4 THE QUEENS COURIER • SEPTEMBER 16, 2021 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Indictment announced in 2019 shooting that killed teen
BY BILL PARRY
Sean Brown, 18, was indicted by a
grand jury and arraigned in Queens
Supreme Court on murder and weapons
charges for the killing of 14-year-old
Aamir Griffin in 2019, Queens District
Attorney Melinda Katz announced on
Wednesday, Sept. 8, along with NYPD
Chief of Department Rodney Harrison
at the Baisley Park Houses basketball
courts in South Jamaica.
The reputed gang member allegedly
sought to shoot and kill a rival on the
very same basketball courts when he
mistook the high school freshman for
his intended target.
“At the very bare minimum, when
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell
our kids go to the park, families should
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announces the indictment of Sean Brown in the murder of
know they are coming home,” Katz said.
14-year-old Aamir Griffi n.
“Death by gun violence is always heartbreaking.
DOT seeks feedback from CB2 on permanent Open Restaurants program
BY JULIA MORO
Community Board 2 — encompassing
Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside
and parts of Maspeth — heard a presentation
on the New York City Department
of Transportation’s citywide proposal to
remove sidewalk cafe regulations in order
to continue expanded outdoor dining.
Th e Permanent Open Restaurants
(POR) program was proposed due to the
success of creating adjacent sidewalk and
roadway space for restaurants to expand
during the COVID-19 pandemic, when
restrictions made it hard to optimize
In April, the City Council voted in favor
to extend the temporary program beyond
its initial expiration date and replacing
it with a permanent program. However,
for it to go into eff ect, changes need to
be made to the zoning text and local law,
which is up to individual community
boards to vote on.
Th e DOT is now looking for feedback
on the program before community boards
around the city are asked to vote on it.
Since the initial temporary Open
Restaurants program started about a year
ago, about 11,000 restaurants participated,
which has helped save about 100,000
jobs, according to Julie Schipper, deputy
chief of staff at the DOT.
“Th is program has been a lifesaver —
not just for the restaurant industry, but
also to the city that has seen outdoor dining
and the incredible vitality it could
bring as a beacon of hope and innovation
during a very dark time, a sign that
our city could imagine a better future,”
But DOT recognized some complications
with the Open Restaurants program,
such as issues with turning radius
and blocking safety signs. However,
Schipper said they are working with safety
agencies to make improvements for the
POR program. Th e program would also
be seasonal, and not operational in the
One resident, Diane Hendry, spoke in
opposition to this proposal during the
community board meeting.
“First of all, I would like to point out
that putting the DOT in charge of anything
is a bad idea,” Hendry said. “Th ese
shacks in our streets are used for a small
percentage of the year. Th e environmental
impact of using propane on streets is
a concern. Restaurant shanties also take
parking away from small businesses.”
Other community members also voiced
concerns about noise as well as other
Schipper said the emergency Open
Restaurant Program enacted during the
pandemic will remain in eff ect for another
year and a half, so restaurants have
ample time to transition to POR if they
“COVID-19 has really shaped the way
New Yorkers are able to think about how
our streets can be used,” Schipper said.
“We think this has been a real silver lining
to the pandemic.”
Lisa Deller, the chairperson for
Community Board 2, said the DOT presentation
was not thorough enough.
Deller explained that the DOT’s rules,
staffi ng or allocated expenses for this program
haven’t been provided to the board
It is unclear when community boards
will vote on the zoning amendment, but
the program is scheduled to go into eff ect
The death of Aamir Griffin
hit our community particularly hard.”
Katz described Griffin as a “promising
young student and athlete whose
life was tragically cut short.”
“Aamir Griffi n was the unintended
victim. His family and friends are still
reeling from his killing,” Katz said. “Aft er
a thorough investigation, the alleged
killer now faces justice in our courts.”
Brown, of Jamaica, was arraigned
Wednesday before Queens Supreme
Court Justice Kenneth Holder on an
indictment charging him with murder
in the second degree and criminal
possession of a weapon in the second
degree. Brown was ordered held
without bail and given a return date of
If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to
life in prison.
Katz said that around 8 p.m. on Oct.
26, 2019, Aamir Griffin was playing
basketball at the Baisley Park Houses.
From nearby Foch Boulevard, Brown
allegedly mistook the youngster for a
rival gang member and allegedly fired
three shots from a .380-caliber firearm.
One bullet penetrated Griffin’s upper
chest, piercing both lungs. Griffin was
rushed by EMS to Jamaica Hospital and
died a short time later.
“Aamir Griffin was a child of New
York City, a kid who was loved and
taken much too soon by the kind of
senseless gun violence we fight against
every hour of every day,” NYPD
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea
said. “Nothing could erase the pain of
Aamir’s murder nearly to years ago, but
our NYPD investigators and our partners
in the Queens district attorney’s
office never forget or give up and today
we have an indictment that offers one
measure of justice.”
Video footage allegedly shows Brown
running from the area after the shots
were fired, entering a nearby deli
and walking to the home of another
reputed Money World gang member.
Surveillance video also picks up Brown
allegedly telling others, “I seen that
n—-, I hit him. That n—- drop.”
Investigators tracked Brown down
recently in Los Angeles before he was
extradited back to Queens by NYPD
detectives last weekend.
“All homicides are very important
to the NYPD but this one hit close to
home to me,” Harrison said. “I grew up
a mile away from here. I played basketball
here on the same basketball court.
Me and Aamir went to the very same
high school, Benjamin Cardozo. Ladies
and gentlemen, I am Aamir Griffin.”
Legendary basketball coach Ron
Naclerio, who would have coached the
youngster at Cardozo, attended the
press briefing at Baisley Park Houses.
“It is unfortunate Aamir couldn’t be
here looking forward to starting his
junior year, looking at Division 1 colleges
and possibly a future at the NBA,”
Naclerio said. “I am happy for the family
that they got the suspect off the
street. I hope it doesn’t happen again.”
Additional reporting by Lloyd Mitchell.
Photo by Dean Moses
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell
A backboard is painted in Aamir Griffi n’s honor
at the Baisley House basketball court.