They stand by Manny.
In response to an ongoing internal review by the NYPD over allegations that 72nd Precinct commanding officer Deputy Inspector Emmanuel Gonzalez told officers during roll call last June to “shoot him on sight,” referring to 50 Cent [Curtis Jackson], dozens of Sunset Park community leaders gathered outside the 72nd Precinct, 830 Fourth Avenue, on Thursday, Feb. 28 to show support for Gonzalez.
“All of these people here today make up Sunset Park,” said President of the Village of Sunset Park Ray Acevedo, a retired NYPD sergeant, of the crowd — which reflected the neighborhood’s diversity. “We have come together to support a commanding officer who has done more than any other CO has done in this precinct ever before. He has united us together as one community.”
Last year, a $125 million notice of claim was filed against the city by a club Jackson frequents, Love and Lust, 225 47th St., whose owner Imran Jairam alleged that Gonzalez demanded contributions to Puerto Rican relief efforts to forestall enforcement of violations at the bar. It was after this that Gonzalez allegedly made the inflammatory comment prior to an NYPD boxing charity event held in the Bronx last summer.
Jairam blames a raft of violations that led to his club losing its liquor license and closing down on Gonzalez, who he said was miffed that the club owner had turned down the commander’s request.
“We have a situation where we have a club that had been open since the early 2000s that has been doing nothing but bringing crime to this neighborhood, and he shut the club down,” Acevedo added. “What did they do? They conspired to make this man a demon. And he is a hard-working man who cares about the community.”
Former Assistant Commissioner of the NYPD Robert Gonzalez concurred.
“We need to keep in mind this is nothing but a distraction from the club owners to try to ruin the reputation of Manny, someone who has worked very closely with the community and has done a lot of work,” he said. “We should get people from the community involved to prevent this distraction that has taken place.”
Delvis Valdes, an attorney who represents Gonzalez, told supporters, “The biggest capital you have is your name and reputation, not the amount of money and success you have. Everyone here is standing up for a man whose reputation has been dragged through the mud undeservedly.”
That was a theme that was repeated by those who spoke.
“No good deed goes unpunished,” said Noor Rabah, vice president of the Muslim Community Patrol and Services. “[Gonzalez] has been doing good time in and time out. He’s been constantly doing right by us. We have to do right and stand by him, and this message goes out to those that were supporting this club, the indecency and crimes taking place in this community. How dare you fight against the man doing right by us?”
“I’ve known Manny for over seven years,” said Felix Burgos, clergy liaison for the 72nd Precinct. “We worked closely together in the 66 where he was an XO. We call him Manny because he is just a regular guy. At times, I drive by the precinct at midnight and his car is still here.”
But, Jackson, who has often posted about Gonzalez on his Instagram account, had a very different take.
“What dispute, he just told a bunch of Cops at roll call to shoot me on sight,” he wrote on Instagram following the rally. “The 8 Good Cops And a supervisor reported him. Emanuel Gonzalez is a dirty Cop.”
In the same vein, Jairam’s attorney Eric Sanders tweeted, “Hmm, did these community ‘leaders’ even bother to do their own research? Alert: DI Emmanuel Gonzalez’s own staff confirmed the comments about 50 and targeted enforcement against Club Love and Lust.”
But, Gonzalez’s supporters said that the NYPD should be doing more in solidarity with him.
“We need the NYPD to stand up and say a good word for this man, because he deserves it,” said Acevedo. “We’re here to let them know that we’re behind him, 1,000 percent.”
“Where are the unions to defend Manny?” added Robert Gonzalez. “Where’s the captain’s association? How come they’re not here? They should be here.”
“The department is still doing their review, but there should be no review. They should stop and support him and go after the people making threats online,” said Valdes, referring to several menacing social media posts directed at Gonzalez.
When asked if 50 Cent had filed charges based on the alleged threat made against him, Valdes told this paper, “Not that I’ve heard of. I think that’s all talk on his part.”