Police respond to altercation at controversial Sunset Park shelter

Police were dispatched to a Sunset Park homeless shelter on Thursday, November 17 after two men allegedly began fighting over a cell phone.

According to police source, a male victim and male suspect got into a physical altercation at the shelter (247 49th Street) at around 8 p.m. After police from the 72nd Precinct arrived, the victim was described as uncooperative and refused to press charges, despite sustaining a small cut to his left cheek.

A resident of the shelter, Amado Cartagena, recorded the aftermath of the incident when police arrived.

“It is all happening right now in the shelter system,” he said while filming, claiming that the altercation was over a cell phone. “A place where people are supposed to feel safe, guys are getting arrested having fights, all because of a cell phone. This is what the shelter system does to people.”

“This is happening because of a continuing problem with all shelters being opened up in Sunset Park and more coming,” said Richard Villar, attorney and legal representation of Village of Sunset Park, an advocacy group. “Things are going to continue to happen. Police are overwhelmed with altercations taking place at these shelters.”

Residents and a group of organizations have raised concerns over Sunset shelters in the past. A rally attended by over 200 people last month marched through several shelters in an attempt to put a stop to a practice that some residents fear endanger the neighborhoods they call home.


Image courtesy of Amado Cartagena
Image courtesy of Amado Cartagena


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