GREENPOINT — In response to recent violence and a hate crime in and around McGolrick Park, community leaders, elected officials and local residents turned out Monday night to pressure police to increase patrols in the area.
Elected officials had already planned Monday night's event to be a "love and unity gathering," after a duct-tape swastika was found on a picnic table in McGolrick Park last week in the days after deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
But the fatal stabbing of 42-year-old playwright George Carroll next to the park Friday night turned the event into a call for better security and policing in the neighborhood.
"We need more resources," said state Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, who penned a letter to NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill asking for increased police presence near McGolrick Park. "We cannot tolerate hate crimes. We cannot tolerate murders or assaults."
No arrests had been made in Carroll's death as of Tuesday morning, though police on Monday identified the suspect as 19-year-old Gary Correa.
Giovanna Badilla, 43, a 10-year resident of Greenpoint, had planned to come to the gathering last week when she heard about the swastika.
"It might just be kids, but they should know better," she said, adding that when she heard about Carroll's killing, "That just made it even more of a reason to show up."
Kazik Kseeka, 64, a resident of Greenpoint for 37 years who is originally from Poland, echoed Lentol's call for a beefier police presence in McGolrick Park.
"We need more patrols, especially in the night," he said.
Faith leaders from local parishes and schuls prayed for Carroll's soul and for his wife Christine at the vigil, while NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, the head of Patrol Borough Brooklyn North, encouraged those gathered to reach out to their neighborhood coordination officers with issues and to attend monthly precinct community council meetings.
"Community safety is only going to come if we collaborate," he said.
The 94th Precinct Community Council meeting is held the first Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church at 155 Milton St. The next meeting is Sept. 6.