Kyle Stone Herkimer Gang Performer

Stephen Ames Berry

Kyle Stone, Herkimer gang performer best known for his fire and water gigs, last week took his art into the street. In an arresting two-hour performance on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue, Stone debuted a brilliantly choreographed show of gritty urban realism. His repertoire of antisocial behaviors interwove crack smoking, public intoxication and urination, drunken and and reckless driving, bullying, alleged property damage and  assault. It was a  microcosm of the Herkimer gang behaviors that have long blighted the community.

Kyle Stone pisses on Herkimer
Kyle Stone (left) of Jay Smith’s 332 Pleasant Ave and fellow gang member piss on Herkimer. The gang’s two-hour performance included Kyle’s apparent DUI, property destruction, alleged assault and crack smoking.

Stone was ably backed up by his band of fellow druggies, seen most nights on the porch of Jay Smith’s 332 Pleasant Avenue. One of them provided the gray Dodge Dart used by Kyle for his high-speed drunken runs. (Vehicle identification courtesy of Herkimer police.)

The show concluded with Kyle and the gang allegedly driving a reluctant participant off camera and beating him, according to Herkimer police. He’s the tall kid with glasses and cap who looks like he should be in the high school science club.

Below is a shorter version of the gang’s two-hour performance video provided Herkimer police at their request. Watch closely and you’ll see Kyle throughout, tying to bully the alleged beating victim into smoking something other than cigarettes. He fails. A tip of the big hat to Mr. Science for courage and personal integrity. It’s rare in Herkimer. May he find some friends worthy of him. 

Video Timeline
0:01-0:37  Gang’s party car and driver arrive. (Gray Dodge Dart.) Driver goes into driveway of Jay Smith’s 332-334 Pleasant Ave. gang rentals.
0:38-1:21     Kyle Stone warms up for his performance.
1:22-1:31      Kyle staggers about. Watch as he tries to physically intimidate tall, non-drug using kid, later allegedly beaten up by Kyle.
1:32-1:58      Kyle dancing with seemingly lit crackpipe.
1:59-2:33      Kyle in driver’s seat, smokin’. 
2:34-3:18      Kyle preps for his signature Dance-of-the-Piss. Car’s driver accompanies.
3:19-3:34       Kyle’s The-Dance-of-the-Piss.
3:35-3:52       Kyle returns to drivers’ seat of car. All now in car.
3:53-5:53       Kyle and gang merrily speed off to King Street. Return going to Protection Avenue. (Who is that woman and what was she doing off-camera?)
5:54-6:29     Speeds back down Pleasant Avenue to King Street. Allegedly caused property damage around PK’s Pub, according to Herkimer PD. Pub is on the corner of King and Pleasant.
6:30-7:02     Car again blasts down Pleasant Avenue toward Protection Avenue. This time does not return. Here Kyle’s alleged to have beaten the reluctant party-going kid.
7:03-8:19      Alleged beating victim returns on foot to 332 Pleasant. Appears to be in pain and agitated. Woman is 332’s sole wage-earner and apparently Kyle’s long-suffering relative.
8:20-End     Herkimer police arrive.

Kyle Stone – Herkimer Boy-Next-Door in Action

Did Kyle beat anyone up? Don ‘t know. But if he thought he was being “disrespected”? Probably. Here’s a recent short video of Kyle’s antics with a shovel and neighbor Carrie Ann Bass, aka Carrie Ann Collins Bass., after he thought she’s disrespected him. She’s the keeper of the Stanley Sykes Gang’s 347 Eureka Avenue, to the right of the video.  Guessing Kyle grew up while Carrie Ann was around. (Sykes and Stones are closely allied.)

A Herkimer Kidnapping

Stephen Ames Berry

“A child is not a dog. No matter whose child. It requires more to lawfully take a child than it does a dog. Even in Herkimer.”  Look no further than Herkimer, New York, USA, to see the illegal taking of a child from his family.  On 4/24/19, Herkimer County sheriff’s deputies entered our home and took our two-year-old grandson Avram from his mother. They didn’t have a warrant. They didn’t have a valid court order. They said they had “verbal permission.” 

A Herkimer Kidnapping – In The Tradition of Schindler’s List

It  was kidnapping under the color of law. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise. We’ve seen Herkimer Child Protection Workers violate state law as they go the extra mile to denounce parents and families they don’t approve of. And Herkimer long shrugged off poison gas attacks on us, our pets and our home. So why not, also in the tradition of Schindler’s List, an armed, uniformed squad  taking a child from his bed? They even wore brown. What made it especially heinous was their acting for an out-of-state foreign national seemingly desperate to avoid paying child support. 

Even In Herkimer A Child Is Not A Dog

It requires more to lawfully take a child than it does a dog. Even in Herkimer. No matter how inconvenient. No matter whose child. New York’s Domestic Relations Law  governs the return of  a child to a parent in another state. It incorporates the provisions of the federal Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The law requires registration of an out-of-state custody order with the local family court, due notice and a hearing. Then the custody order can be legally enforced. It only takes a few days. Apparently too cumbersome for scofflaw Herkimer.

Herkimer Family Court Collusion?

The deputies said they had “verbal authorization” [Video, below: 1:56] from Judge John Brennan of the Herkimer Family Court to take our grandson. If so, Brennan played fast and loose with the law. New York’s family courts are notoriously packed and dysfunctional. Scooping up a kid without a warrant for an out-of-state return and whisking him to the waiting parent avoids further clogging the court calendar with the tedium of due process. Especially when  outcome appears predetermined. In an extrajudicial kidnapping like this, speed is of the essence: Not much a parent can do when the kid’s back in the other state. It seems a cynical practice encourage by long success. Had our daughter been known to have an attorney, and lived at a better Herkimer address, the law might have been followed.  

Anonymous Herkimer Sheriff's Officer during extrajudicial kidnapping
4/24/19 “We have verbal authority [to take the child.”] Intentionally anonymous Herkimer Sheriff’s officer during extrajudicial kidnapping. Refused repeated demands to identify himself.

“2:41: Nameless sheriff’s officer waves to unidentified woman in unmarked car down the street to approach closer.”

HERKIMER KIDNAPPING – VIDEO
A Herkimer Kidnapping

A Herkimer Kidnapping

Video Timeline 001-1:05 Herkimer County Sheriff’s deputies, accompanied by Herkimer police officer, arrive at our house. (Police here to protect deputies from us.)
1:06-1:14 I foolishly let them in without examining their order. I’d assumed they were acting lawfully. Never assume this in Herkimer County.
1:15-1:15 One deputy identifies himself as Sgt. George. The other merely says “Herkimer County Sheriff.” (He’s not the sheriff.)
1:20 – 1:55 Sgt. George reads the order to our daughter. It’s quickly apparent it’s a Michigan court order. George states it authorizes them to take our grandson for return to his father in Michigan. It doesn’t. I  object, citing New York law and the procedure necessary to lawfully execute an out-of-state custody order in New York. Sgt. George says they have verbal permission from Herkimer County Family Court to enforce the Michigan court order. I continue to dispute their authority. 2:41 – 2:54 Deputy(?) Nameless tells me to “go argue the order” with Herkimer County Family Court Judge John Brennan if I don’t like it. I point out that I can’t, it’s a Michigan court order. Judge Brennan is a New York judge. He has not issued an order in this matter. Nameless Deputy repeats that they have verbal authority from Judge Brennan to take our grandchild. Seems hostile.
3:14 – 3:20 “Where is the child?” is the demand.
3:21 – 3:45 Little Avram taken. Nameless sheriff’s officer waves to unidentified woman in unmarked car down the street to approach closer. She hesitatingly does so.  May know we’d recently reported Herkimer CPS workers Sara Riente and Lisa Bates to NY authorities for malfeasance.
3:46 – 4:36 Avram passed to unidentified woman wearing unviewable badge driving unmarked car. 
4:37 – 4:56 Grandma gives kindly Herkimer Police Officer Holt clothes and shoes for shoeless Avram, who takes them to the sheriff’s officers. End: Unknown woman in unmarked car makes good her escape with our grandchild. 

“Our grandson now lives in an upscale townhouse in an upscale college town with his Rhodes Scholar professor-“father”. We fear for his safety.”

A Herkimer Kidnapping Finale

Gloating email later that evening from Mukherji to our daughter saying he was at a Herkimer motel and that Avram had been returned to him. He’s refused all attempts at contact by our daughter.  Our grandson now lives in an upscale townhouse in an upscale college town with his Rhodes Scholar professor father. We fear for his safety. Why? Read on.

A Herkimer Kidnapping – Backstory

In late January, our daughter escaped with our grandson from her abusive  and neglectful husband, Somangshu Mukherji, an Indian national. He’d allowed her no contact with us for years and kept her in almost complete social and physical isolation.  Mukherji’s a nontenured assistant professor of Music at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He’s not the child’s birth father. Our daughter believes he signed Avram’s birth certificate to enhance his status with US Immigration.   The trigger for our daughter’s flight to Herkimer was Somangshu’s announcing they were going on a trip with him to Turkey, along with his equally abusive mother. The US State Department advises against travel to Turkey: “terrorism, kidnappings and arbitrary detentions.” Anything could happen, especially to a toddler. Sounded like it might be a one-way trip for the “son” our daughter says Somangshu calls “the little bastard.” Somangshu’s vigilance slipped for a moment and our daughter and grandchild bolted for here. Always kept penniless, she took a cab across several states, paying with the Uber account Somangshu kept on her phone for his convenience.

Somangshu Mukherji – No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Somangshu Mukherji raiding
Somangshu Mukherji sneering at me as he trespasses on our porch.

Somganshu’s Green Card and his good job were made possible by his marriage to our severely bipolar American-born daughter. In 2003, we sponsored him after Harvard dropped their sponsorship of him as  grad student, alleging “academic dishonesty.” We posted a $40k bond for him with the Sate Department, 17% of our total assets. He’s repaid us by abusing our daughter, misusing his medical guardianship of her and denying our grandchild clothes, shoes and toys. “Never a dime,” says our daughter in her custody defense filings:

“Professor Mukherji argued that his wife was psychotic and a threat to his son. He offered as proof of her insanity the fact that she had left him.”

Somangshu Mukherji in Pursuit

Told by us that his missing wife and her two-year old son were safe with us in Herkimer, my son-in-law’s feet barely touched the ground as he raced to his attorney’s office to file for sole custody of the son he’d always allegedly neglected—the son of his wife and another man–and for the child’s immediate return to him in Ann Arbor. Doing the math he may have suddenly realized his love for the boy and wanted him back: child support would cost him over $1,000 a month.
After a long court battle in Ann Arbor, Somangshu was awarded sole custody. (He had a lawyer, our daughter didn’t. Ann Arbor Legal Aid, supported by U. Mich Law School, wouldn’t represent her.) Professor Mukherji argued that his wife was psychotic and a threat to his son. He offered as proof of her insanity the fact that she had left him.

Somangshu Schmoozes the Sheriff

Somangshu apparently established a cordial relationship with Herkimer  County Sheriff’s personnel during his 4/11/19 trip, likely through Herkimer Undersheriff Scott Scherer. His Michigan court approved visitation of that date seemed a transparent attempt to nab our grandson on the cheap. He probably convinced the sheriff’s staff that his “son” was in grave danger from the psychotic mother, loony grandmother and pedophile grandfather. (From his slanderous Child Protection reports, since dismissed.)  The day before the kidnapping, Somangshu won sole custody of Avram in an Ann Arbor court.  Victorious at last, he immediately flew to Herkimer to take possession.

Michigan court order in hand, Somangshu was but one step from having a lawful custody order, one issued by a New York court, which the Herkimer county sheriff could legally enforce. He needed only to register his Michigan order with the Herkimer Family Court, which could, after a hearing for all parties, issue a New York order mandating the return of the child to Michigan.  Of course, it would have cost Somangshu more money. Instead, Herkimer County obligingly skipped past the law and sent its deputies right over to take Avram from his nap. 

Preventing A Herkimer Kidnapping: “Get A Warrant”

I suspect the  Herkimer Family Court and the Herkimer County Sheriff get away with this all the time, possibly by saying that the parent voluntarily consented to accept service of the out-of-state custody.order. As the video shows, our daughter did not. The Herkimer sheriff’s officers presented her with the Michigan court order, which without a New York order had all the validity of a Post-It note. I contested their authority and cited the UCCJEA and applicable New York law. They didn’t care. Told me to “get a lawyer.” [video-2:41] This extrajudicial kidnapping also spared Professor Mukherji the bother and expense of obtaining a legal New York custody order.

Avram Mukherji's first toys everReporting Malfeasance by New York Public Officers 

New York Attorney General, Bureau of Public Integrity

Reporting Civil Rights Violations in New York

New York Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
125 Broad St., 19th Fl.
New York,  NY 10004.
Telephone: 212-607-3300

“Unlawful discrimination that reflects a policy or practice of discrimination:”
The Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office

Is a judge involved? Allegedly involved?

New York – Reporting Judicial Misconduct

New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct Corning Tower, Suite 2301 Empire State Plaza Albany, NY 12223 If you videoed the incident, as we did in A Herkimer Kidnapping, either upload it to the agencies or send it in with your complaint on a thumb-drive.  Publish it on social media. It’s New York.  It’s your right. Use it or lose it.

How to Report Immigration Marriage Fraud

Somangshu Mukherji’s Raid

Stephen Ames Berry

Somangshu Mukherji’s Raid was cunningly planned and brazenly executed. It could have succeeded but for the kindly old grandfather standing in the doorway. And the Herkimer Police.  

Above is my sneering son-in-law, Professor Somangshu Mukherji of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, lying derisively as he tries to make off with our two-year-old grandson under the guise of a court approved visitation. (Video below.) 

Our Grandson’s Not His Blood Relative
Somangshu’s a nontenured associate professor of Music and an Indian national. Our grandson’s not his blood relative. Somanghsu’s marriage to our severely bipolar American daughter enabled him to obtain his Green Card, the gateway to his professorship at a prestigious US  university. 

Court Judges Abusive Spouse Better Parent Than Loving Mom
In January, after years of forced isolation, neglect and abuse by Somangshu, our daughter and grandson Avram escaped to our home in Herkimer New York. Somangshu was soon in pursuit. He had joint physical custody of the child at the time of his visit.  Over our daughter’s strenuous objections, the Ann Arbor Family Court granted Somangshu an unsupervised visit. Ann Arbor Michigan’s a university town. Its courts give even the nuttiest professor great deference. It opened the way for Somangshu to snatch grandson Avram and take him back to Michigan with no legal consequences and no additional legal fees. Most importantly, he’d avoid paying child support of $1,000 a month for Avram. Getting the kid into that waiting taxi and heading for the airport would be Somangshu’s Mission Accomplished.  

Rude and Demanding and At Our Door – Video

Somangshu Mukherji's Raid

Somangshu Mukherji's Raid


Timeline of Somangshu Mukhjeri’s Raid
 
0:01 – 0:30 Green Card Dad Somangshu Mukherji [SM] arrives via cab at our home from the airport. Storms the house. I open the door.
0:31 – 0:55 SM “Give me my son.” Avram’s his son on paper only, a Green Card son. His wife believes he signed the birth certificate to enhance his immigration status.
0:56 SM “I’m calling the police.” I remind him that he doesn’t have a lawful NY visitation order.
1:03 – 1:22 I advise SM that he is trespassing.
1:22 – 1:56 SM Refuses to let me step out onto my porch. I do anyway. SM again demands “my son.” I order him from our property. He refuses to leave. Happily, he’d rather be outed lying on camera than do anything I ask.

Litany of Lies Begins
2:06 – 2:20 SM, still refusing to leave, calls Herkimer Police: “This is about a custody order I’m here to fulfill.” He has a Michigan court visitation order. Had he a custody order, he would have no authority to fulfill it: Somangshu Mukherji is a foreign national and a Michigan resident.
2:22- 2:58 SM complains to Herkimer Police that I am threatening him, and violating his unenforceable Michigan court order, which he now says is a visitation order.
2:59 SM complains to police that I am “harassing [him] openly.” 3:04 – 4:20 SM tells Herkimer police that I am “violating a standing custody order.” (He does not have a custody order from anywhere). Miscellaneous verbal abuse from SM.
3:55 – 4:21 BRIEF MOMENT OF TRUTH: SM gives police his name and cellphone number (908-705-5616).
4:24 SM falsely states that his taxi driver is a witness to my “harassing” him. The taxi is out of sight around the corner, the driver in the cab. (My cameras are my witnesses.)
4:30 SM tells Herkimer Police that he’s spoken with Herkimer County Undersheriff Scott Scherer.  05:01 SM at last leaves our property to await the police. (Note: no taxi in sight.)

Herkimer Police Arrive
5:04 – 5:44 Herkimer Police arrive. (Officers Carbone and Holt.) SM meets them. I follow and point out that his court order is a visitation order, not a custody order, and not lawful in New York unless registered with a New York court, which expense SM has avoided.
06:00 – 06:25 I repeat same to Herkimer officers when they interview me. I note that SM was trespassing and refused to leave when ordered. They send him on his way.

Somangshu Mukherji’s Retreat

06:27 – 06:57 SM leaves the area afoot. (Later spotted around the corner, presumably awaiting a cab to airport.)
06:58 – 08:27 SM has complained to police that he fears his “son” is being abused by his pedophile grandfather, crazy grandmother and neglected by his crazy mother. (It’s in their report.) They’re obligated to follow up. Which they do and depart.

It’s the same toxic twaddle SM previously filed with New York Child Protection Services. They closed the matter as “unfounded.”
08:28 – End  Before leaving the area, SM has friendly chat with the Barton Gang’s Joyce Barton, who delightedly spreads tales of our troubles to the neighbors. SM in his custody filings has already cited the Bartons’ criminal activities shown in our videos as evidence of how dangerous the neighborhood is for our grandchild.

  Abusive and Controlling Behavior 
I’ve known Somangshu Mukherji for 16 years. He’s gone from the seemingly  nice kid we saved from deportation when he was at Harvard (allegedly “academic dishonesty”) to a scourge of God on our family.  Our daughter, his wife, is terrified of him. Obviously he lies a lot. He may even believe what he’s saying because he’s saying it. Classic behavior of a malignant narcissist. As you can see, Somangshu’s already established a working relationship with the Herkimer County Sheriff’s Department, which later aided him in the illegal taking of our grandchild. On this day Herkimer Police sent him packing. Somangshu Mukherji’s Raid is an chilling example of how easily a biased judge can fuel a disastrous result and ruin a child’s life. Here’s Avram with his first-ever toys. We bought them for him when he arrived in Herkimer. Somangshu, our daughter told the court, never once bought his beloved “son” clothes, shoes or toys. “Never a dime,” she said.

Somangshu Mukherji's Green Card son
2,1,19 Our grandson Avram at our home in Herkimer, NY, with his first toys ever. This is shortly after he and his mother’s at last escaped Avram’s abusive and neglectful Green Card dad.

 

Fire Watch of 6.4-5 – They Figured It Out

by Stephen Ames Berry

Herkimer Fire Watch, 6.4-5. Our continuing coverage of the dangerous ongoing antics of the fire bugs next door: 332 Pleasant Avenue, Herkimer, a Jay Smith property. We’re a tinder-dry, flammable village along the Mohawk. We’ve had 3 deaths this year from a nighttime house fire, some very young kids perished.  Open fires within 100 feet of anything are illegal. Have been for years. Some folks don’t care. We do. Others do. The police and fire departments certainly do.

Herkimer Fire Performance of 6.4-5

Tonight’s performance was brief with fewer players than previously. All of these guys either live at or are associated with 332 Pleasant Avenue, the house to the left. It’s owned by, did I say? Herkimer landlord Jay Smith.
Police responded promptly and the fire was extinguished.

The shirtless Kyle from 332 Pleasant was as usual the chief performer. At minute 0:45, someone points out the unconcealed camera to him. They at last figured it out. It’s been there for months, as have the lights. Kyle reacts and everyone files by into the house, low-hanging fruit for video recognition software. 

Herkimer gang member showers security camera
6.5.17 332 Pleasant Avenue Herkimer fire bug Kyle showers security camera with love

Why do you move next door to a house with 25 cameras and a very active crime blog, unless of course, you want media coverage?

A tip of the hat to the Herkimer police for a quick response and to Herkimer County 911. We await the next performance. 

Herkimer Fire Watch of 6-2-19 [UPDATED 6.4 – VIDEO VIEWABLE]

6.4.19  Update: The YouTube video is now viewable on the post.

by Stephen Ames Berry

Our Herkimer fire watch of 6.2.19 saw yet another in the spate of dangerous and illegal fires behind landlord Jay Smith’s 332 Pleasant Avenue. Scofflaw tenants from all three Smith properties abutting Herkimer’s historic child trafficking lot participated, frolicking from 9 pm to midnight, just before Herkimer police arrived. It was obvious they’d been alerted that police were on the way. Following a phone call to one of them, the flames were quickly doused and most of the fire bugs scuttled into 332 Pleasant Avenue.

When the officer arrived a moment later, there were only two people fireside, watching a few dying flames. I doubt he was fooled—there was a lot of smoke still in the air.

Minute
1:05/3:05 334 Pleasant resident heaps household trash on fire.
3:30 Sparks fly. Happily a windless night and the ground damp.
3:39 Red and black jacket guy gets phone warning. Assume he had a friend monitoring the police channel. Fire doused by 332’s life-of-the-party Kyle.
4:01 All but the two fireside go into 332 Pleasant. Male voice overheard making unambiguous death threat about burning up two old people. All potential suspects captured on camera as they parade by. (They remind me of my old high school Behavior Boy class in Sarasota.)
5:05 Officer arrives. Not much to see. Quickly leaves.

Herkimer is highly flammable. We’ve already had 3 deaths by fire this year. This ongoing depraved indifference only makes it likely to happen again.

Sykes Gang Swarms – Police Respond

by Stephen Ames Berry

Herkimer gang head Stanley Sykes
Stanley Sykes in full cry.

Sykes’ gang head Stanley Sykes returned briefly to his old Herkimer drug and child trafficking lair this week. It was seemingly for a harmless picnic and a cheery fire with his gang members at 341 Eureka Avenue—341 anchors one end of Herkimer’s historic drug and child trafficking lot the Sykes gang used to control. They don’t appear to be trafficking out 341 anymore—some are barracked there, courtesy of the gang’s longtime landlord, Herkimer’s Jay Smith.

The Heinous Stanley Sykes Gang

The Sykes gang’s heinous, not harmless: they traffic drugs and kids and coordinate poison gas spraying campaigns against neighbors they want gone and whose houses they covet. We’ve overheard them pimping out their own kids. Stanley’s been gone a year, relocating after being highlighted in our widely-viewed Herkimer child trafficking series.

Sykes gang member Utica
5/26/19 Sykes gang member. probably from Utica, at 332 Pleasant Avenue fire circle. Not happy about our surveillance camera.

The gang’s Wednesday social event was a venue to harass us and assert dominance over the tenants in the lot’s other two houses, 332 and 334 Pleasant Avenue. The gang appears to now only fully control 341 Eureka Avenue. 

Herkimer Sykes gang member Harvey Bass with vandalized fence slat.
Junior Sykes gang member Harvey triumphantly waves kindling stick harvested from our fence. His grandfather Stanley’s red Honda SUV is to his right.

The Sykes gang took over 332 Pleasant Avenue’s massive beloved fire bowl for the occasion and gathered kindling from behind 334 Pleasant. No one was going to deny them permission. They had two of their weaponized kids vandalize our fence on camera as Stanley Sykes serenaded us with the mighty horn of his signature red Honda SUV, parked as close to our yard as he could get without knocking down our fence.

Stanley himself left just after sunset, leaving some of his crew that had come with him gathered about the fire bowl with a mix of gang and non-gang locals.

Then the police came. A lot of them:

Herkimer police respond to gang presence
5/26/19 Herkimer and State Police respond to gang presence at Jay Smith’s 332 Pleasant Avenue.

 

Video Timeline:
0:01-0:10 Stanley Sykes arrives at 341 Eureka Ave.
0:11-0:38 Carrie Ann Bass’s son Harvey, Stanley’s grandson (long hair), and Stanley’s putative son Eric harvest our fence for kindling.
0:39-0:54 Harvey gleefully waves his trophy for all to see.
0:55-1:09 Stanley contributes to fire. Seems jubilant.
0:10-1:35 Gang members frolic as they build fire at 332 Pleasant.
1:36 -1:43 Stanley Sykes leaves. (Possibly relocated back to Utica where from which he now operates.)
1:44-2:00 Mix of gang and non-gang members at fire behind 332 Pleasant.
2:01-2:12 Herkimer police officer seemingly warning that open fires are illegal in Herkimer. We are a small, close-set and highly-flammable village. Typically, violators are required to bank and their douse fire.
2:13-2:24 Same officer, different cameras.
2:32-2:43 Officer gone. Did someone say something they weren’t supposed to?
2:44-258 Lots of cops have appeared. Questions being asked. Seems to be a person of interest.
2:59-3:09 Police leave via 341 Eureka
3:10-3:35 Police return. Arrest made.
3:54-End Midnight debriefing among locals at 332 Pleasant Avenue.

 

Herkimer Village Highly Flammable

by Stephen Ames Berry

A reminder as we enter nicer weather – Herkimer Village is highly flammable.

Some of Herkimer landlord Jay Smith’s tenants hosted this event the night of 5/17-5/18. It’s behind 332 Pleasant Avenue. 332’s one of the three anchor properties surrounding Herkimer’s historic drug and child trafficking lot. All are Smith’s properties.

Things began reasonably enough in the early evening. But as the hours wore on, the crowd grew, the music soared, the booze flowed and the sparks flew high. To be fair to the folks who live at 332, they got the lot of them to kill the music, then took their kids in. Most places that would have signaled the end of the evening. But no. People I recognized were soon outnumbered by people I didn’t, and still they came.

What began with five or so folks with some kids grew to more than dozen adults, gathered about a blazing fire bowl the size of the mother ship. Sparks soared high. The police appeared shortly after 1 am, shut down the festivities and ordered the fire doused. (A large federal surveillance drone was also in attendance.)

332 Pleasant Ave Herkimer gang members flee cops
5/18/19 “The guilty flee where no man pursues.” Party goers skedaddle as Herkimer police approach. (Jay Smith’s 332 Pleasant Avenue, Herkimer.)

Jay Smith's 332 Pleasant Avenue Herkimer police shut down fire5/18/19 “Herkimer police shut down the festivities and ordered the fire doused.” The crowd is much smaller than it was a few seconds ago.

Herkimer Village A Tinderbox

Herkimer Village is a tinderbox of close-set very old houses. In January, we were all tragically reminded of how  deadly this can be when three small children died in a fast moving house fire just a few blocks away.

3 children killed in Herkimer fire
1/11/19 Three small children died in a fast-moving Herkimer blaze.

Herkimer does not allow open fires of any sort within 100 feet of any house, vehicle or structure. Period. (A grill is not a cover—it’s a grill.) The Herkimer police these days are quick to respond to reports of open fires and large crowds. Call them. The neighbor’s being ticked at you is better than you and yours going up in flames.

Herkimer Fire Law,  Section 1-14(B)

Camp fires and fires used solely for recreation purposes [are permitted[ when such fires are located at least one hundred (100) feet from any dwelling, structure, or vehicle and are properly controlled and supervised by the Herkimer Fire Department.

 

Herkimer’s Rogue CPS Workers

by Stephen Ames Berry

In March, in flagrant violation of New York law, two  rogue CPS workers, Sara Riente and Lisa Bates, abused their positions and took a malicious hand in a child custody court battle in another state. They acted so brazenly, so unprofessionally and so illegally under the color of authority that we think this sort of malfeasance has long been tolerated in Herkimer County.  

“Herkimer! Protect My Precious $on!”

We were recently subjected to false allegations of child abuse by our son-in-law, an Indian national, as he tried to gain sole custody of our two-year-old  grandson. He’s a very glib professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The kid’s not his natural son. According to our daughter’s court filings, in which she alleged spousal abuse and neglect, her husband never bought the child clothes or toys, never allowed stuff we sent to reach him, and referred to child as “the little bastard.”  Here’s our grandson Avram in our home last January, with first-ever new clothes and toys:

Somangshu Mukherji son's first toys everHad our grandchild remained here with his mother, the good professor might have ended up paying $1,000+ a month in child support until the child was 21. He seems to have done the math, as his feet barely touched the ground on his way to his attorney’s office to file for sole custody. To protect his “son”. 

Our daughter had barely filed her child support payment application before her husband reported her and us for child neglect and abuse with New York.  Herkimer Child Protection Worker Sara Riente promptly came to our house, spent fifteen minutes investigating our grandson’s safety, offered no criticism and left. She made one even shorter followup visit a month or so later.

In March, we received letters from from NY Child Welfare exonerating us of our son-in-law’s baseless accusations: “Unfounded” was the official finding.  Yet this was not the end of the matter.  Riente and her colleague Lisa Bates then came to our son-in-law’s aid in his Michigan custody case, giving him a document that was as damning of our family as it was illegal:

“At this time Avram does not meet the [standards of abuse or neglect]. [However] it does appear that it would be in the child’s best interest to be in the care of the parent who can provide access to regular medical care, a stable and sufficient and living environment and age appropriate supervision and care for a young child. Based on the evidence gathered during this investigation, this Department’s decision would be that [the mother] is not providing the above-mentioned care.”

Herkimer CPS Workers Go Rogue

Apparently dismayed at finding our grandchild healthy, well-fed, well-clothed and safe with people of whom they seemingly disapproved, Herkimer CPS workers Riente and Bates went rogue, colluding with our son-in-law: at his request, they wrote him an “official”Herkimer County Social Services letter, falsely stating that “it is the opinion of this Department” that our grandchild would be better off with his father. Our daughter only became aware of their poisonous letter when she received a copy of her husband’s court filing, in which it was offered as evidence of her unfitness as a mother and of our home as [not] stable and  [in]sufficient.

Bogus Herkimer Social Services’ Letter A Key Exhibit

In their venomous letter in support of our daughter’s husband, Riente and Bates threw aside all pretense of impartiality and professionalism. They miscast their libelous opinions as “the finding of this Department.” Seemingly not liking the “Unfounded” decision they were required to support under state law as child protection workers, they magically morphed into Herkimer county workers to express a different “official” finding,  subverting the law they were supposed to uphold.  Our son-in-law’s attorney cited their letter as key evidence that our daughter was an unfit mother and ours “not a loving home, Your Honor.”  Their treachery helped lose her custody of her son. 

Herkimer CPS Workers’ Defamatory Letter In Support Of Plaintiff Somangshu Mukhjeri

Somangshu Mukherji sneering
Somangshu Mukherji Sneering

Here’s Riente and Bates’ letter to my son-in-law, Somangshu Mukherji. I’ve redacted just about all the confidential information they malfeasantly  revealed, except for their conclusion on page 2, in which they dispute the lawful conclusion New York law compelled them to reach. They falsely present their scurrilous opinion as an official finding of Herkimer County Social Services. 

Cps ltr redacted

Despite our daughter’s request that the Michigan court disregard the Herkimer CPS’ workers letter as a violation of New York law, the court did not exclude it.

After several court appearances, our daughter lost custody of her son and he was returned to his father in Michigan–a process that was yet another instance of Herkimer County employees playing fast and loose with the law. 

Reporting Herkimer County Child Protection Workers’ Malfeasance

New York law enforces the right to confidentiality by those investigated by social services workers. It is one of the strongest in the nation. CPS workers Riente and Bates’ letter is a violation  of confidentiality under 18 NYCRR 432.7 and Social Service Law §§422(4)(A) & 427- a(5)(d)], and the New York’s Child Protective Services Manual. It’s a Class A Misdemeanor. The only information that should have been released to the father was whether his complaint was “indicated” or “unfounded”.  Anything beyond that is a breech of confidentiality under New York law.. New York has an excellent and concise guide to the procedure.

Filing Complaints About Herkimer CPS Workers’ Illegalities

If we tolerate outrageous and lawless conduct, it will continue.  Complaints about Herkimer Child Protection Workers’ actions should be sent to:

Sara Simon, Director
Syracuse Regional Office
NYS Office of Children and Family 
The Atrium, 100 S. Salina Street, Suite 350
Syracuse, NY 13202

New York Attorney General,  Bureau of Public Integrity

New York Civil Liberties Union
125 Broad St., 19th Fl., New York,
NY 10004. Telephone: 212-607-3300

Sue Them

You can also sue.  In a case like our daughter’s, where the evidence of malfeasance is low-hanging fruit, an attorney might take the case for damages on a contingency fee basis. Herkimer CPS workers are probably not worth suing. New York State is a sovereign entity and can rarely be sued. But Herkimer County can be.

This is New York, not Alabama. We have laws to protect us from illegal actions such as those of Herkimer’s rogue CPS workers. Make the law work for you. 

Child protection workers who engage in lawless vendettas against struggling parents and families simply because they disapprove of them should find another vocation. 

Herkimer Police Crackdown Continues

The ongoing Herkimer Police crackdown continues, with the arrest yesterday of an apparent drug gang member in front of landlord Jay Smith’s 332 Pleasant Avenue. The arrest, by Herkimer and state police, occurred at the start of Pleasant Avenue’s annual Spring Gang Swarming, a Herkimer tradition usually not challenged by police. This year was different, with an arrest that ended the festivities before they grew. Last year’s Spring Gang Swarm was sponsored by the Joyce Barton gang, its centerpiece the beating of herkimerpost.com’s editor by Herkimer street thug Shianne Hill. 

Police interrupt start of Herkimer's Spring Gang Swarming
4.7.19 Herkimer Police interrupt beginning of village’s Annual Spring Gang Swarming, this year hosted at Jay Smith’s 332 Pleasant Avenue by remains of the Stanley Sykes gang.

Herkimer Police Highly Proactive

Herkimer and New York state are aggressively challenging Herkimer gangs’ sense of ownership of village neighborhoods, this amid booming area real estate sales. As we long predicted, people are relocating to climate change  safe Upstate New York.  It’s a truism that as real estate values increase, crime decreases.
This gang appears to be the remaining dregs of the Stanley Sykes Gang, which trafficked children out of Jay Smith’s properties at 332 and 334 Pleasant Avenue and 341 Eureka Avenue.

Police arrest Herkimer gang member on at 332 Pleasant Avenue
4.7.19 Herkimer gang member arrested in front of Herkimer Post cameras. Herkimer and NY State Police officers participated. Gang members number about 11, with more in the process of joining them for the annual Herkimer Spring Gang Swarming. Then the police arrived.

Police activity along Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue has recently been constant and vigorous. A few days ago, Joyce Barton gang member, Joyce’s daughter Kylee Figueroa , was arrested at 333 Pleasant Avenue. Earlier on the day of this arrest at 332, multiple state and Herkimer police units responded to an incident at the King Street end of Pleasant Avenue, a few doors down from PK’s Pub. The house they entered remains cordoned off as a crime scene, with Herkimer police continuing to guard the property. Perhaps sometime the local press will tear itself away from its usual gripping coverage of 4H and village trustee meetings to tell us what happened.
332 Pleasant Avenue was reoccupied as a gang property in January, with intermittent drug trafficking activity occurring since. Additional gang members appear to have moved in there recently, or else are visiting so often and for so long as to be indistinguishable from residents. Herkimerpost.com hasn’t reported their activities: they haven’t bothered us and aren’t trafficking children, and we’re very busy with a major project. Federal law enforcement surveillance drones are a regular presence over the parking lot serving 332 and 334 Pleasant Avenue and 341 Eureka Avenue, making any coverage of trafficking we’d provide redundant. But any arrest here on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue is always welcome news that we’re happy to share. Here’s the video of the arrest. The timeline follows below.

 

Timeline of Herkimer Arrest of 4/7/19

0.01 Gang congregates at Jay Smith’s 332 Pleasant Avenue, spilling out onto the sidewalk. Opposite, standing next to parked car: Shianne Hill, Joyce Barton gang thug, serving 1-year probation for unprovoked beating of her 63 year-old neighbor. Hill has been placed under a restraining order.
0.17 Herkimer police arrive
0.27 Gang member (woman in red top) hands off her daughter to fellow gang member from 334 Pleasant Avenue. Child taken to Jay Smith’s 334 neighboring Pleasant Avenue. Red Top’s a well-known and highly visible drug trafficker.
0.43 Arrest made
1:29 Closeup of arrest
1:48 State police arrive from crime scene at house at King Street end of Pleasant Avenue
4:24 Herkimer officer appears to offer protesting gang member (Black guy, red shirt) a ride in a police car.

What’s Good About Herkimer’s Bad Crime Figures

Stephen Ames Berry

The most recently available crime figures for Herkimer are horrible.  Neighborhood Scout’s December 2018 report, assigned Herkimer a crime rating a 4, meaning that 96% of all US communities are safer than Herkimer. Chicago is safer than Herkimer

Herkimer’s violent crime rate is one of the highest in the nation… In Herkimer, your chance of becoming a victim of violent crime is one in 134…Of property crime, one in 21. [Also one of the highest in the nation.]

Neighborhood Scout’s most recent figures don’t just regurgitate the FBI’s semiannual  figures. They analyze data sourced from communities, and drill down, identifying each crime by geolocation code.

 The most unsafe area of Herkimer, for example, is shown as the south of Herkimer Village, where we live.  Looking at this blog’s crime postings and YouTube channel, you’ll see how accurate that report is: All of our 100+ videos of Herkimer crime were taken within 40 meters of our home.

The Good News About Herkimer’s Bad Crime Statistics

The good news about Herkimer’s bad crime stats is that they’re realistic. Had we seen such grim figures before buying a house in Herkimer 5 years ago, you wouldn’t be reading this–we’d have bought that nice two-family in nearby Little Falls, and I’d be finishing my long-neglected technothriller sequel. Little Falls doesn’t seem to have much of a gang presence. Here we’ve long had a gang entrenched next door, still enjoying diplomatic immunity.

 Only through hard won experience did we learn the crime figures were low because the police only made a few token arrests. If you suppress complaints and don’t make arrests, your reported crime rate stays low and crime soars. It’s this misfeasance that made Herkimer a haven for  drug and child trafficking gangs and its streets unsafe for the law-abiding.

Herkimer crime a visual motif
The 3 Wise Monkeys of Herkimer “If you suppress complaints and don’t make arrests, your reported crime rate stays low and crime soars.”

Herkimer No Longer Suppresses Crime Reports

It’s hard to resolve a problem without acknowledging it. Crime is now reported in Herkimer and arrests made, as reflected in these crime figures.  Last year saw some previously well-protected gang members arrested, notably the Joyce Barton gang’s vicious Shianne Hill, for assaulting a neighborhood grandmother. (Hill’s serving a year’s probation.)

Shianne Hill About to attack eldeerly woman
Herkimer’s Shianne Hill moving to attack neighboring grandma.

Crime Statistics a Lagging Indicator

Crime statistics are always a lagging indicator. Current dynamics hint that life is growing less perilous here in Herkimer.  Some of our most visible froth on the scum of the earth have either vanished or are keeping a low profile.   Poison gas attacks have stopped for now. And home sales are doing quite well. 

Joyce Barton Herkimer gang
“Some of our most visible froth on the scum of the earth have either vanished or are keeping a low profile.” Joyce Barton of Herkimer’s Barton Gang, sending a little love our way.
“Some of our most visible froth on the scum of the earth have either vanished or are keeping a low profile.” Stanley Sykes of Herkimer’s Sykes Gang sending a little love our way.

Climate Change Boosts Herkimer Real Estate Sales

I want to believe that Herkimer’s apparent crime crack down’s due to a sudden epiphany. But frankly it’s probably because the feds and the state are leaning on Herkimer. New York’s neglected Upstate has been widely identified as an ideal climate change sanctuary area, with Herkimer County predicted to boom as much of the US struggles to cope with escalating  climate change devastation. 

We in Herkimer and Upstate are sitting on some of the most valuable future real estate in US. The Gulf Coast and the Atlantic seaboard are rapidly losing their allure as retirement havens as massive storms increasingly batter the region amid rising seas, spreading homelessness and misery. New York City’s future is one of rising waters and shrinking land. Half of New York’s people  live in the state’s maritime counties. There’s no central national planning for climate change mitigation or relocation.  We aren’t the only ones who know this.

Herkimer area home sales and prices continue rising as eyes and interest  increasingly turn north, reflecting the region’s limited housing stock and a growing number of buyers. The median sale price rise for Herkimer real estate rose 7.2% in 2018 and is projected to almost double in 2019, to 13.3%, according to Zillow. Given the emerging dynamics of climate change migration, Herkimer real estate sale price should continue to rise.

Where Have All The Bodies Gone? (Redux)

Interestingly there are still no murders reported for Herkimer. This is very odd. Statistically, Herkimer should have murders, given its violent crime rate. We argued in our post Where Have All the Bodies Gone?  that Herkimer does have murders, they’re just  well concealed.  Opioids would be the least messy way to accomplish that, given the region’s opioid crisis.

Crime Widespread in the Mohawk Valley

Not just Herkimer is dangerous. So is much of the Mohawk Valley. Neighborhood Scout gives Utica a crime rank of 9. Little Falls ranks 14. Surprisingly, our neighboring village of Mohawk is a seeming paradise, according to its crime figures.

Village of Mohawk a Law Abiding Paradise?

Mohawk, adjacent to Herkimer and Little Falls, has a crime rating of 92. It doesn’t get much better. I’m a bit skeptical about that as Joseph Malone is the Mohawk Police Chief. When we moved here, he was also the Herkimer police chief. In May of 2016 Malone resigned as Herkimer police chief in the teeth of an ethics investigation. He was replaced by Chief Joseph Jory, who is apparently not arrest shy. So is Mohawk really all that safe? 

Escalating real estate sale prices may decrease crime rates

As real estate prices rise, crime drops. We saw this happen in Boston as tech firm workers bumped up sales prices, sparking a city-wide real estate boom. We did well  buying older  houses in marginal areas and renovating them. Criminals could no longer  afford to live in transitioned areas and were mostly gone after a few years. The same dynamics are emerging in Herkimer. Median monthly rents are now $900, up from $700 a few months ago.  Herkimer’s legacy gangs live in and traffic out of rented houses whose owners will sell out when the price is right. And that time seems close at hand. The Herkimer Post will continue greasing their skids.

We’re hoping next year’s Herkimer crime report, reflecting 2018, will show significant improvement as a result of better law enforcement amid changing demographics.