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Brooklyn Tenant Is Charged With Murdering City Marshal
August 23, 2001 11:18 AM   Subscribe

Brooklyn Tenant Is Charged With Murdering City Marshal "As the marshal, Erskine G. Bryce, lay injured and disoriented, the police said, Ms. Jones bounded down the steps, beat him with an aluminum rod and stripped him of his .380-caliber pistol. The attack ended, the police said, only after she splashed him with a flammable liquid, took out a cigarette lighter and set him afire." (Free NY Times registration required)
posted by dayvin (29 comments total)

 
"Other police officials, however, noted that the attack was not the first by Ms. Jones, who served a prison sentence in the 1990's for shooting a teenage boy in the groin. The boy had reportedly been bullying her son, law enforcement officials said"

Please lock this lady up for good.
posted by Hankins at 11:29 AM on August 23, 2001


Even though this is quite horrible, New York City has really become much safer in the past 10 years. I remember when I just moved it, the crime situation was horrible. Now I can walk through Manhattan without worry.

Stuff like what you mentioned is really becoming rare.
posted by yevge at 11:29 AM on August 23, 2001


"She said she is truly sorry and asked for God's forgiveness," the supervisor said. In the confession, she also wrote, "This nightmare got out of hand and was not suppose to happen the way it did."

Yeah. Oops. I think it's a little late for apologies on her part. There ought to be someplace worse than jail for people like this.
posted by Hildago at 11:38 AM on August 23, 2001


Yevge -- Yeah, nobody should take this as a commentary on the state of violence in New York City. I personally didn't even pay attention to where it happened. It could just as easily have been any small community in the country.
posted by Hildago at 11:45 AM on August 23, 2001


I would imagine that being a City Marshall here in NY would be one of the most thankless jobs. Especially now, with the vacancy rate hovering at or about 3%. It sounds like this woman didn't need being faced with eviction papers to get violent. As someone else pointed out, she was a menace, and provably dangerous.

I'm not trying to be glib (or downplaying how tragic this case is), but I wonder if this incident says something about how desperate New Yorkers are (myself included) to find/keep affordable apartments. This was also in the paper this morning.
posted by cowboy_sally at 11:51 AM on August 23, 2001


It's cases like this that bring out my worst, knee-jerk "Eye for an Eye" feelings... Perhaps the advertising revenues from her being thrown publicly from the marquee of the Marquis Theatre, flogged and set afire in the middle of Times Square on "The Today Show" could be shared with the marshall's family...
posted by m.polo at 11:55 AM on August 23, 2001


I think it's a little late for apologies on her part.

I absolutely agree. However, what confuses me (going off topic like a jeepney going off road) is why there are so few apologists for Ms. Jones and so many for Mrs. Yates...? One could make the argument that what Ms. Jones did was far less heinous, since (a) her victim was an adult, (b) her victim was armed, (c) the assault took place relatively quickly, and (d) numbered only one individual. Suggestions?

OK, back to your regularly scheduled thread.
posted by UncleFes at 11:55 AM on August 23, 2001


I don't know, she must have been really desperate to go this far - not that she was right at all, but I wonder if she maybe had just reached the absolute end of her resources, was afraid of losing her kid(s) if she became homeless, and the guy said or did something that just sent her over the edge? It seems sometimes rage can grow exponentially in just a few minutes, and by the time it's burned itself out...too late. (no I'm saying that she's not responsible or shouldn't be punished.)

Do you think that at least some of the interest in this story is because she's a woman?
posted by pomegranate at 12:01 PM on August 23, 2001


This was also in the paper this morning. — cowboy_sally

I gotta say, any Village apartment that would rent on the open market for only $2,200 must be pretty tiny — readers from elsewhere should understand that this guy is lying and cheating to keep what is probably a 400 ft^2 apartment.
posted by nicwolff at 12:03 PM on August 23, 2001


Police officers, when on the beat, are assigned a partner in any city, New York included. If they are allowed to carry licensed guns, in essence an explicit response to the inherent dangers of the job, shouldn't city marshals also travel with partners, like ordinary cops, so that potentially violent situations like this one can be avoided or at least mitigated? Police escorts can be requested, but in response to this and other, seemingly routine, violent encounters, it should be mandatory.

From a previous NYTimes article:
"Another city marshal from Brooklyn, Howard Schain, said that he had known Mr. Bryce for years, and that Mr. Bryce did landlord cases almost exclusively. Mr. Schain said these cases are especially dangerous when a marshal works alone. 'Every time I have been hit, I was by myself,' he said. 'When I have been with other people, no one has hit me.'"
posted by dayan at 12:08 PM on August 23, 2001


lying and cheating to keep what is probably a 400 ft^2 apartment.

New Yorkers are nuts. I pay $1500 on a 3500 sq foot home in a great neighborhood, with a substantial lawn and woods. I saw a deer in my backyard a couple days ago, nibbling away at something, and the coyote bark at the neighborhood cats after midnight. The moon is so bright at night that you can read on my deck with no lights on. Every Sunday afternoon, the air smells like juniper and barbecue. The guy who built my house pops over sometimes to "see if I need anything done." Kids play basketball under the streetlight half a block down the street after dark before dinner, you can hear them cheering and jeering each other from my porch. Those same kids sometimes stop to see if I want my car washed or my garage cleaned out, $5 apiece for either job.

Is the Village that cool? Wake up, people, in the information age it doesn't matter where you live! Geographical cachet is over.
posted by UncleFes at 12:17 PM on August 23, 2001


According to the NY Post's article on the incident it seems that Mr. Bryce was alone because another staffer who was instructed to meet him at the scene chose not to go. He chickened or punked out (not sure which) and saved his own skin and didn't care that Bryce was going into a possibly dangerous situation solo. I hope he has a lot of trouble sleeping.
posted by Dreama at 12:24 PM on August 23, 2001


Torres told The Post, "I just had a feeling not to go. I don't know what it was. Something made me not go."

This cowardly pile of shit is probably patting his fetid little self on the back for being such a smartie. He'll sleep like a baby. What a scumbag.
posted by UncleFes at 12:35 PM on August 23, 2001


cowboy sally "I'm not trying to be glib (or downplaying how tragic this case is), but I wonder if this incident says something about how desperate New Yorkers are (myself included) to find/keep affordable apartments."

This incident doesn't say anything about people trying to keep affordable apartments. This woman owed $14,000 in back rent. She was trying to keep a FREE apartment. If you're that desperate to keep an affordable apartment (myself included), usually all you need to do is keep paying your rent. That's what I do.

Well, she's certainly solved the rent problem. I don't think she'll have to worry about that anymore. She may have to worry about someone else setting HER on fire, though.
posted by witchstone at 12:37 PM on August 23, 2001


it seems that Mr. Bryce was alone because another staffer who was instructed to meet him at the scene chose not to go

it seems, from the two articles that Mr. Bryce was alone because he often worked alone. if normal procedure isn't to have two marshals present for every eviction, how can you say a clerk "punked out" and "saved his own skin"? the clerk, Torres, probably didn't know Bryce was going to be attacked. had Torres gone, it would have been to deliver a warrant to Bryce. after handing it off, there would have been no reason for Torres to stick around. and there's still no way to say that Jones wouldn't have attacked Bryce even if Torres had been present.
posted by tolkhan at 12:46 PM on August 23, 2001


This incident doesn't say anything about people trying to keep affordable apartments. This woman owed $14,000 in back rent. She was trying to keep a FREE apartment. If you're that desperate to keep an affordable apartment (myself included), usually all you need to do is keep paying your rent. That's what I do.

You're right; she wasn't paying her rent. And I did say that it seemed like anything might have caused her to attack. Maybe I could have left out the word "affordable."

Apropos of whatever, if she *had* been (successfully) evicted, she would have had serious difficulty finding another apartment, especially if she owed 14K to the last landlord. Especially because Bed-Stuy is quickly becoming "South Williamsburg."

In NYC, paying your rent doesn't always ensure that you won't be evicted. Although tenants have a lot of rights in general, it's very easy for a landlord to evict you if he/she claims that he needs the space for personal use.
posted by cowboy_sally at 12:52 PM on August 23, 2001


Well, she may have been able to push him over the rail, but she certainly would not have been able to beat him with a pipe and light him on fire, had the worthless Mr. Torres been there.

And since when do you say "I don't feel like it" when your boss tells you do something??

In any event, I think Mr. Torres' days are numbered at the office, "... a furious co-worker declared."
posted by UncleFes at 12:54 PM on August 23, 2001


And since when do you say "I don't feel like it" when your boss tells you do something??

speaking from 25+ years of experience, that is standard practice in local government employment. really.
posted by quonsar at 1:00 PM on August 23, 2001


You GOTTA be kidding. If I told my boss that I didn't feel like doing something, he'd find someone who did feel like doing something, and then alert me that I was going to feel like putting together several resumes very shortly.

Maybe it's just working for corporate thugs, but by and large my feelings have exactly dick to do with the outcomes of boss-fes interaction.
posted by UncleFes at 1:06 PM on August 23, 2001


The Times quotes the assailant as having vowed never to go back into a city shelter again... The squalor that NYC offers the homeless is not to blame, but who can resist blaming Mayor Holier-than-all-of-thou?

Anyhow, the marshall's death is a real loss. His son is quoted as saying that he always evicted folks asking "are you gonna be OK?" rather than "Get da hell outa here" and on several ocasions gave the evictees money out of his own pocket.

Only the good die needless, ironic deaths... and only the media get to make ca$h off of tragedies such as this. The woman's sentence for this has effectively been doubled by the am't of media exposure/hype over this story and its just another day in the big apple:justice for none.

In school, they teach my kid how to play dodge ball, but the lost art of anger-mgmt is still a curicular no-show. Go figure.
posted by BentPenguin at 1:09 PM on August 23, 2001


The woman's sentence for this has effectively been doubled by the am't of media exposure/hype over this story

Good.
posted by NortonDC at 1:31 PM on August 23, 2001


but she certainly would not have been able to beat him with a pipe and light him on fire, had the worthless Mr. Torres been there.

nope. she may have instead just gone for the gun immediately, surprising Bryce and Torres and killing them both. it's impossible to say with certainty what would have happened.

he may have refused to do something that his boss ordered him to do because it he thought it may be dangerous, and because he wasn't hired to do that type of thing. if i was hired to sit a desk and man the phones, i wouldn't deliver an eviction notice or warrant just because my boss told me to do it.

and, if everyone in the office was so friggin' concerned with Bryce going there alone, why didn't one of them volunteer to deliver the warrant and serve as back up while he talked to Jones? the responsibility for Bryce's murder lies solely on Jones, but if you want to spread the blame around, don't just give it to the guy who vocally refused to go. give some to all the other co-workers who tacitly refused and through complicity allowed Bryce to die.themselves.
posted by tolkhan at 2:49 PM on August 23, 2001


themselves

oops. dunno where that came from.
posted by tolkhan at 2:51 PM on August 23, 2001


In school, they teach my kid how to play dodge ball, but the lost art of anger-mgmt is still a curicular no-show. Go figure.


Personally I loved dodgeball, even if I sucked at it. However, it is a sat state of affairs if we really have to add a class to the curriculum where we teach students not to kill people.
posted by obfusciatrist at 3:08 PM on August 23, 2001


Is the Village that cool? Wake up, people, in the information age it doesn't matter where you live! Geographical cachet is over.


Maybe. I think this article sums up my feelings at the moment.
posted by cmacleod at 3:41 PM on August 23, 2001


Is the Village that cool?

You know, UncleFes, not everyone thinks exactly as you do. Not everyone thinks having a lawn, a huge house, and forest greenery around them is the apex of human existence. To some of us, the cultural, financial and personal opportunities of big cities such as New York far far outweigh the inconveniences of expensive, somewhat smaller homes.
posted by aaron at 10:57 PM on August 23, 2001



You know, UncleFes, not everyone thinks exactly as you do.

What?? That can't be right :)

To some of us, the cultural, financial and personal opportunities of big cities such as New York far far outweigh the inconveniences of expensive, somewhat smaller homes.

But I always hear you dazzling urbanites crabbing about the rent :) I was just pointing out that where you live has a decreasing effect on what you are able to do. But yes, desirable homespace criteria is pure opinion. I was just offering mine and my situation for a comparison.

And I'm not a million miles from nowhere, here. I live about 25 minutes from my office downtown and, while St. Louis is no NYC, we are not without some of the cultural, financial and personal opportunities you mention. I'm a morning's drive/hour flight from Chicago. And I can always visit New York - all the perks, none of the issues.

And the bucolic can have its charms, even for tough-minded cityfolk, no? :)
posted by UncleFes at 7:38 AM on August 24, 2001


"She said she is truly sorry and asked for God's forgiveness," the supervisor said. In the confession, she also wrote, "This nightmare got out of hand and was not suppose to happen the way it did."

yeah? how exactly was it supposed to go? for the love of god.
posted by adampsyche at 8:09 AM on August 24, 2001


And I'm not a million miles from nowhere, here. I live about 25 minutes from my office downtown and, while St. Louis is no NYC, we are not without some of the cultural, financial and personal opportunities you mention. I'm a morning's drive/hour flight from Chicago. And I can always visit New York

What are you trying to convince whom of, Fes? No one said anything negative about your housing choice, though I could think of quite a few things to mention.

all the perks, none of the issues

Still with the subjectivity and urban-bashing. If you are trying to defend and tone down your original statement, you are doing a poor job. Are you really saying that being hours away from New York or Chicago is not an "issue" compared to actually living there? Wanna go see The Producers tonight? We can go to the box office and get cancellation tickets! Oh, wait, sorry, you can't make it.
posted by daveadams at 12:21 PM on August 27, 2001


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