Construction Worker Allegedly Assaults Resident; Hit as He Photographed Controversial Jail Site

Construction Worker Allegedly Assaults Resident; Hit as He Photographed Controversial Jail Site

Photo: A construction worker has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a South Ozone Park resident who was taking photographs of a controversial detention facility in which the builder was working. File Photo

In the latest development of the saga of a proposed juvenile justice facility in South Ozone Park, a construction employee who had been working on the newly erected 127th Street building was arrested for allegedly assaulting a resident who was taking pictures of the controversial site, according to an area elected official and court records.

Andrixs Suarez, 24, was cuffed by 106th Precinct cops on April 30 and arraigned on charges of assault with the intent to cause physical injury, and second-degree harassment. He was released on his own recognizance under a temporary order of protection, according to court documents. Suarez’s next court date is scheduled for July 13.

According to the office of City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica), on April 15, Philip Kinard, described as “a resident living in the immediate vicinity of the proposed Administration for Children’s Services Close to Home Limited Secure Placement facility” at 133-23 127th St., was capturing images of the building’s exterior to document what he, at the time, believed to be active violations of a city Department of Buildings stop-work order when Suarez allegedly threatened to strike him if he did not cease taking pictures. Suarez, who was employed by a construction firm that had been hired by facility operator Sheltering Arms, then allegedly punched Kinard as he was looking at Suarez through the camera lens.

It was unclear if Kinard had sustained any significant injuries.

Wills said Kinard was “blatantly assaulted.”

“He was within his rights when he observed the work being performed at the construction site for the Close to Home Limited Secure Placement facility located near his residence, and posed no conceivable threat to the laborers there,” Wills added. “I want to thank the NYPD’s 106th Precinct for its methodical work in the days leading up to the arrest of Mr. Kinard’s alleged assailant. I urge ACS to bring its supposedly ‘robust’ oversight of Sheltering Arms and its sub-contractors to bear, and unequivocally declare that acts of intimidation against members of the community in South Ozone Park will not be tolerated.”

The facility is part of ACS’s Close to Home initiative, which allows youth found to have committed a delinquent act to be placed by the city Family Court in or close to their communities in the five boroughs. In April, the South Ozone Park Civic Association West and three neighborhood residents filed a class action complaint against both the owner and the prospective operator of the detention center. 


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