brawling, harassment, public menacing, and crime coddling police responses.
A fast moving fire today consumed the garage located at 333 Pleasant Ave Herkimer NY. The fire started as a small blaze at the left side of the garage. Smoke billowed up and towards the right. This soon turned into an explosive blaze that fortunately did not spread to any nearby homes. A popping noise followed by a loud boom indicated a minor explosion. Property tax records show 333 Pleasant Ave to be owned by Alan and Clara Klock of Cherry Valley. It’s rented to East Herkimer Fire Department Deputy Chief Douglas Barton and Joyce Barton.
At their request, The Herkimer Post has provided extensive footage of the fire and events surrounding it to Herkimer police and fire investigators. We may have additional coverage in a later post.
Security camera video records fire at 333 Pleasant Ave Herkimer
A security camera located directly across the street recorded the fire. The initially insignificant flames and smoke went unnoticed even by people walking right by them. At 13:59 the occupants of 333 Pleasant Ave evacuated. Firefighters quickly arrived and extinguished the fire. An investigation is underway.
The timeline below is a small sample of the video clips recorded by security cameras:
1313 Here’s the garage, soon be a smoldering skeleton of burnt wood.
1326 Deputy Fire Chief Barton arrives home – seems oblivious to blaze
1334 Deputy Fire Chief Barton leaves from driveway – still seems oblivious to blaze. Note what appears to be tendril of smoke in the lower left of Barton’s’ garage picked up by standard surveillance camera at 200 feet.
1349 Smoke billows from garage
4/28/16 Update — See Mission Accomplished! – Fire Chief Barton’s Fire Revisited for forensic video analysis of a crucial part of the 333 Pleasant Ave fire videos. What did Douglas Barton know and when did he know it?
Herkimer’s 333 Pleasant Avenue is no stranger to rowdiness, mob menacing, noise pollution and high-traffic nighttime activity. Screaming of obscenities and threats of violence are common here in Herkimer crime central, whose unwholesome heart is often the Barton residence. It’s not unusual to hear threats directed at small children here on Pleasant Avenue–short outbursts often ending with a nasal “Now!”, a loud slap and a wail of pain. It is unusual, however, to be able to capture sequential criminal activity cascading through one day.
It grew from scofflaw public drinking into a domestic brawl of about thirty very loud minutes. The major combatants were the bottle-bearing Booze Brother (below) and Joyce Barton’s older daughter, a noted soccer player.
Herkimer’s Booze Brothers Arrive
It began with the arrival of the Booze Brothers. They sauntered down Pleasant Avenue to the Barton’s and hung out there, chugging from a liter alcohol bottle. It became clear that bottle bearer was waiting for someone. When she arrived, the battle began.
Audio is needed to truly appreciate the volume of the screaming and the torrent of mutual abuse. It drowned out a telephone conversation I was having in my living room, windows closed.
It’s grown quieter here on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue. Several of our more noxious druggie neighbors have moved, one fleeing in the night, allegedly scant hours ahead of child protection authorities. (CPS’ taking of kids on Pleasant Avenue is no rarity. )
The 24/7 fast-food drive-thru pace of traffic to and from 333 Pleasant Avenue has fallen off. We’ve had no arson or death threats or mob menacing since June. No one’s tried to kill our dog recently. Several of Pleasant Avenue’s more responsible landlords, aware we were besieged, have come down hard on their drug trafficking tenants. (Thank you, folks), and code enforcement of Pleasant Avenue’s abundant Section 8 rentals has acquired teeth under Herkimer Mayor Tony Brindisi. Our surveillance cameras have also helped lessen daytime criminal activity after several malicious trespassers and slanderous harassers, drug trafficking’s skirmishers, were publicly embarrassed on the Internet. The street is now as quiet as it should have been when we moved here 18 months ago. It’s seems almost pleasant.
And had it always been this peaceful, we’d be content. But it wasn’t. Some of our criminalistic neighbors felt empowered to try to terrorize us, having no idea who we are or who we know. (I’ll be writing a series about these outrages on my muckraking blog.) Unfortunately, the most depraved of Pleasant Avenue’s drug thugs are still here, brought to heel for now, but awaiting their opportunities. There’s a sense of red eyes glowering from porches when I walk past some houses. Sadly, there’s compelling evidence that the illicit economy supporting Herkimer’s drug scrotes is still bustling, its business model changed from that of brazen 24/7 retail pickups to stealthy nighttime deliveries. It’s aided and abetted by Herkimer’s Section 8 slumlords, who’ve helped make Pleasant Avenue a drug dealers’ haven.
If It Walks Like A Duck… Drug Trafficking Watch – Pleasant Avenue, Herkimer : 10/23 – 10/24 2015 Despite the falloff in retail pickups, Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue still needs a traffic cop: 162 significant motion events in 24 hours caught on video, and 113 in the 12 hours from 1730 – 0530. This is a small residential street in a village on the Mohawk. On parallel Eureka Avenue, one could safely consume a six-pack at high noon on a chaise lounge mid-street and never be bothered by a car. So, what’s up? We’re not the road to New York Turnpike. No wonder the street had to be repaved.
Analysis of our street camera feed for the 12 hours from 1730 to 0530 on October 23 – 24th shows 29 significant motion events at or related to 333 Pleasant Avenue, tenanted by Joyce and Douglas Barton, another 24+ issuing from the parking lot of 232 – 234 Pleasant Avenue, and 11 in and from the driveway of 335 Pleasant Avenue. There’s also much coming and going from 328 Pleasant Avenue, despite the recent best efforts of its owner. The peak period was from 1854 to 0302. These are the classic signs of a drug neighborhood.
Significant events means vehicles and people arriving and departing frequently from an address, in this case 333 Pleasant Avenue. If Pleasant Avenue were a drug trafficking street, 333 Pleasant Avenue with its short visits and frequent dispatches of vehicles would be its heart of darkness. In addition to arrivals and departures from Joyce and Douglas Barton’s, after dark there were at least 11 incidents of vehicles exiting or entering the driveway adjacent to the Barton’s at 335 Pleasant Avenue. (See satellite image, above.) Also late in the evening and early morning, vehicles entered and left the driveway across the street from the Barton’s at least 24 times. Always the same two vehicles, coming and going from the parking lot behind 332 and 334 Pleasant Avenue. 332 Pleasant Avenue is currently vacant. All three are rental properties of Herkimer landlord Jay Smith. (Jay Smith owns a critical mass of houses on Pleasant Avenue, according to the Herkimer County tax rolls.)
333 Pleasant Avenue – The Joyce and Douglas Barton House. The above video captures a series of arrivals and departures from 333 Pleasant Avenue, Herkimer, on 10/13 – 10/24, ending at 0049 hrs. There are many more, but this sequence is typical of nighttime traffic to and from that address on most nights. In this clip, flaring, irregular light from the house emanating into the street at 2319 hrs signals the start of the night’s core activities. (Hopefully the owners have fire insurance.) When a car arrives at 0006, there appear to be at least five people on the porch. The car is met by a figure resembling that of Joyce Barton, and departs 6 minutes later at 0012. This appears to trigger a series of events, with a vehicle leaving the Barton driveway a few moments later at 0033 and returning at 0049, prelude to later such activity from the parking lot of 332 -334 Pleasant Avenue.
Parking lot, 332 – 334 Pleasant Avenue – Jay Smith Rental Properties – At 0222 a vehicle crosses the street to the driveway adjacent to 333 Pleasant Avenue and pulls out of sight. This is the first of at least six vehicle exits from the 332 – 334 Pleasant Avenue parking lot through 0257 hrs. (The camera captures the headlights of vehicles exiting 332 – 334. The vehicles themselves can only be seen if they turn left down Pleasant Avenue. Two vehicles appear to be primarily involved.) 341 Eureka Avenue, a rental also owned by Jay Smith, shares the same parking area.
Satellite Imagery of Herkimer’s 333 Pleasant Avenue and Area
The Google camera truck either never photographed Pleasant Avenue or vanished doing so. But as can be seen from the satellite image, the driveway of 335 Pleasant Avenue way adjoins 333 Pleasant Avenue. The 335 Pleasant Avenue driveway is easily accessible via 333’s rear patio. 335’s driveway is a straight shot from the 332 – 334 driveway, as seen in the video clip. It would be very easy for people at Herkimer’s 333 Pleasant Avenue to access a vehicle parked at the base of 335 Pleasant Avenue driveway, hidden from the street camera.
Pleasant Avenue Night Moves – Unedited Street Footage Below is the unedited footage of motion events trigger our camera for the 12 hour period of 1730 – 0530 on 10/12 – 10/14 2015, from which the brief excerpts above were drawn. I don’t have the resources for sophisticated pattern and facial recognition analysis of the traffic and people bustling up and down the street. But maybe you do.
The rights of photographers are clear, no matter how much this may upset criminals and the ignorant. (But I repeat myself) Here’s a classic example. (Parents strongly cautioned.)
On September 5, 2015 we heard a knock on our door here in Herkimer. Michelle Schulze, two young female members of her household and a child in a stroller visited our home to urge us to restrain from taking photographs of children in a public area. They reside at 321 Pleasant Ave in Herkimer.
They refused to understand that NY State Law, backed by the 1st Amendment, says it’s OK to take photographs in public places. They think the law of their asphalt jungle is what goes. They were very concerned about a photo taken by my husband of the rather nice pub up the street. Within 2 minutes of his snapping the camera, they were upon us, with accusations of endangering children with our photos and hinted that we were child molesters. It’s important to note that taking photos in public places is a US Constitutional right.
Melodie Schulze Cusses Out Old Bag
Melodie Schulze, the young mom who’d brought her own young child in a stroller and stood under our security cameras, screamed that we had “touched children!” in an obscenity-laced tirade of abuse. Her first concern was obviously her child being photographed, as she brought the child with her to be photographed and recorded during her visit.
Melodie Schulze’s harassment had nothing to do with kids, but with our surveillance cameras recording Pleasant Avenue Herkimer’s drug trafficking and her own part in it.
Drug dealers don’t make laws. Legislators do. For those who find slander and menacing a neat way to threaten their foes, time is not on their side. Patterns of previous behavior, facial recognition databases, criminal background checks, security clearances and work histories all tell a story. That story is loud and clear. Conspiring to make up heinous lies about your neighbors to suit your criminal convenience, even as a gang, is dumb.
As is our right, we will continue to take pictures in public and semi-public areas without consulting drug dealers or dubious neighbors. Please conduct private business in private. We’re not criminals, we have no criminal history. US law applies to ALL of us and the rights of photographers are clear.
Just to be clear, you don’t get to create special purpose laws that go against legitimate US laws in our country!
Just when you thought it was safe to go out in your driveway again, the team sport of Herkimer malicious trespassing takes the field again.
If you read my previous post about The Ball, you’ll know that earlier this summer my neighbors called the police on me when I refused to return a ball deliberately kicked at me with great precision from across the street. It was kicked by a beefy teen, striking me in the back of my legs.
The responding Herkimer Village Police Officer, the pseudonymous Officer Heist, threatened to arrest me for Petit Larceny, duped by this very old scam. He accused me of intending to steal the worthless ball used to assault me, the one I’d already tossed into the neighborhood’s adjacent playing area. It was outrageous.
Ball Harassment Continues
Malicious trespassing in Herkimer is a popular team sport. The innocent children whose ball the Herkimer Police leaped to defend have taken to vandalizing our car under the pretext of retrieving their (new) ball. The ball rolls into our driveway frequently, although the street is perpendicular to the driveway. A baller retrieves the ball, off camera. During his or her stay, our car is scratched or sprayed with acid. Repeat. Repeat. Obviously it’s at their parents’ instigation. These kids are probably paid in cash or drugs. The State Police appear to have clamped down on their parents following their abusive mob interaction with us in the street. (Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue is a quietly sanctioned haven of drug trafficking, its workers flush with drug money. There are signs that things far more heinous go on here, also involving children. )
I ordered one girl from my driveway the other day, telling her she was trespassing and not to return. She screamed “Don’t you ever talk to me that way!” As you’ll note from the video clip of her departure, she was quite indignant and circled her hand about her head, indicating that any defiance to her outrageous behavior was insane. Politeness and respect are obviously strangers in her family. Sadly there is an arrogant expectation that my home is a public way to be used however and whenever my neighbors see fit.
Additional cameras have been brought on line. More are coming. We live as I did in Cote D’Ivoire West Africa, where each home’s a fortress, and anarchy prevails and governance has failed.
What I’ve Learned from Herkimer’s Officer Heist and the Pleasant Avenue Ball Harassment
Shrugging our shoulders in helplessness because, Hey! It’s just Pleasant Avenue, ill-serves us all. There are two underlying problems here. The most important is attitude. As a community, we must provide basic services, or we’re not a community. If we can’t do this alone, we have to ask for help. To be a successful community rather than one in name only, we have to change to an “I think I can and I will try” attitude. Too often when problems are discussed here, even the best of Herkimer’s people sigh, shrug their shoulders and say, “It’s Herkimer.” (At some point, perhaps the citizens of Gomorrah probably did the same.)
Herkimer is crime-ridden and plagued by poverty. Many of the children on our street are very intelligent, but they are not engaging intellectually – their education is pathetically inadequate. Some are reading grade levels below what they should. It’s obvious the school system treats them as pariahs and tracks them as such. At least one middle school student didn’t know what the Atlantic Ocean is. One doesn’t know what an ocean is. A very bright and likable neighboring 9th grader periodically made campfires from his homework assignments He correctly determined that Herkimer considers him social junk that his school’s job is keep him off the streets during the day. Like many kids in Herkimer, he’s filled with rage and hopelessness.
We can do better than this, Herkimer. If not now, when?
You might think it’s a no-brainer to talk to your neighbors about your street. Well, after a year of living here, we have, and been informed that local slumlords, owning at least 19 homes in the area, ten of them on Pleasant Ave., Herkimer, make tidy incomes from HUD’s subsidized Section 8 housing vouchers program. The landlords are paid directly by the county housing authority. Though required to maintain their Section 8 properties in compliance with HUD Section 8 housing performance standards, you’ll often find these homes in disrepair both outside and inside, in direct violation of HUD requirements and Herkimer zoning codes
On Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue, you’ll find some of it renters, both Section 8 and private, have criminal histories, abuse drugs and their children and traffic drugs. This unwitting but successful connivance between Herkimer’s slumlords and drug traffickers has emboldened the Pleasant Avenue’s criminals with a sense of ownership of street and created a menacing sense of anarchy for homeowners. And made Pleasant Avenue a sanctuary for criminals, a Mohawk Valley pirate hole. But it’s only succeeded because of a silent third party, the Village of Herkimer, whose failure of governance is seen through the condition of the street’s rental properties and its lackadaisical policing. Pleasant Avenue’s volatile mix of besieged homeowners and low-income renters can only become a peaceful, if uneasy one with a regular and effective police presence.
All residents must realize that private property means private. My driveway is not your play area. Streets are for automobiles and not ballgames and boisterous gatherings. There are many games that can be played on the grass in backyards: basketball, badminton, volleyball and croquet. Reading books aloud can be fun, too. You’ll find it cooler and safer in your own backyards. Hint – Most children play in the backyard or at a school yard, and not in the middle of the street, especially for hours on end, in front of the homes of people their parents don’t like.
The appalling, dangerous and unpleasant traditions that have been allowed to develop here on Pleasant Avenue in Herkimer over the last 4 years are at odds with neighborhood safety. We are entitled to the same and peaceful and quiet enjoyment of our homes as the rest of the rest of the Village of Herkimer enjoys. We pay taxes for municipal and state services. We expect street brawls, disorderly conduct and harassment and mob menacing to be nonexistent or immediately squelched by a prompt, firm and consistent police response.
Herkimer is truly one of the most beautiful places to live anywhere. But it’s important to feel that all of our community is safe and that residents respect each other rights. For this to happen, we have our work cut out.
Going forward we hope our Herkimer police will promptly curtail illegal assemblies, brawling, harassment and trespassing.
Let’s help families teach their children to engage in safe, fun and productive activities in the summer and throughout the year. Free help can come from volunteers and game drives.
Let’s ensure that all of Herkimer’s rental homes, both Section 8 and private, are regularly inspected in compliance with local code and HUD performance standards.
Help foster good behaviors by installing surveillance cameras and being quick to share clips with police, Neighborhood Watch, and post on WordPress and social media.
Focus on and foster self-respect. Everything we do is valuable. Let’s invest in creating, learning and sharing, and divest ourselves of hostile and destructive activities
Let’s replace bullying, menacing and name calling with communicating.
Can make you the zombie puppet of anyone who speaks to you?
Can make someone kill themselves with just a few words?
Can make you perform an act of unspeakable humiliation?
Hand over all your possessions without hesitation?
Impoverish your entire family?
There’s a whole family of such mind control drugs. Words associated with them include zombie, puppet, loss of will, memory loss. They’ve been used for decades by Central and South Americans to harvest a cash crop from the unwitting, victims who conveniently forget everything, a side effect of these zombie drugs. If you’re a victim who survives such a mind rape, you’ll have no memory of it. Your assailants will be free to move on to their next victim without fear of exposure, and without the inconvenience of a dead body or a missing person’s report.
Inexpensive and easily produced, Scopolamine, also called Devil’s Breath, is one of the most common in this family of mind control drugs. It’s often called the zombie drug. Some will tell you it’s difficult to get hold of. Not true—scopolamine is derived from a plant called Datura. It grows abundantly in the wild. In Upstate New York and the Herkimer area, it’s known as Jimson Weed and is found throughout the region, especially in the Mohawk Valley’s fertile river lands.
Dangers of Scopolamine
While many of those who take Scopolamine are unwitting victims, some take it for its hallucinogenic and euphoric effects. Don’t be fooled. This is a sinister drug which can result in death. It is a member of the deadly nightshade family.
Some people give this dangerous mind control drug to their children to keep them quiet and manageable, especially kids who tend to act out and have other behavior issues. Others, including trusted friends and relatives, administer such zombie drugs as Scopolamine to manipulate children for sex, either with themselves and friends, or for their pedophile clients. As we know from news reports, there’s a brisk, well-paying business in pimping out children to pedophiles, who are drawn from every socioeconomic group.
Telltale Signs of Scopolamine Controlled Children
Look for abnormally quiet behavior, especially in a group of kids–it’s behavior that’s almost sinisterly quiet. Obvious and significant memory loss is another warning sign. Additional behavior to be alert for is any which looks out of the norm for typical human interaction, such as in group play. We all have normal patterns of behavior, and when these change significantly, we should ask why. Don’t take this drug or give it to anyone else. If your children are acting strangely try to understand rather than ignore these changes.
In this story you’ll discover how a malicious, well-executed kick transformed the acts of a neighbor recycling stuff on her own property into an act of larceny as defined by officer Haight of the Herkimer Police Department.
On July 15th at approximately 9:21 PM, I was placing a few items in the recycle bin that I keep outside in my driveway here in the Village of Herkimer. As I was finishing up and about to return to the house, something struck the back of my legs. I turned around to find a soccer ball at my feet.
I picked the ball up and approached my house. Nearby voices in the dark called for its return. As with many parents whose children do something they shouldn’t, I refused to hand the ball over. My driveway is very narrow and virtually inaccessible to normal ballplayers; the ball could only have entered it if had been kicked from across the street, not down it. It was obviously part of an ongoing and escalating pattern of harassment directed against my husband and I. Some neighbors strongly opposed our driveway security camera that records the stream of nighttime traffic. The Bartons of 333 Pleasant Avenue, who a regional DEA agent referred to in a phone conversation as “the porch people” were especially outraged by this camera presence.
1. At 9:24 PM., according to our video recording, Herkimer Village’s Officer Haight, appeared at our door.
Officer Haight said our neighbors, Douglas and Joyce Barton, had reported us for taking their ball and demanded to know if this was true. I admitted I’d taken their ball and explained why. Officer Haight was unmoved by my explanation and advised that if our neighbor wished to press charges, he’d “have no choice” but to enforce the law regarding larceny. The threat of arrest hung heavy in the night air. He expressed his opinion that we were in the midst of an ongoing feud with our neighbors. (We are, in the sense that the Allies were feuding with Nazi Germany.)
Officer Haight confessed ignorance of any of the multiple acts of vandalism, mob menacing and break-ins we’ve suffered over the past year, at least one orchestrated by the Bartons. I was thus accused of victimizing the Bartons by withholding their ball, which had just been used to assault me.
Officer Haight demanded to know the ball’s location. My husband said it had migrated to an adjacent empty yard. Officer Haight’s supervisor then arrived and the two went off to fetch the ball for the Bartons, who were consumed with mirth as they lounged watching from their porch at 333 Pleasant Avenue. The Herkimer police officers respectfully returned the ball to the Bartons and departed – our harassers were treated with deference while we were disdained.
2. Only afterwards did I discover this is a typical ploy used by thugs to harass and intimidate their neighbors, sometimes aided by allied police officers illegally acting under the color of law. The object is to have a victim cited and fined for petty larceny by police, hoping that the neighbor then won’t complain when the thugs trespass on their property to stash contraband, vandalize it, menace them or disturb the peace. It’s the dim mindset of social parasites who spent their brief school years in behavior remediation classes. The remedy, according to attorneys, is to demonstrate harassment by keeping security cameras on the street. This we will do. (Probably not the outcome our neighbors desired. )
I was dumbfounded that Officer Haight attempted to characterize my removing the ball with which I’d been assaulted as an act of larceny, when it was clearly an act of self-defense. He seemed ignorant that a condition of larceny is that there be an intent to steal. My intent was:
1. to place my recyclables in my bin and return inside to watch True Detective;
2. To avoid being ridiculed by neighbors and hit with their expertly aimed balls;
3. To avoid having neighbors continue to trespass on my property.
I never play ball. I spend my time hiking, writing and mending the myriad of worn out portions of my dilapidated and ancient (yet adorable ) Herkimer Village home.
In the past year due to neighbor trespass, break-ins and vandalism, we’ve had to expend resources on security systems and cameras, rather than on our home’s aging infrastructure.
My husband and I have been so undeserved by the Herkimer Village police that it borders on depraved indifference. Notably,
1. a direct statement by a Herkimer Village police officer that that there’s no New York State law restricting the gathering of a menacing mob of 30—40 in front of one’s home, and that the police aren’t required to disperse such a belligerent gathering. And of course,
2. The unblushing statement by a Herkimer police officer that I appeared to be guilty of larceny because I removed an old ball with which I’d been deliberately struck while putting out the recyclables at a bin in my driveway. (To be larceny the property “must have been lost or mislaid…or delivered under a mistake.” As it was used in assault, it wasn’t delivered under a mistake but deliberately and with intent to harass and harm.)
Police who aid and abet the victimization of peaceful retirees by neighbors who act criminally, and make ill-informed, self-serving and egregious statements, are at the very least in need of remedial training.