On Tuesday, New York Police Department officials stated that they plan to double the amount of officers that they usually have on duty for the Crown Heights based J’Ouvert festival. While the festival is marked by a celebration of Caribbean culture and community appreciation, last year’s festivities were marred by the shooting death of Carey Gabay, a rising-star attorney and former Governor Cuomo staffer. According to a recent article, amid the extra police presence and a pledge from community leaders, the organizers hope this year’s festival can overcome the stigma of a shocking shooting death.
“If so much as a sneeze comes out of any of these gang members, we will be there,” said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton in June.
Last year, Gabay lost his life after getting caught in the crossfire of a gang shootout in Crown Heights at 1680 Bedford Avenue. Since the incident and subsequent investigation, three men have been charged with firing weapons that night in the shootout.
In hopes of creating an environment that discourages nefarious activity, community leaders and police officials have encouraged local business owners to keep their lights on and security cameras rolling throughout the night. In addition, the NYPD is bringing a large amount of light towers that will be placed around the festival to keep every corner well lit and visible. The peaceful campaign issued by community leaders also included a hashtag for social media, #wearejouvert, where users can make a pledge for a peaceful event.
The J’Ouvert Festival starts before dawn (around 2:00 a.m. on Labor Day) before the West Indian Day parade.