On Childhood Juggling,Kid Working Out and Me and Eminem’s Mom

When I was a young boy there were not three like objects in my house. There were not three of the same balls  in my house. And my Mom was tight with finances for toys (she didn’t have any when she was a kid; her mother gruffly said “Whaddya need that for” when my mother as a kid heartbreakingly, she said,asked for some paper dolls). So as she went so did we go,toy deprived. I bet Em’s mom at least  bought his ass some Hot Wheels — come clean out my fucked up closet son.

But I was an avid,serious juggler in training doing 3 objects in the advanced Shower Style (I didn’t know better)


Rather than in the meant for beginners Cascade Style


I would juggle oranges and when the skin split I’d put electrical tape on them and put them back in the fridge and be yelled at steadily; what! wasting food glorious food and they were yiddishkeit racists so mommy (as we pathetically mistakenly called her) didn’t bother guilt tripping us on starving shvatza children in Africa.

I also loved working out and the 2+2=4 simplicity of achievement of it. You do it hard it rewards you hard no matter who you are what you do if you’re liked or not talented or not a good boy or not cool or not popular or not friendless.

As Dianne Wiest said of childhood ballet, I liked the “escape from uncertainty” of it.  

Of course I had no weights to lift
so I’d go into my sister’s room when she wasn’t there and in her full length mirror hanging on the door I would watch myself lifting, curling volumes of her World Book Encyclopedia set. Each night I would take a different volume to bed to read.

Shlemiel shlimazl blaring from the TV as my disconsonant soundtrack in the hellish 80s  I was Spartan despite it all holed up on 2 Ethel Court 11798 off of Bagatelle Road (get the  maps up boys) technically once Wyandanch but changed to the fake great manor born Wuthering, sorry, Wheatley, Heights.

On Police Misconduct, an NYPD precinct with extraordinarily high civilian complaint statistics (the 75th), and when you once get wrongly cuffed for six hours to a precinct bench and you once get wrongly assaulted by a police officer in a precinct, there isn’t, wasn’t, a damn thing I could do about it So I wrote this

On Police  Misconduct, an NYPD precinct with extraordinarily high civilian complaint statistics (the 75th), and when you once get wrongly  cuffed for six hours to a precinct bench and you once get wrongly assaulted by a police officer in a precinct, there isn’t, wasn’t, a damn thing I could do about it  So I wrote this

Attached in this post below are screen shots from the NYPD’s Civilian Complaint Review Board 2015 annual report

In the report they list every single NYPD precinct in New York City and the number of complaints that have been lodged against each precinct. Here they cite a five year total 2011-2015

Most precincts have 200,300,400 complaints; 500 in a rougher precinct. Two particularly dangerous crime ridden areas in the Bronx patrolled by the 44th and the 40th precincts have 700 complaints. And that’s it, a complete picture of crime and community police relations in the city.

But there’s one glaringly how the hell can this be allowed tolerated (italics mine but they should  be yours and the NYPD’s) exception.

The  75th police precinct of East New York Brooklyn. For that same period it had a number absurdly higher than any other place– 1,344 complaints — you hear, one precinct in one community had 1,344 complaints lodged against it. Almost double the number of those two for real rough precincts in the Bronx .

I know I might be beating a dead horse, I’ve written and reported on East New York a lot.

But what the hell NYPD, CCRB- Garner, chokeholds, stop and frisk  are legitimate  and important issues  bit in some ways they’re individual isolated of a time. This is endemic, its been like this  in East New York since CCRB stats were being  compiled. No sarcasm, but where’s your white paper on this, your New York Lawyers for The Public Interest led civil suit on this, even a damn mention on your website that’s chock full of every imaginable statistical minutiae — a 1,344 complaints against cops in one community.

Commanding Officer of the 75th Michael Lipetri seems like a decent and honorable leader  (as much as you can tell from a twitter account) and the 75th is a hard hard precinct to work.

But sincerely how the heck do you look in the eye  of a decent East New York resident and rationally justifiably explain without apology  1,344 complaints when,say, Murray Hill where my girl lived has 260 complaints for the same period. People don’t  have a right to live like this (on a side note when I was reporting in East New York I could’ve filed legitimate CCRB complaints on different police officers maybe  12 times).

On a larger  side note I got yanked off a Port Authority bus by a group of police officers on some false charge of making a 911 call to endanger East New York police. I was handcuffed to a bench for six hours. When I went back to that precinct a week later as the desk sergeant instructed me in a phone conversation, an officer there whose badge number and name I will never forget – – how do I say this properly — degraded me, taunted me, confiscated destroyed my property, had me on my knees, lies to me, then assaulted the hell out of me hard —  in his precinct right there in Port Authority  with 12 other cops there  who witnessed it.  I’m laying there crumpled on the ground and I said to  him why the hell did you do that? He said because I hit him first. Since I’m not dead or doing  a 2 year bid in Dannemora Correctional, you he and I know that that’s a straight up ugly lie, and coming from a police officer it’s essentially a damn false criminal charge. And God help the defendant who gets this officer on the stand testifying against him.*

I called 911, EMS, Internal Affairs, Port Authority Integrity Unit, CCRB, reported it to another precinct trying to file assault charges – no one ever got back to me, nothing at all happened.  Call the Port Authority Integrity Unit (their version of Internal Affairs) anytime and it just  rings and rings, no one ever answers, they don’t even have voice mail.  I had to leave my complaint with a secretary in administration.

So this heavyweight Port Authority officer got to play UFC with me sending me flying 6 feet thorough the air into a concrete wall (though maybe play UFC is not quite right, when I looked up at him as he was standing over me after the assault his whole body was visibly shaking).

I hope he’s sorry, maybe PTSD, he served  in the military in combat, but at my worst I sometimes imagine he tells the story over beers laughing about what he did to that fucken reporter. No macho on this but if I ever somehow impossibly heard him doing this word is just about bond please  put money on my commissary books because I would proudly do 2 years on the gate on the count in the dayroom etc for that kind of violation.

Seriously these 75th Precinct numbers are too exceptional; something is very wrong at that precinct and command should do something otherwise you’ll have more Michael Dowds running your streets  hurting people, communities, and tarnishing the image of good cops.



















capture_1468544409603~2*On not naming this officer, I know this is not strongly defensible or consistent with how I operate as a journalist  but I can’t bring myself to fuck with him that way, something he would probably do, low-grade coward snitch to hurt or to ruin a man without giving him a chance.   And it’s for a similar reason I went down to the precinct when the sergeant told me to over the phone.  I knew I was walking into a lions den, the desk Sergeant was being obnoxious, game playing hostile. But I went because I hate the idea of being afraid or having to watch myself or call a lawyer to fight in the shadows; not confront them man to man when I did absolutely nothing wrong and they acted so immoraly.  That cop wouldn’t have done it, and I don’t want to be that kind of man.  In fact in between throwing a folder of my papers across the room screaming in my face and body slamming me he told me maybe three times “Get the fuck out of here, call a lawyer.”

But I may be wrong about this, if I had an emergency and to call 911 meant this officer would show up I would just quote NWA and handle it myself. He either learned his lesson after coming close to being burnt (after this happened I raised hell to him and every other cop in the precinct, to 911, to EMS who responded while I was in the precinct (first it was get the fuck out, after the assault they wouldn’t let me leave  even though I said I wanted to repeatedly) called my wife, a lawyer and told her what happened gave the officer’s badge number and spelled out his name all in front of him, them; strong loud and emphatically. Or the cop doesn’t give a damn about a kevin heldman and doesn’t belong on the streets with a gun and extraordinary powers.






























37 year-old Delron Dempsey, his girlfriend, their 4-month son and two daughters were driving through East New York at around midnight on July 4. NYPD Officer Wayne Isaacs, 37, an off duty cop with 3 years on the job was also on the road.  They got into a foolish macho traffic dispute. Both men stopped at a light.
Officer Issacs stayed in his car, Dempsey exited  and according to police punched Isaacs through the car window(?)  The Daily News reported:
“Dempsey approached the driver’s side window and punched the cop twice as he sat in the vehicle — once in the face and another time in the mouth, a police source said.”
Issacs called police stating  officer needs assistance. But why did Issacs even pull over and play this macho game. Why didn’t he roll up his damn window, drive away.  Isaacs’ life was really on danger? Dempsey was unarmed. The intersection where they pulled over, Atlantic & Bradford, was one mile from the 75th police precinct, six  minutes if you’re driving the speed limit. If Isaacs thought he was going to die from Dempsey’s punches, he’s on the radio with cops and he could floor it to the 75th, be there in 3 minutes and be safe.  But no retreat, no deescaltion, no effort to preserve and protect life for Issacs.
He’s gonna thug up and bring a gun to a fist fight; pull his service revolver and shoot Dempsey dead.  Self defense George Zimmerman style. What a man, what a cop.
Yeah Dempsey’s not a choir boy as Giuliani used to slander; he had 19 arrests (who knows, serious crimes, turnstile  jumping, arrests dismissed?) But Issacs apparently wasnt showing up at Sunday mass either. According to the Daily News ,”Isaacs was accused in a 2014 lawsuit with a false arrest in which the suspect was ‘punched, kicked and struck several times in the head and body.’  The plaintiff also charged that one of the arresting cops called him a “nigger” before the case was settled for $20,000.

HERE’S THE NY POST (much respect Post)  FOLLOW UP July 8 Where it looks like this 79th Precinct cop Isaacs murdered a man without cause

An off-duty NYPD cop waited exactly one second before gunning down another driver in a Brooklyn road rage incident on Monday.Exclusive video obtained by The Post shows the moment that Officer Wayne Isaacs fired two shots through his car window at Delrawn Small, who collapsed and died in the street.

The NYPD and the Attorney General’s office are investigating the shooting, which the victim’s family said is a clear case of excessive force.

He barely has time to look the cop in the eye or even utter a word before Isaacs opens fire, causing him to stagger backward.

He stumbles to the ground, gets up for a moment — and then collapses again for good.

Isaacs, meanwhile, lurches his car forward a few feet before slamming on the brakes and getting out. He appears to tuck the gun into his waistband as he walks over toward Small.

Isaacs looks in the direction of the dying man, pausing for a few moments near his body, before returning to his vehicle.

He is then seen pacing around and talking on the phone. Sources have said he called 911.

Small’s girlfriend Zaquanna Albert, 35, then pulls the man’s car across the street before frantically running toward the scene.

That’s when the footage cuts off.

Police sources said Small’s temper flared when he thought Isaac cut him off as they were driving down Atlantic Avenue. Small followed the cop in his unmarked car for several blocks before getting out at the traffic light to confront him.

Albert told investigators that she begged Small, who’d had three drinks at a barbecue they’d just left, not to get out.

Isaacs, who has since been put on administrative duty, was on his way home after a shift in the 79th Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He used his service weapon to shoot Small in the head and chest, police sources have said.

Small’s brother, Victor Dempsey, said the video shows he was “point-blank murdered.”

“Now that I saw that video, I’m outraged,” he said at a press conference Friday night at the shooting scene. “It’s time for us to get justice on it. Everything they told us from the very ­beginning is a lie.”

Victoria Davis, Small’s sister, said watching the video was difficult. “Him stumbling, and even when the officer got out of the car, he didn’t seem to have any care,” she said.

“He just put his gun away.”

Albert’s mom said the video proves the cop never gave her son a chance.

“You can see that the police officer was very aggressive,” she told The Post. “He killed my son-in-law. And you know what, that is wrong. My son-in-law did not do anything wrong.”

She railed against the NYPD, and said her church plans to protest in “a peaceful way.”

“My grandson who is four months old is not going to be able to have a father to bring him up,” she cried.

Brooklyn Assemblyman Charles Barron insisted “things can get out of control” if the attorney general doesn’t bring charges against the cop.

“We won’t have any next steps to tell our people to even bother with this system,” he said. “People will take matters into their own hands because they won’t have any other alternative.”

The family’s lawyer, Roger Wareham, said it confirms that the shooting was a “cold-blooded murder.”

“From what it shows, there was no threat to the cop. Deadly force was not justified,” he said. “Delrawn looks in, then he’s falling down, in an instant.”

Wareham insisted the cop’s behavior after the shooting shows he had “total disdain” for Small.

“After he shoots him, and after Delrawn falls to the ground, the cop just casually gets out of his car. There’s no urgency, no attitude like, ‘I need to get help for this person.’”

The footage contradicts the claims of the owner of a nearby building who had insisted the angry motorist could be seen on video “punching the s–t” out of Isaacs after breaking free from Albert’s grasp.

Attorney General Schneiderman said in a statement, “I am committed to conducting a full, fair and independent investigation of this tragedy, and will follow the facts and evidence—including this video evidence—wherever they lead.”

The NYPD declined to comment.


Damn NYPD, you didn’t decline to comment when you talked about Dempsey punching  the hell out of Issacs. I know you have a hard job, stress, danger but a lot of us do.  How are we supposed to believe you, you know us, the public that you seem to regard with such contempt.



When They Start Charging Corner Boys With Terrorism and Think They’re Superman in LE


Recovered in East New York by a 75th  precinct raid;  6 men arrested:.  25 caliber Raven Arms semi-automatic, .38 caliber Revolver Taurus. .380, pistol-grip shotgun, 3 lbs weed, cocaine residue, a.22 caliber, .9 mm  ammo and $1,329 in cash.

Ok fair enough,gangsters but these were the changes against all six:
Criminal Possession of a Weapon (six counts)
Criminal Possession of Marihuana
Tampering with Physical Evidence
Obstructing Governmental Administration
Criminal Use of Drug Paraphernalia
Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance
Violation of local law
And all six were also charged with Terrorism Criminal Possession of a Weapon (italics and emphasis not mine but probably overzealous prosecutors). 

And small thing but whats up with cops wearing superman, batman t-shirts and hats played backward at a press conference- heros ok but be humble out there or well you know

Interview with an Escapee from a Maximum Security Jail, a reform school buddy

With jail/prison escapes in the news, this seems relevant — an old acquaintance from a bad boys home gave me a detailed break down on how he escaped, it was crazy and ingenious and probably instructive for jailers.

Mick (he didn’t want his real name used) engineered a complicated escape from a jail in Nassau County, New York that landed him on the front page. He took along a  career criminal (now deceased), and a man awaiting murder charges; that man, Shi Fu Huang,  once featured on America’s Most Wanted, is still at large.


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A Memoir: The Old School Rehab; shaved heads, digging your own grave outside, young men forced to wear diapers, donkey costumes, eat baby food, and sit for weeks motionless on a wooden chair with no back

They went quite crazy back then in the name of reforming us; the other aspect of the war on drugs.

Photo: Me at 17 with my buddy, the armed robber, dust patient bisexual, martial arts expert from Hollis, Queens

It was the early 1980s in NYC, around the birth of hip hop and these rehabs (TCs) were a world of prison culture, living in Bronx tenements, sleeping with one eye open, 125th Street in Harlem, Pitkin Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn, dusties detoxing on cranberry juice, the cooker, razor blades in mouths, Nicky Barnes, fresh waves, Five Percenters, Mighty Whiteys from Queens, speedballs, the hole stroll, spades, playing the corner slap boxing, wild like reform school, excessively rigid as a skinner box mixed with super Orwellian behaviorism (forced to constantly inform on each other to staff) — all to treat us misfits, gangstas and burnouts in army jackets and work-boots messing with girls with roach clip feather earrings who were made to wear stocking caps if they broke a rule.

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Here’s a look inside America’s largest gun manufacturer (a bit ugly and hypocritical)


Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity firm was/is the primary owner of The Freedom Group, one of the largest manufacturers in the world of firearms and ammunition. Their brands include including Remington, Bushmaster Firearms, DPMS/Panther Arms, Marlin, H&R, The Parker Gun, Mountain Khakis, Advanced Armament Corp. Dakota Arms, Para USA and Barnes Bullets.

As has been widely reported, shortly after the Newton shooting massacre (the killer used their Bushmaster weapon, and the father of Cerberus’s CEO Steven Feinberg, happened to live in Sandy Hook), Cerberus put the Freedom Group up for sale.

Here’s the press release they issued:

Cerberus Capital Management Statement Regarding Freedom Group, Inc.

NEW YORK, Dec. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — We were shocked and deeply saddened by the events that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012.  We cannot comprehend the losses suffered by the families and friends of those killed by the unthinkable crimes committed that day.  No words or actions can lessen the enormity of this event or make a dent in the pain that was inflicted on so many.

In 2006 affiliates of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. made a financial investment in Freedom Group.  Freedom Group does not sell weapons or ammunition directly to consumers, through gun shows or otherwise.  Sales are made only to federally licensed firearms dealers and distributors in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.  We do not believe that Freedom Group or any single company or individual can prevent senseless violence or the illegal use or procurement of firearms and ammunition.

It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level.

The debate essentially focuses on the balance between public safety and the scope of the Constitutional rights under the Second Amendment. As a Firm, we are investors, not statesmen or policy makers.  Our role is to make investments on behalf of our clients who are comprised of the pension plans of firemen, teachers, policemen and other municipal workers and unions, endowments, and other institutions and individuals.  It is not our role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate. That is the job of our federal and state legislators.


Blatant LIE #1

They state that it is not their role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate.

Except that on their gun web sites they link to the NRA web site. And

they also have on one of their gun web sites “Trigger the Vote” buttons, and “Gunvote/ Don’t lose your rights” buttons. Click on one of those buttons and this is what comes up:


Don’t buy the gun to lose the freedom! This year’s 2012 elections are more important than ever for the future of our country and our Second Amendment rights. The only protection against attacks on our Second Amendment rights and the democratic process is your vote. And this year in particular, we will need each and every individual gun owner’s vote, in every precinct and every district across the country.

We’re all concerned about the direction this country is heading, and we need to make sure that our children and grandchildren enjoy the same freedoms that we do. Your rights are within range. That’s why it all comes down to your vote.


Trigger the Vote is the NRA’s national voter registration campaign sponsored by sponsored by The NRA Freedom Action Foundation. Help us Trigger the Vote TODAY

Here’s the link:


This is also on their web site:


We support and encourage community outreach and provide sustainable employment. Safety, health and environmental protection take priority over economic consideration.


We partner with our suppliers and conduct ourselves professionally and ethically.


We produce environmentally sound products and only act within the law. We will not compromise our moral or ethical principles.

Here’s how ethical, moral, safe and community conscious they are. On one of their web sites they take a little pot-shot at Clinton and a boast about how they cleverly skirted his Crime Bill to make and sell high powered magazines:

“In early 1994, Para introduced the P13•45, a tactical-size pistol with a 4.25″ barrel and a 13-round magazine. Later, that year saw the passage of America’s infamous Clinton-backed Crime Bill with its 10-round magazine restriction. Fortunately, Para leadership had anticipated this event and had produced large reserves of legally grandfathered high-capacity magazines, still available to purchasers of Para-Ordnance pistols.”

They also state that they are the world’s leading innovator, designer, manufacturer and marketer of firearms, ammunition and related products for law enforcement.

But how about this patch they sell on one of their web sites, which I’m sure all those first responders in Newtown, Connecticut and cops everywhere who risk their lives for community and family will appreciate. A patch of a fat, stupid looking pig dressed in a police uniform. Real funny — “ethical” business men take law enforcement money on gun and gear contracts and for pensions on one web site, but mock the hell out of them on another site.


And how about this on their web site:

Vision Statement

We always treat our customers, employees, business partners, environment, community and nation with the highest levels of integrity.

So you’re patriots. Except when promoting your gun brand and showing that patriotism by flying the US flag, the stars replaced with a skull and crossed bones/guns — symbolizing death and killing.


Guess that didn’t “shock and sadden” you back when your were hyping guns as sexy cool bad ass killing machines

And some more patriotism, Lady Liberty throwing up a Glock-like long gun with an attached silencer (silencers on guns, it’s all about Freedom). They’ve since removed it from their site (PR? Cowards? Smart capitalists? — no matter, they’ve got guns so they’re automatic patriots (but bitches, and I use the term loosely, I would call you and your executives domestic terrorists — killing our people with your products.


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When You Run Around Afghanistan Alone And in Shirtsleeves While All Around You Your Fellow Americans Are Barricaded, Bunkered, And Bulletproof-Vested Up, This is What You Can Experience

The government, ethnic resentment dynamic seems pretty raw. Power, Karzai was from the south, being bombarded with how bad the government is, how bad the NGOs are – – I don’t know if I’m being used, spun or it’s legitimate resistance fighter rhetoric.

The rural poverty is pretty staggering. The isolation of so many of these villages also staggering — the urban areas, bazaars, mazes of mud huts, little girls carrying water jugs on their shoulders and navigating sharp rock mountains like billy goats, boys standing with naked legs in rivers while I’m bundled up against hypothermia in the SUV.

Then suddenly if you look somewhere else there are palatial structures, gleaming corporate office buildings.Two artillery sounding blasts in Faisalabad, think they were blowing something up intentionally and announced it in Dari over loudspeakers, but ugly sickening sound.

Read full story:


On the Ground in Albania Chasing the Mob World

Amazing global investigation about Albanian mob by@kevinjayheldman #longreads http://bit.ly/ONyMGl


The Week’s Best Longreads: The Daily Beast Picks for June 16, 2012

http://www.thedailybeast.com/…/the-week-s-best-longreads-the-dailybeast-…– longreads-sessions-120614-tease  Kevin Heldman, Capital New York An investigation into the heart of Albanian-American organized crime.

Wow. Just finished piece on Albanian gangs in @capitalnewyork. Amazing. It’s GTA: Liberty City come alive. Read now: http://t.co/LbC3efeb
     I feel, felt, a little like a low rent John McPhee on the cops and robbers beat — 50,000 words on how Albanians settle beefs and toss silencers —  but this is my final story in a long series on Albanian transnational crime in New York, in the US, and overseas.

This article, Part I, goes in very deep on a specific NY Albanian crew and takes you, took me, all over Albania reporting on this world.  I got as deep there as I could as a reporter — gave it my all — somebody in or of that crime world or some agent in IOC2, DEA, FBI or a lawyer, prosecutor out there who’s on these cases may know this world deeper, but I’m already punching way above the weight of a press pass, hey tell me your story, I don’t have a gun, money, subpoena power or a 5k letter to give you (that’s my shout out to all you  ridiculously hard working US prosecutors and defense attorneys on this and related cases — don’t know how you do it).

FBI NY Balkan Task Force: probably have a restraining order on me, this guy again, leave us alone already, be a normal reporter, go become a security guard or something if you want street action but you all would appreciate this account and especially Part II so if you see this check it out.

Part II, to be published pretty soon, will explain why all this matters, document the scope of this kind of crime — kind of say that this is not just arbitrary let’s write about Albanian crime because it’s novel — there is a shockingly established criminal subculture here that is very serious; I resisted believing it for the longest time because it seemed so unreal but it’s there, in mind numbing so many guns in mouths over and over again detail.

Here’e the link to the story on Capital New York.  I think it’s good, never sure on these things, you rewrite and reread and can’t read any more so much you lose perspective, but it is honest and I did work like mad on it.  If it’s not good I’m in trouble because I suck at life and I’m supposed to be good at this so… you know, there’s that. Ah, I always have to go too far.

On the Ground In Albania Chasing the Mob World

Chinese Takeout Story — actually and really behind the bulletproof glass and out on deliveries — who the people are, what their lives are like

chinese take out 7

This is a snapshot of what life is like for one — and representative of many — Chinese takeout restaurants in New York City.  This is in an area where crime is high — Mott Haven, Bronx — and people in the restaurant, and people outside of the restaurant, may not have the opportunities to get out, move, make choices.

Takeout Story

Drug running, slang, and real talk on NYPD wires and gangs r us type sites

(May 18, 2012)

“A notorious drug dealer who got his start during the crack epidemic of the 1980s and was so good at hiding his whereabouts that he was known as “the ghost” has been arrested along with dozens of others on new charges, police and prosecutors said Thursday.

James Corley, 51, was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance and other drug charges after a 15-month undercover investigation that used wiretaps and surveillance, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Forty-four other people were also charged with drug crimes in the dismantling of Corley’s operation, known as the Supreme Team, and another drug gang, authorities said.

Corley supplied cocaine to a second gang called the South Side Bloods, and low-level dealers grossed about $15,000 a week in drug sales, Kelly said. Burned by a wiretap before, Corley used at least eight different phones, authorities said.

The Supreme Team was run by legendary gang leader Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, who reputedly funneled drug money into rap music label Murder Inc. He’s now serving life without parole for a pair of murders after a 2007 conviction.

It was a brutal drug gang that came out of the same Queens streets where platinum rappers 50 Cent and Ja Rule emerged years later. At its peak, the Supreme Team’s network of dealers was making $200,000 a day, authorities said.

After McGriff did jail time on a drug conviction, he was released in 1997 and aligned himself with neighborhood friend and music mogul Irv “Gotti” Lorenzo. The one-time street thugs produced one film: “Crime Partners,” a straight-to-video affair that featured Ja Rule, Snoop Dogg and Ice-T.

NYPD’s Detective David Leonardi put the case together, noting in the charges that the gangs used Supreme Mathematics” and the “Supreme Alphabet,” the language system used by members of the Nation of Islam offshoot group Nation Of Gods and Earths (also known as “Five Percenters”). Leonardi was able to decipher the coded language…”


I don’t know, I heard A is for Allah, B is for Born, etc in 1983, when I was 17 and three probated teens huddled together on a handball court reciting in a residential facility and I knew I couldn’t listen in, dog hair, Yacub, etc, but we were all buddies, really living together, so I did and they were cool, playfully pushing me away.  But slang terms for money, weed, and guns change every two months or so and with all the ridiculously complicated complex handshakes and hand signing thought up by bored in a cell teens all over NYC,  all also competing with raps to put together high level word play and metaphor after metaphor, neologisms every other line – – I think they and an old time veteran like Corley,  probably able to mix up something like 35 years of street talk, prison slang, institutional jargon, drug terms, and hip hop slang, could code deeper and more complex than something that’s all over urban dictionary and Wikipedia.  Something mixed up, nonsensical and easy, riffed without even really trying like:

Heads wearing Asolos violated in the bing ward playing the corner over static about Tony the Tiger (Blood repping ) on the cereal box lifted in the cafeteria and the program retreads shooting dope in the pocket because everywhere else collapsed and the dusties drinking cranberry juice to detox, and the Lincoln Hall irks kidding on the square, saying the only hardrocks are in graveyards in the money makin’ (mighty whitites racistly twisting it to monkey makin’,) in the burnt out, and the girls saying Lets prep in the clubs stepping all over his British Walkers, the 94Bs and masons fraternizing with the civilian dishwashers tricking on their lifer NCO husbands overseas and hit em cause they beat me freaks anyway — grown ass men long after the PINS petition expired like Bosket and the toothpaste on menthols wore off and the WAM ran out and the cologne strained through bread got him too sick worse than the antabuse and he was back on the juggle no struggle seeing how low your money can go (4-5-6) on c-74 with the crazy little ones nice with their hands, yo put me down on that right quick, that’s menthol right.

And some people would understand every word and many more people, grown people with careers and no time to waste would run it past the web sites and after no hits would call it a foolish waste of time, mock it (wait for the teenagers somewhere to sift through it all because they can care back then about all that) and just move on with regular living and regular talk, y’know, foxtrot uniform charlie kilo indigo tango.

Home From Albania, Finally Home — A Long Long Journey from a side street (Siri Kodra) in Tirana to a fourth floor walk-up in Manhattan, New York

I don’t know how the hell I really did it, just wanting to do it badly enough and showing up again and again, but I did do it — alone, but with the enormous, very very generous help of so many — a random Turkish man I met on an Air Train out of JFK Airport late at night, a random Albanian worker (who is now a friend, true friend for life, Drita) who looked out of windshields through tough, crazy Albanian city and highway traffic and near collisions; to hugging Ana (a mother and father sick, alone in a small office helping people who are angry about lost and found bags); to that working kid who said “that’s nice” in NY about peace and cupcakes and saying thanks to a fellow worker; to that present I got from the grandmother and the sick, but going to do well Mom in Selvia, Thimi’s folks (thank you for cooking for me and allowing me to talk too sentimental  about things that are serious and private, health, life and death)…

To do all this with no real big budget, no real organizational backing, no team, no big structure —  yeah, let’s be transparent, no family, no grandfather giving you blue chip stock, no mom worrying over your eyes,  your job, your worries, no Uncle to hook you up with a job after school — no complaints, I’m free — but still — from lugging your gear down to the street to jumping into vehicles on another continent — pure muscle and will and luck — thank you guys who helped.

Somebody told me don’t go overseas like a lamb, wandering around.  But why not, if you do it with confidence and courageously and decently, why not.  If you look them, if you look people in the eye and tell them what you want, if you make it that personal, I’m fine with that and most people are — they are, you just have to go and do it.  Haters, what did I call them before hip hop gave me that tired  tv language — they’ve always been around, I remember them since elementary school, but also people who looked out, were nice and I was nice back, they were always around,; there’s a lot of us out there.

Glad I get to do this, call myself a journalist.  If you believe it and you’re straight and you keep yourself humble and able, I think it’s all possible, no matter who you are, how difficult or unlikely — I’m just gonna keep on trying like all you try, hang and be nice to regular people, because I’m regular people, no matter what I’m doing, what sucesss failure means (Lek, plata, dinero, genama, cash — it’s possible to do it without all that, harder, but possible) — what good is a free press if journalism is a hobby like fly-fishing, just to do on the side and only a few privleged get to do it good and in -depth.

I can’t sing, dance, play ball or earn money hanging cabinets or show up every day to do something I don’t like or care about and nobody’s recruiting journalists who have a poet’s eye or heart like crazy, nobody’s recruiting anybody for money any more it seems.  But I only get 75, 90 years — why not try and be special and useful, see who comes to my funeral or who reads my articles.  Thank you guys, good looking. Really thanks.  Good night; I’m glad to be home in one piece, finally.

Driving the roads, walking the streets in Albania November 2011

Yes, I am here and yes I will write, write the hell out of this place, this article. I’m 46, been to Nicaragua, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, England, Afghanistan, Korea, Brazil, Vietnam, maybe some others that I’m forgetting — I’ve seriously been to these places — reported there, went there on mission like energy, experienced these places deeply and intimately, not just touristy type thing — always being an American has been a serious liability. They’ve hated me, that I was American. Okay, I always thought — hate me, do your thing. I’m as an American as Donald Trump, Sumiko Obata, Jonas Salk and Christopher Hitchens — meaning what the hell does that mean that I’m American. I’m Kevin Heldman, as dissimilar and similar to those folks as can be. But yet they hated me. Here, and I knock the wood of the internet cafe cubicle as I say this — this is the first place where being an American has been something positive, people have liked me for being an American.

You don’t know how many times I’ve touched my heart and they’ve touched their heart back, how many thumbs up and how many times my back, my shoulder has been held and led gently. Damn guys, damn girls — thank you. I don’t deserve it, expect it, wasn’t anticipating it but it is so nice. Good looking, Albania.

Ketjol Manoku, Albanian locked up in prison. Krasnici brothers currently on trial. Mother of the Albanian defendant devestated after a guilty verdict in the New York courtroom… That Albanian shopkeeper, kind, older and really decent who I wrote about in my first article — I see where, if I can generalize, you all come from. Albania deserves a damn good strong, single, fist clasping shoulder type hug. You all got this. Your country– libertarian, free, a little wild– it’s good here. But come on, just let me in your prisons alright. I’m a crime reporter and I go to these places, but even so and still, didn’t they say you can judge a society by how they treat their locked down.

So on I go reporting and getting to know Albania and this story for Capital New York. Funded by The Fund for Investigative Journalism. I won’t let any one down — it’s been quite quite hard and I’ve roughed it, been in situations where it’s been rough, but that is my choice and my job, supposed to get in deep and sometimes that means getting dirty. I don’t have to swagger and be tough because I’m not a gangster and have nothing to prove, nobody to impress and I don’t have to run especially and directly toward fires or crimes or trouble like a cop or firefighter with that obligation but still I am a journalist and I am that kind of journalist — I’m supposed to go deep, investigate, be as particiaptory as possible, so I will. Me and my Albanian English dictionary and my rent a car and beat up body, doing pushups in the room at night to stay fit. And the kindness of this and the other Shqiptar helping, worrying over me in this difficult to manage infrastructure. Thank you, you know who you are.

Albanian Organized Crime -NYC/Detroit/Toronto/Albania

This is the culmination of about a ten month investigation.  Check the CapitalNewYork.com website periodically — I have follow-up articles in this series coming up.

Here’s what the story is about:

Remembering Albania 1997; interviews in the penitentiary in Michigan (the Albanian inmate with 10 sentences, six for life); with the FBI’s Balkan Task Force; riding down the highway with the Confidential Informant; in the Albanian coffee shops and community off 15 Mile Road Detroit; wandering late night on the streets and in the cafes, bars, pizzerias, strip clubs, and social clubs in the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island – – where rap groups The Bloody Alboz (TBA),  Rebel, Uptown Affiliates, Unikkatil, and singers Aurela Gace and Anita Bitri ring bells.

The Albanian civil servant with the silencer, the Uzi, the shotgun from Fat Tony, the kilos, the betrayals, snitches, cooperating witnesses looking for their 5K letter, wiretaps, pen registers and trace and traps, border crossings, bodies dumped on the BQE highway, the
reporter getting anonymous tips (credible) on fugitives and traffickers, the dead pop singer – – inside the on-going Federal RICO death penalty-connected trial in Manhattan.  Shqiptar.



Crime Journalism Housekeeping Notes and reporters and police bumping heads

1) On this Albanian Organized, kind of organized, ridiculously corporate like big narco types crime story, the last installment where I went to Albania, covered federal trials here in NY met with everybody and went everywhere I could, the one I cried about and the one that wrecked me a bit because how much can you write on a topic and how do you put a world of facts into order, maybe there is no order but when do you give it up — but  I did it, proud of the article, not the usual feeling of just grateful it didn’t go really bad and blow up — it’s good and everybody behind it feels it’s good and all you prosecutors, defense lawyers, agents, people who talked to me from in the life, who gave me info to help, who took me into places and opened up, the guys and women I can’t name who treated me decently, yeah it will be out, published soon, — I know, maybe the mob will disappear or something bigger will happen and you all moved on, I know, it’s just the nature of this game, uh this business, uh this hobby of mine sometimes — so soon and it’s all out and sincere so at least en shallah that will be good.

2) That last blog post on slang (commentary like I’m Carrie Bradshaw on the police beat) I’m banking on two guys laughing appreciatively on it — Steve Hughes in Brazil and the smart funny JC who kept everyone in check and made being an intimidator like having a cool ass uncle in your corner — P from last period in jumpsuit land, but I don’t even know how to get him to a blog).

3) I just have to say this cop reporter relations thing here — maybe 9 months ago I applied for this NYPD Press pass, it used to be useful but post 9/11 it’s pretty worthless really, what police lines are they really going to let you cross with the card and what special courtesies are they really going to roll out.  I sent this whole long application in, my bio, clips,  sayingI’m not a daily reporter looking to do spot news but I thought it would be useful, especially for ID if say  cops stop me for —  what are you doing in school street projects, why are you in this deli, to rob it?  we have a report of you with a gun in the subway we have to converge on you  — true true true and it always comes up if I’m a snitch, undercover, informant, cop, really a reporter when I’m interviewing so a card would maybe help a little.

This detective in the public information office almost takes my head off in an e-mail, no exceptions, we don’t care, you don’t meet the criteria, you fail, you’re not a crime reporter, we don’t cover rikers, go to hell, we hate you, (paraphrasing here).  What the hell — I write her back, look I’m not trying to get into a fight, I’m just wondering if there was any way blah blah respect respect. Basically go to hell response.  I say thanks for trying, whatever be nice, squash it.  No response.

What is this? That’s how little you value what a good journalist not trying to do gotchas and take cops down just to get a byline.  What is this courting of enemies, cultivating enemies. This is your job , on press outreach.  So we should disappear? Who is willing to come to the guy’s defense when you throw a cop in the psych ward for a week because he’s too out of line with commanders and getting to be a pain about quotas?  Who’s going to really try to show who you are when you jump in the river for a rescue, take bullets, get stabbed with a screwdriver in the head.  You have any idea how things went when an undercover cop tried to summons/arrest me for a turnstile jump, misunderstanding, on my way to court, he said remember this when you write all your ticket fixing attack articles, I said I don’t do that kind of thing, I’m not out for your blood (and I know a guy at the News who does those stories and he’s not out for blood either) and I went to his headquarters the next day to say thanks for helping me out, keeping it vague but saying he was decent and everybody was good.  You have any idea what happens when I see cops chasing a guy and I’m walking by what any of us would do in that situation.  Or hear them make a racist comment on a construction job and not go crazy and hate them all or how I would help  like hell when they’ve had to wrestle down an emotionally disturbed rodeo guy on an EMS call when I did that job. I’m not saying I’m Mcgruff or cop-like or that I could even stomach arresting a person or testifying against them or being a police officer, but come on I’ve been in the crime, cop, prison, courts, institutions, streets world since I was a teenager — you really want to treat somebody who actually knows your world, actually knows how you talk, feel, what you go through, know many sides and has put in the time, listens and wants to convey that for real to the public — you want to treat that person like, what, nothing, and just give credentials to guys who need to get two quotes on an accident?  Where’s the intelligence, the flexibility, the creativity, the reason, the willingness to cooperate to make things work.  You really want to live in fantasy land bad cop show where the reporters are all sick evil jackals trying to hunt you down for gain and all the cops are swaggering guys with community college degrees who are crude and boorish.  I talked to your guy last night at 3 am, two out of their mind British tourists drunk, sick, miniskirted laying on the curb, hey, sorry officer, I know this is run of the mill sat nite and you’re not a taxi service but there’s these girls.  He’s normal, thoughtful, okay, where are they, yeah I’ll call a car and go there — cool, a man, another man, work together, no stereotypes.  Same in Mott Haven on the street asking about crime at night on this chinese take out story and when I called the community relations cop, the desk — hey just a heads up, I wrote this article, just wanted to put it on your radar– thanks, of course, we’ll take a look, thank you I appreciate it and they are, not sure why, but they’re out there now in force in Mott Haven and the streets are safer and that restaurant is safe.

I’m not going to be a jerk, a p**ck really, and call out a name on this but come on, isn’t there enough crap and chaos and tension and politics in this city, can’t you give a little respect when you’re given respect.  You’re the rep for them, all those men and women — we’re not all scum, looking to go against you.  Give some of it a chance and we can be on the same side, both do good in our worlds for each other.  I called DCPI maybe 900 times in my life and I was born and raised here and I’ve played deck hockey with probably half of you all on the force when we were 15 so come on, see who we are sometimes and we can do the same — alright, I appreciate you listening, be careful in those cars at high speed flying through intersections and in those dark rooms and on those shitty streets in the winter when guys flip out on you and decide let’s end it and you’re the way to do it and your backs and feet are probably sore as hell when it’s not calamity. peace.

SHOULD PUBLIC BE TOLD OF SERIAL KILLERS? Police and Citizen Interests Often Collide

Police and Citizen Interests Often Collide

By Kevin Heldman

NEW YORK (APBNews.com) — Are lives further endangered when local police withhold information about a possible serial killer — or when they release it?

This is one of the most contentious aspects of the relationship between communities and their police agencies during a serial killer investigation, according to veterans on all sides of the issue.

The debate has led to a number of conflicts:

In Milwaukee, Wis., at least 12 women have been strangled in
what may be the work of one person, but the police department refuses comment on any aspect of the case.

In Portland, Ore., a criminal investigator still refuses talk to
the local newspaper because 16 years ago the editor refused to run a composite of a suspected killer for fear the paper would be perceived as an arm of law enforcement.

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