Last Wednesday, 400 NYPD officers raided the Manhattanville and Grant Project houses because of turf wars between the two housing projects over the years.
More than 100 people were arrested, making this raid one of the largest gang sweeps in New York City history. The housing projects are located near Amsterdam Avenue and West 125th Street.
According to media reports, the suspects were involved in 19 nonfatal shootings and at least two murders, including the highly publicized fatal shooting of Tayshana “Chicken” Murphy, an 18-year-old nationally ranked basketball star.
Some members of the neighborhood believe the actions taken by the NYPD were too severe. Taylonn Murphy, father of Tayshana, and Derrick Haynes, brother of a homicide victim in the project feud, are pushing to change the culture of the neighborhood rather than incriminate the youth. They have reached out to those on both sides of the fence, helping them to come up with new ways to handle their differences. They brought the older youth to workshops with job counselors to help them get work.
Haynes and Murphy have been fighting to make Old Broadway, a short avenue separating the two projects, into a neutral playing zone for children in both projects to come together. They also want to start a community center in the area.
“These kids don’t have nothing to do,” Murphy told the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. “We’re just going to keep trying to do what we’re doing. We asked the city for help and we got a raid.”
Murphy and Haynes worked diligently to change to culture of the neighborhood to prevent the police raid from happening. However, their new focus is making sure the younger children do not get involved in violence.
“They arrested this generation of kids, a whole generation, but there’s another generation behind them,” Murphy said. “That’s who we have to look out for now. We can’t just do the same thing and arrest them when they get old enough.”