‘Brownsville Five’ case: The aftermath

Nayaba Arinde | 3/3/2016, 9:53 a.m.
At court Thursday Brooklyn D.A Ken Thompson dismissed the charges against the five teens accused of assaulting the young lady ...

The streets did not whisper, they yelled about the alleged Brownsville rape case in January.

Proud, longtime Brownsville residents have a saying, “The Ville—Never ran. Never will.” It is with that same sense of honor many of these Brooklynites accepted the news late last Wednesday that Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson was dropping charges against five teens initially accused of raping a young woman at gunpoint after chasing off her father.

“We don’t do that in Brownsville,” was the overall sentiment as expressed to AmNews reporters in the days immediately after the news first broke.

While the mainstream media “clamored for blood” and splashed Central Park Five-esque full-page tales of an ever-changing news story, and certain community activists and elected officials stood before the press and demanded swift apprehension and action, on-the-ground activists such as A.T. Mitchell, founder of community advocate organization Man Up, told the AmNews, “The story is not what is being reported. I refuse to ‘Central Park Five’ these boys.”

Now, just a few weeks after the initial furor, Thompson told the AmNews, “Working closely with the NYPD, my office has thoroughly investigated disturbing and very serious allegations of a gang rape at gunpoint last month inside the Osborn Playground in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. The complainant, as well as her father, provided multiple inconsistent accounts to NYPD detectives and to experienced Special Victims prosecutors about important material facts in this case. The complainant has recanted her allegations of forcible sexual assault and the existence of a gun, and she does not wish to pursue criminal charges against any of the defendants.”

A young woman was violated, no doubt. The speculation and the story told by the five accused teens spoke of witnessing an abuse that some locals say should have the father investigated.

Thompson told the AmNews, though, that the young lady “also refuses to cooperate with any prosecution against her father, who was engaging in sexual conduct with her.”

“There’s a moral aspect embedded in all of our actions, and while not criminal, the conduct engaged in by this young woman’s father and these five young men was simply wrong,” Charisma L. Troiano, press secretary for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, told the AmNews.

The Police Department stated that on Thursday, Jan. 7 at 9 p.m., “The victim, an 18-year-old female, was with her father inside Osborne park … when they were approached by five Black males, one of whom was armed with a gun. The male with the gun pointed it at them and told the father to leave the area. The father complied and each one of the five suspects raped the victim. The father returned a short time later with two uniformed police officers and the suspects fled the location. The victim was removed to Kings County Hospital, where she was treated and released.”

Yet, in a much berated move, the police did not tell the public of the incident until late Saturday night.

As outrage spread across the city, though, within 24 hours, two mothers turned in their sons, another two walked into the 73rd Precinct and the last was apprehended the following Tuesday at a local high school.