Wednesday, July 11, 2018

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Kingston shooting sparks Midtown peace movement

An appeal for peace in midtown Kingston

KINGSTON – A near-fatal street shooting early last Friday morning, near the corner of Prospect and Van Duzen Streets, in Midtown Kingston, drew no media attention last week.  Devine Harden, 26, was found alone with a gunshot wound to the back.

The incident did spark a movement.

Harden was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center, where he remains paralyzed, struggling to regain ability to walk. Surgeons opted not to remove the bullet lodged in his spine. Kingston Police are still seeking a suspect, according to preliminary reports.

Neighbors said they noticed nothing unusual above the noise of July 4th fireworks. Surveillance cameras installed by the city throughout the neighborhood have not functioned for years, they added. "See for yourself, go throw a rock at it," suggested one man, observing from his stoop on the corner of Henry and Prospect Streets, one block east of the shooting.

On the opposite corner stands a sign, "Increase the Peace," erected by local activist group Rise-Up Kingston, urging street kids to help end community violence. Organizer Callie Mackenzie Jayne has been canvassing the area daily with Lisa Lent-Royer, the victim's mother, handing out fliers.

"Any of our kids could be on either side of this, if you are praying for me and mine please [also] pray for the person who shot him, and their family, and most importantly pray for Kingston," Lent-Royer wrote Monday on her Facebook page.

Tensions with the Kingston Police were tested Tuesday afternoon, when an officer approached Jayne and Lent-Royer, allegedly gloating over a brutality case from November 2017, cleared by the Police Commission last April. Lent-Ryer said she felt intimidated.

"I'm not stupid,” Jayne noted, citing the multiple tasing of Fabian Marshall, who is black, by the white cop, caught on videotape and publicized last year.  “Your job is to uphold racist, immoral and unjust laws; you do it through force and violence. The first time I saw you, you were attacking a perfectly innocent young man."

Prior to forming Rise-Up, Jayne worked as the lead organizer for Citizen Action of the Hudson Valley, where she made headlines criticizing harsh treatment of minorities by the Kingston Police.

Another more activist, Ismail Shabazz, made similar allegations, before becoming targeted by an undercover sting operation – landing him in prison. His home is coincidentally on the same corner where Harden was shot.

Harden, known on Facebook as Scrap Milly-On, has a checkered past. He was arrested twice in 2013 for separate prosecutions, the first felony contempt, followed by attempted armed robbery. Questions remain, unanswered regarding details surrounding the July 5th shooting.

 


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