WHAT: Press conference and rally to support Dennis Flores
WHEN: Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 at 9:00 am
WHERE: Brooklyn Criminal Court, 120 Schermerhorn St., Brooklyn, Courtroom AP4
On Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 at 9:00 am at the Brooklyn Criminal Court, Sunset Park Rent Strikers, members of Occupy Sunset Park, and other supporters will rally and demand the immediate dismissal of all charges against Sunset Park activist Dennis Flores.
Sunset Park Rent Strikers, OSP, and supporters will rally and plan to fill up courtroom and demand that the Brooklyn D.A’s office dismiss all charges against OSP activist Dennis Flores. Flores came to the aide of tenant Francisca Ixtilico who was assaulted by building super, Israel Espinoza, who sent her to the hospital with cerebral bleeding.
Officers from the 72nd precinct arrested both OSP organizer, Dennis Flores and super, Israel Espinoza, and charged them with 3rd degree assault, a misdemeanor for fighting each other, and the super was also charged for assault on tenant striker, Francisca.
Espinoza walked away from the 72nd precinct with just a desk appearance ticket before police had even begun their investigation of Francisca’s assault, and before they had contacted hospital officials to learn of the extent of her injuries. Police officers were more focused on arresting long-time organizer Dennis Flores, who had come to the defense of Francisca by taking Espinoza off of her. Fransisca spent a week in the hospital with cerebral bleeding.
Sunset Park tenants on 46th Street have been on strike for several months. They have complained to numerous elected officials, government agencies and others about the inhumane living conditions. Frustrated with the lack of support from these officials and agencies they turned to OSP, and others to fix and eventually take ownership of the three buildings.
For years residents at three adjacent buildings in Sunset Park, Brooklyn (545, 553, and 557 on 46th St) have been living in fear of fires and electrical blackouts. Despite numerous complaints made to city agencies and politicians’ offices, documented housing violations (including unsafe electrical wiring, a broken boiler, and disease-triggering agents like mold, cockroaches, rats, and bed bugs) continue to threaten the lives of dozens of residents.
While many of these violations have persisted for years, the situation became more dire in recent months as the buildings underwent foreclosure. The buildings’ owner, Orazio Petito, has refused to do necessary repairs and continues to insist that tenants pay their rent. In the meantime, a cheap plastic fan is being used to keep the basement’s electrical box from overheating and catching fire.
In apartments that include a pregnant woman with two children, disabled tenants, and individuals with chronic conditions, residents went without heat and hot water during the winter months. Today, they face the threat of more blackouts and fear an electrical fire if they use much-needed air conditioning. For many residents, waiting weeks for a court order poses an intolerable risk to their lives. “Do we have to wait for a tragedy before we see action?” asked tenant leader Sara Lopez.
On July 5th, the affected tenants and various community members and allies, including members of Occupy Sunset Park and Occupy Wall Street, held a rally to stress the urgency of the repairs. The rally was immediately followed by a march to Felix Ortiz’s office. Felix Ortiz, a New York State assemblyman elected by Sunset Park residents, personally promised Sara and other tenants that he would work to resolve their unsafe housing dilemma.