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Take Care of Your Low-Level Summons in Bed-Stuy This Week

By Noah Hurowitz | April 13, 2017 3:48pm
 A Begin Again event in East New York.
A Begin Again event in East New York.
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Ian Lyn Photography for the SPCBC Griots Photography Ministry

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Locals will have a chance to clear their open summons during a two-day event this week hosted by the Brooklyn District Attorney's office.

Brooklynites with outstanding warrants will get a chance to clean the slate this weekend at a two-day “Begin Again” event on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mount Pisgah Baptist Church at 212 Tompkins Ave. in Bed-Stuy.

Brooklynites with open summonses for low-level violations such as drinking in public, low-level marijuana possession, and disorderly conduct dated before March 24, 2017 will be able to deal with their ticket.

Other low-level violations covered by the Begin Again program include: 

► Riding a bike on the sidewalk
► Littering
► Loitering
► Walking an unleashed dog
► Noise violations
► Staying in a park after closing, and more

The Begin Again initiative began under the late Ken Thompson, who launched the program in an effort to resolve minor legal problems facing thousands of Brooklyn residents. The event on Friday and Saturday will be the fifth since the program launched, with more than 1,600 warrants cleared since the first event, according to acting DA Eric Gonzalez.

“I am committed to giving the people of Brooklyn a new start by helping them remove the threat of an arrest and other negative consequences associated with an open summons warrant,” he said in a statement. “I encourage everyone, including members of our immigrant communities, to take advantage of this program, which also fosters trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve.”

“In today’s immigration enforcement environment by the federal government, an open warrant can be particularly risky to undocumented immigrants,” the statement from the DA's office said.

A bench warrant is issued when someone fails to show up for a court appearance, making them vulnerable to immediate arrest if questioned by police on the street or in a traffic stop, and a warrant can also hamper one’s ability to apply for citizenship, get a job, or obtain public housing. According to the DA's office, there are about 1.5 million open summonses citywide.

Begin Again runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday and Saturday March 14 and March 15 at Mount Pisgah Baptist Church, 212 Tompkins Ave. in Bed-Stuy. Those hoping to process their summonses this weekend can pre-register and find answers to frequently asked questions at the DA’s website.