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.

 

New Herkimer Police Chief Jory Sees No Reason to “Reinvent the Wheel”

by Stephen Ames Berry

After an extensive and lengthy search of the entire village of Herkimer NY, village trustees appointed long-time Herkimer resident and Gloversville detective captain Michael Jory to head the Herkimer police. Village trustees interviewed three candidates out of a field of 10 for the position, said Herkimer Mayor and former Herkimer police officer Anthony Brindisi. The unsuccessful candidates’ names were not disclosed.

Chief Jory replaces former Herkimer Police Chief Joseph Malone, who abruptly retired in May of 2016 following release of the results of an ethics investigation. Malone is still neighboring Mohawk’s police chief. (Chief Malone is our Pleasant Ave. Herkimer neighbor. Pleasant Ave. traffic has fallen off since his retirement.)

Chief Jory takes $31k pay cut to command Herkimer Police

Chief Jory’s 2016 Gloversville pay was $93,586, according the Gloversville Leader-Herald. His salary as Herkimer police chief is $62,500. By taking a pay cut of $31,000–about the starting pay of his Herkimer officers–Chief Jory will be spared his two-hour round-trip Herkimer-Gloversville commute.

Herkimer Police Chief Jory Sees No Reason To “Reinvent the Wheel”

Among Chief Jory’s goals are to study for the police chief’s exam and enhance policing through the use of bicycle patrols. As to Herkimer police department operations, Chief Jory says he sees no reason “to reinvent the wheel.”

Chief Jory inherits a troubled department with a rich history of failing to protect Herkimer’s citizens. Typically this takes the form of Herkimer police officers refusing to take well-documented criminal complaints, or running interference under the color of law on behalf of well-monied criminals. Happily, the New York State Police haven’t shirked their duty to Herkimer. (NYSP Crime Tip link.)

2016 – Herkimer Police Expand Failure To Protect To National Security

In 2016, the Herkimer Police expanded its traditional failure to protect into the realm of national security, failing protect a key railway bridge used as cook site by Herkimer meth makers.  The Herkimer Post staff stumbled across this during a stroll along a historic Herkimer village hiking path. Our three-part series, The Herkimer Meth Bridge, helped catalyze a joint state-federal response to permanently secure the bridge and monitor crime-ridden Herkimer, potentially sparing Herkimer and the Hudson River Valley death and destruction on a 9/11 scale.

Lac Megantic train explosion
Lac Megantic Quebec burns following DOT-111 tanker car train explosion. The train was hauling 50,000 barrels of crude oil. from North Dakota’s Bakken crude oil.

Herkimer’s pristine skies are now patrolled by state-federal surveillance drones,

Quadcopter in dronebox
Quadcopter drone nested in a remote solar-powered recharging drone box. H3 Corp photo.

supported by boots on the ground and helicopters. As a result, drug trafficking appears to have fallen sharply and Herkimer’s major child trafficking operators have reshuffled operations.

Chief Jory wants us to “see the human being behind the badge.” We have, and some of them are not very pretty. If the chief wants to enforce the law in Herkimer, he’ll need to start cleaning house, “reinvent the wheel,” and put his shoulder to it. Otherwise, he’ll be widely seen as just another Herkimer good ol’ boy, kicking back and enabling business as usual. We await.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herkimer Police & The Nanny Nanny Boo Boo

12/17/16 Curtis Cool has put Herkimer on the map: 6,100+ views of his videos and growing, as referring sites offer them for free download. One comment on a British site: “The Herkimer Police–the strong arm of the law.”  

by Stephen Ames Berry and Linda Kaidan

“I’ve got a strong law enforcement community which is actively conducting … investigations.” Herkimer County District Attorney Jeffrey  S. Carpenter (9/8/16)  Herkimer Police wouldn’t take criminal harassment complaint.

Linda Kaidan making the Nanny Nanny Boo Boo gesture

Linda Kaidan unwittingly making the Nanny Nanny Boo Boo, ignorant that it was exculpatory for harassment  in Herkimer New York

Despite a change of command and increased patrols, Herkimer Police wouldn’t take criminal harassment complaint, even for this outrageous and well-documented incident. (We have more.) This one is fresh, others occurred under Herkimer’s previous police chief, Joseph Malone, who abruptly retired in the teeth of an ethics investigation. It demonstrates an alarming ongoing pattern of failure to protect by the Herkimer Police.

Typically the Herkimer Police say they’ll only take a complaint following a second incident of harassment, because Herkimer District Attorney Jeffrey Carpenter won’t prosecute. Harassment must be repeated to qualify as a criminal offense.

Not true. Your tormentor must either “engage in conduct or repeatedly commit acts which alarm or seriously annoy the victim and serve no legitimate purpose,” according to New York state lawHere’s a local aggravated assault case that resulted in an arrest by the New York State Police for second-degree aggravated harassment, based upon “19 menacing phone calls within a 20-minute time span.” We endured 7 threats of grave bodily harm in 10 minutes, following a previous incident of public harassment.

Harassed? Take your evidence to the State Police. They know the difference between an Or clause and an And clause. If Herkimer District Attorney Carpenter refuses to prosecute, he’ll have to make his excuses to the State of New York, not to the easily cowed Village of Herkimer. Here’s a very good explanation of New York’s harassment laws.

Herkimer Aggravated Harassment Incident of 8/23/16

Curtis Cool Herkimer drug and child trafficker
Curtis Cool. Cop-coddled Herkimer drug thug and child trafficker

On Tuesday August 23, 2016, we were again verbally harassed and then threatened with multiple acts of physical violence by 328 Pleasant Avenue tenant, Curtis Cool, aka Curtis Dolan, first in our driveway and then on the public sidewalk. The previous night we’d again reported Cool for yet another of his multiple illegal late night fires.)

The Herkimer Police and the New York State Police responded promptly and again defused Curtis Cool. The responding officers were very supportive and encouraged us to file a harassment complaint at the Herkimer Police station. Cool’s actions seemed to us to be obviously either 2nd or 1st Degree Aggravated Harassment. With Cool charged, we could obtain a Temporary Order of Protection, which would force him to move from his base at Clerk of Court Harriett Tangorra’s 328 Pleasant Avenue house.

On Wednesday 8/24 we gathered our evidence–two cellphone videos, a surveillance cam video and a detailed narrative.  At approximately 2:30 p.m, we went to the Herkimer Police station after first calling to see if it would be convenient to do so. The officer on duty, Officer Jason Crippin, said to come down.

Herkimer Police Say Nanny-Nanny-Nanny-Boo Excuses Aggravated Harassment

Officer Crippin asked us to wait while he looked at abundant evidence. He briefly reviewed a short portion of our first cellphone video, seen below, then stopped and refused to write up a complaint. “It would just be a waste of time,” he said.

Jason Crippin Herkimer Police
Criminal-coddling Officer Jason Crippin, Herkimer Police. Twice we’ve seen him protecting monied criminals.

His reason? Officer Crippin said one of us (Kaidan) had triggered Cool’s menacing and threats of grave bodily harm by making a nanny nanny nanny boo gesture from our driveway at Cool as he peppered us with taunts and obscenities. Officer Crippin’s implication? That Herkimer County District Attorney Jeffrey Carpenter would not prosecute Cool, as Kaidan’s nanny-nanny-boo-boo would exonerate Cool, holding him harmless for his threats and menacing.

Here’s the portion of the cellphone clip reviewed by Officer Crippin before dismissing us. It has been closed captioned for the selectively hearing impaired. (Full Screen/click on the CC icon.): [Yo! It’s Curtis Cool: Parents strongly cautioned.]

The incident continued a moment later as Kaidan, refusing to be driven inside her home by Cool, asserted her right to walk along the public sidewalk in front of Cool’s house. Here’s an extract from that clip. (Officer Crippin didn’t review it, so we didn’t closed caption it):

Both full length videos from 8/23 (7 threats of grave bodily harm), and our surveillance camera footage confirming the events, place, date and time are on our flash drive, gathering dust at the Herkimer Police station. Included with them is our narrative of the incident and our video of Cool’s previous public harassment of us on 8/11/16. (During this last he cited his landlord, Harriett Tangorra in demanding our arrest. For having surveillance cameras.  ) Officer Crippin used our narrative to review the first clip. Seeing the nanny-nanny-boo-boo, he gave Cool a pass and  sent us packing.

Officer Crippin’s Advice

Herkimer village trustees
The 3 Wise Monkeys of Herkimer

Officer Crippin’s advice was the same as that of Herkimer’s drug thugs when we first unwittingly moved to Pleasant Avenue: Hide: “Keep away from him and just stay in your apartment, ” Crippin advised.  (

It’s our house. We own it. It’s next door to Tangorra’s. The sidewalk is a public place. We asserted our right to use it. We will continue to do so.

Officer Crippin then belatedly added this was just this opinion. And that we might try our luck with one of the responding officers–maybe they’d take a complaint. He seemed miffed that we’d distracted him from his law enforcement duties.

the Herkimer Police wouldn’t take criminal harassment complaint- WHo wins?

This is the 4th time in two years we’ve had the Herkimer Police ooze out of taking some flavor of a harassment complaint against cash-heavy criminals. We’ve heard the same from others. This isn’t policing, it’s depraved indifference. It throws  Herkimer’s people to the wolves for the sake of politicians cynically running for office as crime fighters. And it emboldens criminals like Cool, who recently moved away unscathed despite many police and fire department visits. (To our knowledge, Cool was never cited for his illegal bonfires nor charged with harassment.) When Herkimer Police refused again to take a criminal harassment complaint, they made it clear that law and order is not their priority.

And so it goes on, with Herkimer’s reputation as a lawless jurisdiction attracting more criminals and endangering even more people.

“A matter of public safety”

Herkimer’s good cops seem to leave if they can, the few bad ones content to stay, cozied up to criminals and even sometimes running interference for them. Crime goes unreported and soars, with entire streets abandoned to drug traffickers. Herkimer’s reputation as a lawless jurisdiction attracts more drug and child traffickers. It becomes an even more dangerous place to live. There’s a strong smell of rotten fish in the air.

What does it matter that Herkimer Police wouldn’t take criminal harassment complaint?

Who stands to win if we all lose? Criminals, greedy landlords, criminal defense attorneys. And some politicians: Incumbent Herkimer County District Attorney Jeffrey Carpenter is trumpeting a lowered violent crime rate in support of his reelection. It’s easy to lower the crime rate if your police don’t take criminal complaints. To take them and act on them, though, is “A matter of public safety.”

[Narrative of incident of 8/23/16 submitted to Herkimer Police is below. Times stated refer to the full videos submitted to the Herkimer Police. Here’s the concrete block Cool was hefting off-camera.] And here’s the unedited clip given the Herkimer Police.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Life on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue

by Linda Kaidan

When we first saw the interior of our new old house on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue,  the soft winter light streamed in from numerous well-placed windows, gently illuminating the warm pastel colors on the walls. It felt so good, so homey–I decided to buy it in only 10 minutes.

I still love my house and the abundance of breathtaking natural places that surround it here along the Mohawk, but the brutal warfare of the last two years has been a trial. When we purchased our home at 330 Pleasant Ave in Herkimer, New York, we were unaware that a vicious war would shortly ensue, one between us and the entrenched gang of criminals who’ve occupied Pleasant Avenue and much of South Herkimer Village since at least 2011.

I’ve lived in many places including two war zones, but never before encountered the level of depravity  that exists on Pleasant Avenue. I believe that the numerous techniques used by at least one organized criminal gang are their proven tool set, quite effective in ridding them of unwanted attention for years, if not decades.

However, Herkimer’s criminals have been slow on the uptake and ignorant of the changes in the world around them. Two forces have been acting against them. One is climate change. As our planet grows increasingly stressed by hostile weather conditions and the resulting fires, droughts and famines, more and more eyes are turning towards the vast abundance of natural resources we possess here in the Mohawk, Adirondack and Great Lakes region.

Most people are blind to the incredible wealth of our region. But many aren’t. If you look you’ll see how much renovation there’s has been in the past few years, not just in Herkimer and Herkimer County, but also in Albany and Syracuse. State and federal government and corporations recognize this as a strategic climate survival area. If you’re perceptive, you’ll see the result of some of the heavy hammers quietly obliterating  the criminal enterprises that long flourished unchallenged in Herkimer.

The Internet is another major force opposing these soulless purveyors of drugs, kids, willful harm and death. Inexpensive technology offers each and every one of us the ability to observe, record and comment on what we see. And our rights as Americans grant us the freedom to do so. The Internet is a force for communication and a weapon for good in the ongoing war between criminals and their prey.

In March of 2014, we bought 330 Pleasant Avenue from Harriett Tangorra, Senior Clerk of the Herkimer County Supreme Court, for $32,000 in cash. She never mentioned the level of danger present on this street. (We were  told it could be noisy in the summer.) However, when we were harassed and assaulted by her tenant Curtis Cool (aka Curtis Dolan), who lives right next door at 328 Pleasant Ave., she was indifferent to our plight, recommending that we purchase the property if we wish to control who lives there.

In the last two years we have spent $5,000 on cloud data storage, security services, surveillance cameras, web hosting and internet service not to mention thousands of hours of our time. We have suffered personal property losses due to vandalism by our neighbors and have experienced outrageous harassment. My children have vowed never to enter Herkimer again.

330 Pleasant Avenue Herkimer Vandalism of 4/15/16
330 Pleasant Avenue Herkimer Vandalism of 4/5/16

Recently we have seen encouraging changes in this community. Fire Chief Spanfelner has taken over code enforcement and is patrolling the streets taking effective action. Our street has been quieter and the former haunted house across the way has undergone significant renovation by Paul and Don.

Herkimer Village is an outstanding place to create a sustainable community that will help us live in these trying times of climate change. All it takes to succeed is a community commitment to fortify our resources of services, infrastructure, people and education. Each person in this community can take a role and assume a responsibility for our continued and successful survival.

Another Bad Day for Herkimer’s Douglas Barton

by Stephen Ames Berry

Sad Sack Doll
Sad Sack Rag Doll

I’ve been sitting on Another Bad Day for Herkimer’s Douglas Barton for a while. I was abruptly reminded of it this morning as alert sirens wailed over the Herkimers and Herkimer and East Herkimer fire units roared past. Fearing that  Herkimer Fire Chief Spanfelner and former East Herkimer Deputy Chief Douglas Barton were among the responders,  I hurried home, hoping it was just an air raid and armed myself with a cognac. Here’s the posting:

April 30th was another bad day for Douglas Barton of the East Herkimer Fire Department. Earlier this year Barton lost his garage in a sudden blaze at 333 Pleasant Avenue, a rental he shares with the lovely Joyce Bartonanother bad day for Herkimer's Douglas Barton. Then came the Herkimer Post’s publication of a forensic video analysis of key moments of Deputy Fire Chief Barton’s fire. In it we asked what Chief Barton knew and when he knew it. (No answer yet.) We forwarded that link to New York State authorities.  Barton was returned to the ranks of his volunteer fire company. (Perhaps for a hoot they sometimes let him blow the air horn.)

Herkimer Police investigation at 333 Pleasant Avenue

A Herkimer Police officer appeared at Barton’s home at 333 Pleasant Avenue on 4/30/16 shortly after Barton arrived. Barton’s truck and house were photographed. His truck was carefully inspected, with special attention to the left front area, especially the wheel well. (We’ve noticed that Supreme Court Clerk Harriet Tangorra’s tenant Curtis Cool, aka Curtis Dolan of 328 Pleasant Avenue, enjoys fiddling with his own wheel well. Must be a drug street thing.)

Hard to tell without video enhancement, given the distance from the camera and the drizzle, but Douglas Barton may have been issued a court appearance ticket. 

It’s heartening to see authentic local law enforcement on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue. It’s coincident with the abrupt retirement of our Pleasant Avenue neighbor, Herkimer Police Chief Joseph Malone, outed by an ethics investigation. Only a year ago the Herkimer Police contented themselves with at best gently chiding the Bartons when they did something foul, sometimes even supporting their reign of terror of the street by attempting intimidation under the color of authority.

Pleasant Avenue’s drug trafficking has fallen off, thanks to the feds and the state.  Decent folks are moving into newly sold homes and many of our drug scum have left. Perhaps the Bartons will soon join them. (Chief Malone still commands in Mohawk.

 Author Stephen Ames Berry is a former officer of Harvard University and a veteran of the National Security Agency’s US Army Security Agency. He lives in Pleasant Avenue’s historic Camera House.

Herkimer Fire Chief John Spanfelner Sees Nothing

Herkimer Fire Chief Sees Nothing

Below’s a clip of a conversation I had with Herkimer Fire Chief John Spanfelner on 6/14/16. The backdrop of it is the repeated illegal bonfires over past few months at 328 Pleasant Avenue, which is next to our own house at 330.  328 Pleasant Avenue is owned by Mrs. Harriett Tangorra, Clerk of the Herkimer Supreme Court, who unblushingly rents it to abusive thug and pyromaniac Curtis Cool, aka Curtis Dolan.

Despite my emailed reports and videos of the fires over the last 6 weeks to Mayor Anthony Brindisi and Fire Chief Spanfelner, Herkimer officials have yet to take any action to protect our village neighborhood of close-set, tinder-dry 19th century homes from the threat posed by a deeply disturbed young man. A fast-moving nighttime fire could easily wipe out scores of houses and sleeping people. (Mr. Cool likes his fires late at night.) Only when I said I’d be advising my property insurance carrier that Herkimer was demonstrating misfeasance by failing to remedy a known threat to life and property did village authorities take a grudging interest.

The only response to this ongoing threat was on 6/6, when Chief Spanfelner visited 328 Pleasant Avenue, 7 days after receiving my video clips and narrative of the most recent Cool blaze of 5/30. The chief concluded that there was no evidence of the fire, that my videos were of the wrong yard, gave the fire thug a copy of the village fire regulations and left. Following the chief’s feel-good visit, Cool celebrated on 6/11 by assailing my wife and I on the sidewalk, and then with a major illegal fireworks barrage on 6/13.

The following morning, the 14th, I called Chief Spanfelner. We first discussed Cool’s hugely dangerous, bird-killing bombardment of the night before, about which the chief said he can do nothing. We then talked about about his investigation on 6/6 of the fire of 5/30. The chief said there’s no no evidence that it ever occurred.  As for our surveillance cameras’ clips, he dismissed them as not showing the yard next door, but the yard of 326 Pleasant Avenue, two houses away, which our cameras don’t cover. By implication, all the other vidoes of the fires in at 328 were also of the wrong yard.  (The Herkimer Fire Department doesn’t care for our videos, many of which I share with NY state authorities.)

328 Pleasant Avenue Herkimer Fire of 5/30/16
Fire of 5/30/16 in yard of 328 Pleasant Ave. Note circle in top right behind fire, marking fence boundary with 326 Pleasant Ave.

As they say in Brooklyn, you can’t make this stuff up. (The Harriett referred to in the conversation is owner Harriet Tangorra. “He” is tenant Curtis Cool.)

Written by Herkimer Post Crime Editor, author Stephen Ames Berry. Berry is a former officer of Harvard University and a veteran of the National Security Agency’s US Army Security Agency.

Dead Birds Don’t Cry

by Linda Kaidan

Fireworks Cause Bird Deaths and Blazes
Fireworks can cause bird deaths and harm many animals

Fireworks Cause Bird Deaths and Blazes

Several days ago we mourned the loss of a small bird that may have nested in one of Curtis Cool’s trees. Yesterday we found the feathered remains of a downy baby bird and its mom. Yet again last night Curtis Cool (A/K/A Curtis Dolan) and his cronies enjoyed another loud and highly explosive fireworks display about 4 feet away from the house he rents from Harriet Tangorra at 328 Pleasant Ave.

Herkimer police and fire officials seem unable to convince Mr. Cool to cease his noisy, dangerous and illegal, fire-obsessed activities, ongoing now for 2 months. Perhaps they don’t really want to? We have shared our videos that stream automatically offsite with you, the public and with Herkimer Mayor Anthony Brindisi and Fire Chief John Spanfelner. They’ve left Herkimer’s population at risk by doing nothing to stop Mr. Cool from his illegally loud and incendiary backyard actions.

In his first 1:00 AM backyard bonfire, Mr. Cool was assured by a policeman that such fires were OK and nearly patted on the back to alleviate the annoyance of their visit. Last night when we called police, all they did was drive down the street past his house. WOW!

Why is it that both Herkimer Police and Herkimer Fire Department think it’s such a good idea to let Mr. Cool play with fire and break NY State law regarding maximum decibel levels and fire laws? They are teaching adults and children alike some bad lessons.

  • Molesting animals with horrible noise – Not a Problem!
  • Breaking the law (county, state and Federal)– Not a problem!
  • Endangering neighbors’ lives and homes – Not a problem!

Dear Herkimer Police and Fire Department, it’s your responsibility to uphold the laws of our country and community. It’s your responsibility not to embolden those who break them. Mr. Cool is loudly proclaiming that he can do whatever he pleases and you are letting him get away with it. This is a problem!

Fireworks cause blazes, human injuries and fatalities

According to Smithsonian magazine fireworks can badly disorient birds. Loud noises caused by fireworks upset dogs and other pets and can cause extreme anxiety. The US Government Consumer Safety Commission reports

  • Fireworks were involved in an estimated 10,500 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2014 (95 percent confidence interval 7,700–13,300).
  • An estimated 7,000 fireworks-related injuries (or 67 percent of the total estimated fireworks-related injuries in 2014) were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during the 1-month special study period between June 20, 2014 and July 20, 2014 (95 percent confidence interval 4,900–9,200).
  • Four victims died in house fires caused by fireworks, including several where the person(s) killed may not have been using fireworks. Seven victims died from direct impacts of fireworks. Reporting of fireworks-related deaths for 2014 is not complete, and the number of deaths in 2014 should be considered a minimum.

 

Herkimer Police Respond to Latest Fire at 328 Pleasant Avenue – Fire Chief Shrugs It Off

by Stephen Ames Berry

Yet another dangerous nighttime fire at 328 Pleasant Avenue Herkimer this time saw a vigorous Herkimer police response. The fire of 5/31 fire followed on the heels of the towering inferno of the previous week. Same tenants. Same accelerant. Same depraved indifference. Here’s a short video:

Fire remains 328 Pleasant Ave fire of 5.30.16
Remains of fire of 5.30.16 at 328 Pleasant Avenue

328 Pleasant Avenue Herkimer is owned by Mrs. Harriett Tangorra, and sits among its close-packed, tinder-dry 19th and early 20th century neighbors. In the last five weeks it’s been the scene of three illegal fires, one in which the yard’s racist thugs assailed an elderly Jewish neighbor. (That would be my wife, blog hostess Linda) in an anti-Semitic and ageist tirade. And then there was their poor abused dog.

Adjacent structures 328 Pleasant Avenue fire of 5.30.16
Adjacent structures – 328 Pleasant Avenue fires site. Note plastic screen gazebo feet from fire source.

Prompt Herkimer Police Response to 328 Pleasant Avenue Fire

But the following day, a Herkimer police officer arrived and spoke with the thugs lounging mid-day in the yard. The officer was there for about 20 minutes. Don’t know what he said to them but they did not at all like it. As he pulled away, they began screaming obscenities and racing their ATV engine, one of them bellowing “Psychotic bitch!” and their usual tedious “Gonna fick you up!”

That last were probably meant my wife,  who they probably thought called the law on them. But no, we did not call the police, or the fire department, as we’d only just discovered their latest episode of pyromania while reviewing our last night’s surveillance footage.  As their bonfires threaten both Pleasant Avenue and Eureka Avenue, someone else may just possibly have reported them–possibly several someones. Their only friends on this street are their fellow drug thugs.

Herkimer Fire Chief John Spanfelner Discusses 328 Pleasant Avenue Fire Safety Issues

Herkimer Fire Chief John Spanfelner visited me today to discuss the recurring dangerous fires at 328 Pleasant Avenue. Following our cordial conversation, during which he reiterated the need for night time vigilance, the chief assured me a call to either 911 or the Fire Department would see any illegal fire promptly doused by the Fire Department, backed by the police if necessary. He noted he’s contacted the owner, Mrs. Tangorra, who seemed unaware of the size of the fires. (Perhaps I’m texting my video links for her to the wrong cellphone number?  )

Chief Spanfelner then visited with Mrs. Tangorra’s tenant Curtis Cool (A/K/A Curtis Dolan) at neighboring 328 Pleasant Avenue. Watching him go, I felt relieved that someone was finally doing something to protect Pleasant Avenue from its resident fire thug. I was wrong.

6/24/16. Postscript. Chief Spanfelner had an equally cordial visit with fire thug Curtis Cool at 328 Pleasant Avenue, politely providing him with a copy of the Village of Herkimer fire ordinances. The chief confirmed this in a phone conversation with me, which would have to be heard to be believed. Embolden by the chief’s act of nonfeasance, Cool reacted as you might expect a criminal to act. More on this later.

Author Stephen Ames Berry is The Herkimer Post’s Crime Editor. Berry is a former officer of Harvard University and a veteran of the National Security Agency’s US Army Security Agency.

 

Neighbor Kicks Ball at Homeowner – Herkimer Police Threaten Homeowner with Larceny

football-sports-game-girl-playing-player-soccer

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 propertymust 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.