By Michael V. Cusenza
A Queens grand jury has indicted a Brooklyn man for the violent October 2018 assault of a woman walking with her 4-year-old son in the vicinity of 84th Street in Ozone Park, Chief Assistant District Attorney John Ryan, on behalf of Queens DA Richard Brown, announced on Thursday.
Derrick Chirse, 58, who lives in East Flatbush, was arraigned Thursday on an indictment charging him with second-degree robbery, second-degree assault, fifth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and endangering the welfare of a child. Justice Barry Kron continued to hold Chirse in lieu of $100,000 bail and set the return date for June 13.
According to the charges, Chirse approached the victim, Taslima Mazumder, 35, who was walking on 84th Street near Atlantic Avenue with her 4-year-old son at approximately 2 p.m. on Oct. 1, 2018. Shortly after approaching the victim, Chirse is alleged to have ordered her to hand over her purse; she refused to comply with his demand. Chirse allegedly responded by repeatedly punching the mother multiple times in her head and chest. He then allegedly reached over the unconscious victim, snatched her purse and fled the scene on foot.
Brown called Chirse’s alleged actions “extremely troubling…Not only did he apparently feel it necessary to rob a young woman of her personal property, but he also allegedly assaulted her in front of her young son.”
Mazumder sustained bruising and swelling to the left side of her face and tenderness to her chest and torso. The victim was transported to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center where she was treated and released. Her son was unharmed during the attack.
Chirse, who was arrested the following day at Kingsboro Star Men’s Shelter on Clarkson Avenue in East Flatbush after being identified on video surveillance, allegedly admitted to committing the crime, telling detectives “I wish I never did it. If she would’ve given me the 10 bucks I wouldn’t have punched her.”
If convicted, Chirse faces up to life in prison due to his lengthy arrest record and status as a persistent predicate felon, a spokesperson for the Queens District Attorney’s Office told The Forum this week.
The Chirse incident was one of two attacks by homeless men in South Queens in a seven-day period last year. On Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, around 11:30 p.m., another woman was punched on 101st Avenue in Ozone Park before her husband stepped in to ward off the undomiciled assailant.
The assaults irritated an already frayed nerve in the area. The Ozone Park Residents Block Association pointed to the violence during several protests in front of 85-15 101st Ave., the site of a City shelter that originally was set to house 113 single men with mental illness.
“We did not invest to stay here to live in fear,” OZPKRBA President Sam Esposito said at a demonstration last July. “We must take a stand now or we’re going to lose Ozone Park.”
The de Blasio administration slightly altered its plan earlier this year, notifying area elected officials and the civic in January that the facility will be used by single adults.