NYPD bust alleged gang rivalry between Harlem housing projects
Police named more than 100 suspected gang members in a major bust Wednesday morning at two Manhattan housing projects.
The arrests come after years of violence between youths in the the General Ulysses S. Grant Houses and rivals at the Manhattanville Houses in Harlem.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton unveiled the charges against 103 individuals at One Police Plaza, and will detail crimes that include at two murders, 19 non-fatal shootings and some 50 shooting incidents between residents at the two houses.
The arrests came after what authorities described as a more than four-year investigation between the Manhattan DA’s Office’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit and the Police Department’s Gang Division.
“The deadly and dangerous feud between the Manhattanville and Grant Houses dates back decades,” District Attorney Vance said Wednesday. “In the last four years, it has escalated into a bloody turf war marked by violence for the sake of violence.”
The indictments identified at least three gangs in the supposed turf war: the Make it Happen Boys, Money Avenue and 3 Staccs. Vance said that at least 50 illegal guns during the shootings, some of which were traded by kids as young as 10 years of age.
Law enforcement officials also said that the investigation found hundreds of social media posts and cell phone messages that connect the defendants to hits on rival gang members and other illegal activity.
Much of those published communications made reference to a September 2011 shooting in Grant Houses when 18-year-old resident and aspiring basketball star Tayshana “Chicken” Murphy was gunned down by at least man from the Make It Happen Boys gang.
Callous messages and posts from gang members from the Make it Happen Boys and Money Avenue about Murphy, including one from a Facebook account said to belong to Ty-Kwan “Ty” Allen on Sept. 14, 2011 that said, “I LIKE MY CHICKEN DEEP FRIED.”
Another Facebook exchange between accounts belonging to defendant Carlos “Loso” Rodriguez and Marquis “Lil Knockout” Jones said, “WE HAD LIKE FIVE BRAWLS IN ONE DAY AND THEN WE LEFT,” and, “SOMEBODY CLAPPED THE CHICKEN GIRL IN THE HEAD.”
Alleged members from 3 Staccs, meanwhile, supposedly plotted to retaliate in Murphy’s honor.
A Facebook message between accounts named to Isaac “K Leaf Ski” Khalif and Paul “Paulie” Washington asked, “WHO THE F— SHOT CHICKEN CAUSE THEY DEAD.”
Later that fall, Washington’s Facebook account had a status update that read “I TALK MA S— CUZ I WALK MA S— N EVER SINCE CHICKEN DIED THE 45 IS WAT I’M WALKIN WITH!!!!!”
At least three buildings in Harlem were raided at around 6 a.m. by officers in full body armor who eventually pulled out dozens of residents in handcuffs.
Since 2011, two men were arrested and convicted in connection to the shooting during separate trials for Murphy’s death. Robert Cartagena 23, and Tyshawn Brockington, 24, are currently serving 25 years to live in prison.
More than 4,500 people live in the nine buildings that make up Grant Houses. Manhattanville, a three-minute walk away, is home to 2,756 residents between its six buildings.
“The many law-abiding members of the communities afflicted by this violence are now walking on safer streets,” Bratton said in a statement.
Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria