FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 3, 2015
Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office Announces Citizens’ Safety Day
Upcoming Event this Saturday to Feature Gun Buyback Program with NYPD
And DA’s Third “Begin Again” Warrant Adjudication Program
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that his office is hosting two important events this coming Saturday to help people dispose of unwanted guns that they possess and to get rid of outstanding arrest warrants stemming from failing to answer a summons received for a low-level offense. Citizens’ Safety Day is an effort to keep Brooklyn safe and build a relationship between law enforcement and the community.
District Attorney Thompson said, “Saturday is going to be a great day for Brooklyn. We are giving residents with firearms and outstanding warrants a chance to free themselves of those burdens. Come out and clear your name and keep your family safe by getting rid of those firearms and warrants.”
New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said, “The NYPD is proud to participate in events such as the Gun Buyback and Begin Again, which empower community members to work closely with law enforcement toward a common goal of making our city safe and fair for everyone.”
Council Member Mathieu Eugene (D-Flatbush) said, “Virtually every week, people lose their lives because of gun violence in our city. My district has been the backdrop of too many shootings and so I am proud to partner with the NYPD, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, to sponsor the 2015 Gun Buyback Program in an effort to make the streets safer for all residents. No one should have to be afraid to walk down the street. By offering cash for guns with no questions asked, we are removing these dangerous weapons from our neighborhoods and taking another step towards making New York City a safer city for everyone.”
The District Attorney said that the Gun Buyback event will take place on Saturday, December 5, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Lenox Road Baptist Church, located at 1356 Nostrand Avenue, in East Flatbush. The NYPD, pairing with local DA’s offices, has taken close to 10,000 guns off the street via gun buyback events since 2008.
The District Attorney’s office, along with the New York City Police Department, will offer money in the form of $200 bank cards for each operable gun turned in. The bank cards will be issued after each unloaded gun is received and screened by officers on-site.
Guns should be unloaded and packaged in a paper or plastic bag or box when brought to the event. Both working and inoperable weapons will be accepted. Active and/or retired law enforcement officers and licensed gun dealers are not eligible for this event.
Participants will receive $200 for operable handguns and assault rifles and $25 for operable shotguns and rifles. Participants may turn in an unlimited number of guns, but will receive a limit of $600 in bank cards.
Also on Saturday, as part of Citizens’ Safety Day, the District Attorney’s office will host its third Begin Again event. Begin Again is a program designed to offer a solution to thousands of individuals who have an outstanding warrant because they failed to answer a summons for a low-level offense. There are approximately 1.1 million open warrants citywide and they carry a number of negative consequences including subjecting the warrant holder to arrest at any time.
The Begin Again event is scheduled for Saturday, December 5, 2015, from 9 a.m.to 3 p.m., at the Mount Lebanon Baptist Church, located at 228 Decatur Street, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The District Attorney’s office is partnering with the Legal Aid Society, the Office of Court Administration and the NYPD to once again provide on-site legal counsel and give New Yorkers a chance to clear their old warrants.
District Attorney Thompson said that over 1,800 people from all five boroughs attended the two Begin Again events held in June and September and more than 1,300 outstanding warrants were cleared.
Individuals who appear for Begin Again will first consult with attorneys from the Legal Aid Society to make sure only summons warrants are heard. All participants will then enter a makeshift courtroom, where a judge will be on hand to vacate warrants that resulted from the failure to respond to summonses for a multitude of low-level or “quality of life” offenses, such as walking a dog without a leash or being in a park after closing.